Patient Satisfaction and the New Consumer

To paraphrase an old General Motors ad slogan, this isn’t your father’s patient. Today’s patient is more discerning and demanding. She also has more access to information and a wider array of choices. In many ways, today’s patient shouldn’t be thought of as a patient, but as a consumer. She wants to know the quality of care provided by her doctor and hospital and how much procedures will cost. In some cases she can find that out with the click of a mouse. A savvy Internet user, the new consumer also expects health care to adopt the same functionalities as other industries that allow her to buy movie tickets, book a hotel room and pay a bill online. If she doesn’t like what she sees, she is more likely now than in the past to shop around with her health care dollars.

Are you ready for the new consumer? According to research by Press Ganey Associates Inc., people between the ages of 35 and 49—a major part of the new consumer cohort—have the lowest patient satisfaction scores compared with other age groups. They are more likely to have health problems than younger people, so they have more encounters with health care providers. They also tend to be more computer-literate than older consumers and are more comfortable looking for health care information.

This gatefold provides an overview of the “new consumer,” and shows why patient satisfaction matters to hospitals.
 

 

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