Study finds U.S. healthcare consumers will switch providers over poor digital experiences
Younger healthcare consumers are significantly more frustrated, more likely to stop seeing providers and will write negative reviews based on bad digital experiences
NEW YORK - Cedar, a patient payment and engagement platform, today announced results from its 2019 U.S. Healthcare Consumer Experience Study, finding that more than half of healthcare consumers are frustrated over their provider's lack of digital experiences. The study, which conducted in-depth interviews of more than 1,600 healthcare consumers, also found that — even though the provider-patient relationship is often considered the hardest to break — many are willing to abandon their providers over poor digital experiences.
Approximately 41% revealed they would stop going to their healthcare provider over a poor digital experience (e.g. online bill pay, digital pre-appointment forms, mobile and email bill delivery, etc.). More notably, approximately one in five have already stopped or switched providers over a poor digital experience.
For younger generations, the issue is much more pronounced. Respondents aged 18-24 are:
-3x as likely (61%) to consider switching providers over a poor digital experience compared to the over-65 population (21%).
-4x as likely (29%) to have already abandoned a provider over a poor digital experience compared to the over-65 population (6%).
The study also found that digital experiences can be a big reason why consumers write negative online reviews of providers, with those reviews being highly influential.
-Approximately one in five has given a negative review of a provider because of a poor digital experience.
-52% consult online review sites when choosing a provider, with 44% of these people citing the reviews a top influencing factor in their decision.
"Similar to the scenarios that have played out in other industries like e-commerce, healthcare providers are now being judged by the digital experience they provide their patients," said Florian Otto, founder and CEO of Cedar. "While technology has rapidly innovated how we treat patients on the clinical side, administrative processes have yet to catch up. Modern consumers — armed with new levels of data, treatment options and heightened expectations — now demand more and the industry must rise to the challenge."
Healthcare billing causes patient frustration and increases the number of bills in collections
The study revealed that one in three Americans think providers can do more to improve the patient billing and payment process, as provider billing issues are often the reason why patients don't pay medical bills.
The Cedar study also found that one-third (34%) of U.S. healthcare consumers have had a healthcare bill go to collections, representing a slight increase from a 2018 Consumer Reports study. The problem is worse for younger consumers. Those 18-44 are nearly twice as likely (44%) to have a healthcare bill go to collections. compared to consumers 45 and older (26%).
Getting expected out-of-pocket cost information also is a noted pain point. Approximately 60% have tried to get out-of-pocket costs from providers ahead of care, but 51% didn't get it easily or accurately.
However, the study did provide a way forward for providers. Specifically, the top billing improvements healthcare consumers are calling for include:
-Flexible payment plans for large bill amounts (83%)
-Out-of-pocket cost estimates (56%)
-Understandable bill explanations (50%)
-Consolidated bills or statements (41%)
-Better customer support (38%)
-Digital payment options (33%)
Cedar's survey was conducted in partnership with independent research firm Survata, interviewing 1,607 online respondents between Aug. 27, 2019, and Sept. 1, 2019. For more information on Survata's methodology, please visit www.survata.com.
Recently named second-most disruptive healthcare company of 2020, according to a KLAS survey of 300 healthcare executives, Cedar is a healthcare financial engagement platform for hospitals, health systems and medical groups that clarifies and simplifies the financial experience for patients, improving bill resolution and payment outcomes for providers. Using intuitive design and advanced data science, Cedar facilitates patient-centric financial engagement across the care journey. To learn more, visit www.cedar.com.