Healthcare is an ever-changing landscape, and so are its consumers. A recent Advisory Board report uncovered key insights into the latest healthcare consumer behaviors and how hospitals can prepare for its impact both now and in the future through inpatient rehabilitation integration.
Five factors influencing healthcare consumer decisions and the driving forces behind them:
- Cost management: 75% of patients who visited a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office in the past six months looked up the cost of medical treatment prior to admission to avoid unexpected costs.1
Driver of change: The current state of the healthcare industry has patients paying more out-of-pocket for treatment – leading patients to either delay treatment, admit to a lower care setting or forego treatment all together.
Hospitals that invest in the the integration of specialized treatment programs, such as inpatient rehabilitation, will begin to see patients discharge from their care with a lowered risk of readmitting in the future. By mitigating the risk of readmission through specialized treatment, patients will save money on additional treatment while the hospital strengthens its financial performance.
- Care Access: 60% of top 10 attributes for selecting a primary care provider were access related.1
Driver of change: In an Advisory Board survey, 51% of consumers note convenience and access to care― including facility proximity to home and number of services provided at the facility ― as the most important factors in care decision-making. The increasing importance of care access can also be seen in the latest hospital services market revenue numbers which are projected to exceed $21 billion by 2032 – a $10 billion jump from 2022.1,2
Additionally, inpatient rehabilitation can be confusing to navigate with the upcoming implementation of CMS’ Review Choice Demonstration as well as ever-changing insurance approvals. The more a hospital can simplify the process of admitting to an inpatient rehab program, the better overall experience and outcomes a patient and their family will have.
- Treatment Quality: Clinical quality ranked among the top four features patients prioritize when seeking out treatment.1
Driver of change: Care quality is paramount. As hospitals and health systems transition to the value-based care model that sentiment continues to ring true. However, the growing medically complex patient population and ongoing staffing shortages are making it increasingly difficult for hospitals to maintain quality treatment and outcomes, creating the potential for patients to search for treatment where it is more convenient.
The development of a rehabilitation program – and often through the support of a trusted partner – allows hospitals to expand the care delivered at their facility, opening the door to more medically complex patients receiving specialized treatment in a timely, cost-effective manner.
- Overall Experience: Friendly staff and use of specialized, patient-focused care was ranked the #4 attribute in choosing a primary care provider.1
Driver of change: Integration of tools such as telehealth and other virtual care offerings have shown healthcare consumers that care can come in many forms. However, it still takes specialized expertise to manage and provide care, regardless of the medium. Consumers will continue to admit to hospitals that can hire, retain and engage highly qualified staff to help ensure the right care is given to the right patient, at the right time in their care journey. A care setting with a proven track record of delivering an optimal patient experience no matter the state of the healthcare landscape: inpatient rehabilitation.
- Hospital Reputation: When searching for a provider, 77% of patients report using online reviews as their first step to finding a new physician.3
Driver of change: Similar to experience, healthcare consumers want a provider that upholds a reputation for supplying excellent patient care in a timely, cost-effective manner. Patients are relying on online reviews more than ever before. For instance, 80% of consumers report trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations.3 Prioritizing a patient’s judgment towards their treatment is just as important as the treatment itself.
Staying Ahead of Consumer Trends: Key Strategies to Note
To effectively address these ever-changing consumer decisions, it is important to meet the consumers where they are. Many hospitals are finding partnership a key strategy to overcome some of these challenges while also meeting the opportunity in their community.
Whether it be partnering to grow your rehabilitation footprint, elevate your reputation or streamline care quality, Lifepoint Rehabilitation continues to be the leader in delivering optimal outcomes through our customizable joint venture and contract management partnership solutions.
Contact us to learn which solution would be serve your patients, hospital and community.