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Customer Experience and Design

How Enabled Patients Pick a Healthcare Provider

This week I am at Oracle Open World discussing ePatients and Connected Health. I’ve been involved in many discussions about this growing movement of ePatients in healthcare. The changing market and patient dynamics have been a key discussion point. We have an industry in the state of transition. It once was the case where we had doctors that were viewed demi-gods of sorts that performed health on to us. Healthcare Consumerism is being driven not only through a change in expectations brought about by expectations gained from other industries but also through a truly engaged patient population that wants to partner with their providers towards better health.

So, how are these newly enabled patients selecting their providers? They are putting themselves in the driver’s seat as the consumer of healthcare content. Here are some of the facts:

  • 55% of patients want to communicate with their doctors via e-mail to exchange health information and get answers to questions
  • 40% of consumers said social media did affect their choice of a provider or organization
  • 45% said it would affect their decision to get a second opinion
  • 34% said it would influence their decision about taking a certain medication
  • 32% said it would affect their choice of a health insurance plan
  • 68% are interested in remote monitoring devices that allow self-monitoring of their condition and electronic reporting of results to their physician (seniors (78%) and consumers with chronic conditions (75%))

So what is a healthcare organization to do? In order to compete in this new healthcare market, an organization needs to become a trusted advisor to patients by using authentic, uncontrived and genuine outreach. This primarily comes in the form of having an online presence that becomes a destination for people to get reliable and understandable health information. Essentially, healthcare organizations need to become a hub of healthcare information through:

  • A Public Facing Website that becomes the hub for one-to-many communication. Today’s healthcare websites can no longer be places for static content. Content Management options provide options to keep dynamic content on the site that says up to date and social media provides outlets for the dissemination of this content.
  • Given the secure nature of protected health information, the conversation with enabled patients can only go so far using the website and social media. In order to seamlessly transition one-to-many content into streamlined one-to-one communication, the Patient Portal becomes a vital communication hub. It is on the patient portal where the enabled patient participates directly with their care. After all, we know that patients spend less than 1% of their time within a healthcare facility interacting with clinicians. However, it’s the other 99% of time that determines how healthful these patients are. The patient portal gives us an opportunity to connect with our ePatients when it counts.

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Melody Smith Jones

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