The Current State of the Patient Experience

Not surprisingly, the state of patient experience is bad…and likely to get worse before it improves. For decades, the U.S. healthcare industry has pursued an economic model focused on “fee for service,” which has in turn inhibited transparency, competition, and innovation—and consumers are noticing.

An alarming 81% of consumers are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience, and the happiest consumers are those who interact with the system the least.

  • 75%
    Of Frequent Healthcare Consumers Are Frustrated
  • 48%
    Of All Other Healthcare Consumers Are Frustrated

There is a gap in perception between providers and consumers on the quality of experience currently being provided.

Providers underestimate the degree to which the patient experience fails to meet consumer expectations. This skewed perspective is creating a lack of urgency among providers to fix the problem. While providers are aware of patient dissatisfaction, they have many competing initiatives, making it difficult to prioritize.

Providers misjudge the perception of their performance on elements that are most important to consumers.

Providers overestimate the quality of their patient experience by over 20 percentage points

  • 63%
    Providers Feel They Are Delivering
  • :


    Consumers Feel Providers Are Delivering

Providers give themselves too much credit on the elements that are most important to consumers

Providers take the time to understand my needs and explain options

  • 51%
    providers agree
  • 34%
    consumers agree

Providers have empathetic medical and administrative staff

  • 57%
    providers agree
  • 36%
    consumers agree

Despite the best intentions to deliver a better patient experience, providers struggle to make it a priority among competing initiatives. For example, 75%* of providers say patient experience is critical to the future success of their organizations. Meanwhile, on the list of hospital CEOs' top concerns, patient satisfaction does not make the top five.

Source: American College of Healthcare Executives 2014 Survey: Top Issues Confronting Hospitals in 2014

While patient experience is important, finding the right merger partners is an existential issue. If we don’t acquire, we will eventually no longer exist as an independent entity.

CFO of $2B Health System

Consumerism has upended other industries, leading to new expectations for the patient experience.

The power has shifted to the consumer in nearly every industry —transportation, retail, and financial services. Finally, it is healthcare’s turn.

Uber continues to transform the way the world gets around, with its disruptive business model attracting drivers and passengers by the tens of millions. Its innovations, including mobile app integrations, self-driving cars, and a robotics partnership with Carnegie Mellon, will continue to change the way consumers view transportation.

Starbucks’ meteoric rise is based on a simple truth that goes beyond its hand-crafted drinks: A fancy cup of coffee can make us feel like a million bucks. Throw in a few kind words and a smile from an attentive barista and a cozy “third place” to get lost in a book, check email, or catch up with a friend, and you’ve made us friends for life. As their CEO Howard Schultz once said, “From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community.”

The major force that drove Zappos from a start-up to a multi-billion dollar retailer: Happy employees make happy customers. From their employee of the month office parades to customize your desk policies, it’s no wonder they are able to attract and keep the best of the best. Take it from their CEO, Tony Hsieh, who said, “A tight-knit company culture and quality customer service are synonymous.”

This financial services, merchant services aggregator and mobile payment company is changing the way small businesses accept payment. With revolutionary products and a portfolio that seems to be expanding every day, their new innovations are all generated through a strong focus on the customer. CEO Jack Dorsey once said, "We put our customers first. That means constantly asking the question: How can the financial system better serve people? We'll measure ourselves by our commitment to take the long view and focus on building a company that creates value over decades and not just a few fiscal quarters out."

If providers are under-delivering on the patient experience today, it will only be harder as their operations become bigger and more complex.

Hospital consolidation is rising as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Hospitals are buying other hospitals, physician practices, and ancillary healthcare providers. These consolidations come in response to the need to connect care networks, and enable a more cohesive approach in managing patient experiences throughout their journey.



Chapter Two

The Case for Investment