Consumer demand for a better patient experience fueling tech startups

With 92 percent of healthcare consumers saying improved patient experience should be a top strategic priority for hospitals, a new crop of innovators is arising to help meet that demand.
By Jeff Lagasse
09:28 AM
Black Book report hospitals must prioritize patient experience in 2018

Digital natives and other consumers are putting new demands on hospital IT executives to drive convenience, efficiency and innovative technologies. Those patient experience expectations, in turn, are forcing healthcare delivery to be envisioned differently to drive and retain patient volumes. 

A full 92 percent of healthcare consumers surveyed said that improving customer experience should be a top strategic priority for medical providers over the next twelve months, increasing from 71 percent last year, according to a new survey from Black Book.

Consumers reported confidence that advanced technology is available to engage them with digital provider tools (93 percent), as well as offer a variety of virtual access points (85 percent), online scheduling (97 percent), online payment options (92 percent), and/or provide price transparency (94 percent). But only 9 percent of total providers reported the ability to offer these consumer demands successfully in a Black Book survey of hospitals and physicians.

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Ninety percent of patients no longer feel obligated to stay with healthcare providers that don't deliver an overall satisfactory digital experience, and 88 percent of respondents under age 40 said they will choose their next medical provider based on a strong online presence.

Black Book's 2011-2016 marketplace study demonstrated that 77 percent of all new healthcare products failed. Lack of relevance, lack of distinction, inappropriate pricing and jumbled messaging all factor into a brand's fight to differentiate between consumers and buyers when launching a new healthcare technology product.

This year, Black Book found a diverse range of technologies funded or launched in the past 12 months. From an alphabetical directory of 210 healthcare consumer-oriented products, Black Book ranked the tech and services that piqued the highest current application curiosity and demand. Each of the 19 vendors received an average score of 9 out of 10 across four product capabilities or features.

The startups are: 98Point6 (chat-based telemedicine); Able To (online behavioral health support); Amino (patient/doctor matching); Blink Health (an online tool to find the lowest prescription pricing); Carbon Health (virtual health clinic); CirrusMD (virtual health visits); Conversa (patient/caregiver communications); Day Two (personal laboratory analyses); EverlyWell (online lab testing); Kry (app-based telemedicine); Lemonaid Health (text-based telemedicine); Medisafe (personalized medication management); PatientPoint (engagement and education platform); Phil (prescription refilling and delivery); Policy Genius (health insurance shopping tool); Practo (provider locator and matching); Protenus (patient data protection); Push Doctor (virtual visits); Solv Health (urgent care visit scheduling); and Visit Pay (payment planning and processing).

Digital health startups raised an all-time high of $11.5 billion in 2017, according to Black Book.

The firm surveyed 650 health consumers through panel partners in the second quarter of 2018. The mean age of respondents was 37.2 years, and 44 percent of survey participants identified themselves as among the Millennial generation or younger.

Twitter: @JELagasse
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