By Gina Smith, CMRP, AMS, Director of Business Development, Health Industry Distributors Association
Despite rising costs, consumers pursue quality healthcare
Rising costs and greater access to information are dramatically changing the way patients seek healthcare. More than ever, consumers are looking at costs and are willing to research and shop around for new providers.
Despite these changes, quality remains the most important factor in selecting a provider, according to HIDA’s latest Horizon Report Consumerism: Value Is The Driving Force In Patient Behavior. This report draws on our nationwide survey of over 1,000 patients on how they seek medical care. Here are some of the key findings:
- Quality of care is the leading factor in provider selection. Over half (55 percent ) of patients list quality of care as the leading factor in provider selection, ahead of cost and provider cleanliness/infection prevention. Though quality is the top factor, patients take steps to reduce costs, including doing online research, and making decisions based on these findings.
Reducing out-of-pocket costs is a top priority for all patients. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent ) of patients report that they always try to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, patients do not perceive a strong relationship between cost and quality in healthcare – in fact, only half agree that there is any correlation between the two.
- Many patients use cost to select providers. Almost 25 percent of patients choose their doctor based on cost, and 18 percent use a provider other than their primary care physician for some services. Cost savings motivated 13 percent of patients to change providers in the past year. Younger generations are more likely than older generations to select providers based on cost.
- Millennials focus more on cost than earlier generations. More than one-third of Millennials choose their provider based on cost, compared to 24 percent of all patients, and approximately 21 percent of Millennials have changed providers to save money.
- But Millennials will often pay more to see providers with newer technology. Despite their focus on cost, half of Millennials are willing to pay more out of their own pockets to visit a provider that offers newer equipment and products.
HIDA’s earlier Horizon Report found that Millennials carefully scrutinize their provider experiences, exhibit more consumerist behavior, and generally have higher expectations of their providers. Importantly, findings from both of these reports indicate that suppliers can play a vital role in appealing to healthcare consumers, whether it is connecting providers to the newest technology, to offering them products that improve care quality. To access the either of these Horizon Reports, visit www.HIDA.org/HorizonReport.