Good information on physicians hard to find

3 key findings from new report on what consumers want
By Bernie Monegain
10:26 AM
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A new report, The Consumer's Path to Finding a Healthcare Provider, finds "consistent and comprehensive" information on physicians sorely lacking.

The survey, conducted by Kyruus, a provider of patient access and referral management tools, was derived from qualitative and quantitative research with more than 1,000 patients. The report details what Kyruus executives describe as "the broken process of finding physician information."

"This research corroborates a trend that health executives have long suspected – that consumers are becoming more thoughtful, careful and proactive when making choices about their health,"according to Kyruus.

Key findings are:

A significant portion of healthcare consumers are "up for grabs":
   •  Prior to seeking a specific physician, 38 percent of consumers conduct healthcare-related research.
   • Some 72 percent of these consumers are looking for information about specific physicians. This research is conducted before explicit loyalty to a health system is formed.

Specific physician attributes matter most to consumers:
   •  The most important physician attribute is the insurance plans they accept – 90 percent of respondents say it is important or very important to confirm their  healthcare is covered by their insurance.
    • A close second is the physician's clinical experience with the patient's specific condition or procedural need (85 percent).

Consumers lack actionable methods for booking appointments:
    • Fourteen percent of consumers book appointments through an online resource and 58 percent book through a phone-based resource.
    • However, when asked about their preferred booking methods, consumers are nearly equally split between preferring high touch off-line resources, self-service online resources, or a multi-channel assortment of booking options.

"As patients become more engaged in the research and management of their health, hospital systems need to understand what motivates them," Julie Yoo, co-founder and chief product officer at Kyruus, said in a news release. "There is a huge opportunity to provide consumers with the appropriate resources – both online and offline – to find the right physicians and conveniently schedule appointments."

John Englehart, chief marketing officer at Hospital for Special Surgery, added that "the rise of digital channels as a means to access care introduces accountability for health systems but simultaneously provides a tremendous opportunity to engage consumers, build their trust, and help inform that choice."