What do patients really want from a great healthcare experience?

What do patients really want from a great healthcare experience?

Patients have significantly more power than they used to in their relationships with healthcare providers and payers. Massive digital technology growth combined with service experiences they’re having in other industries mean it’s important to establish a clear understanding of people’s expectations if you want to deliver healthcare—public or private—successfully.

The last year or two have tested healthcare ecosystems across the globe in previously unimaginable ways. Accenture’s 2021 Health and Life Sciences Experience Survey consulted almost 12,000 people in 14 countries to gauge the effects of those challenges. We queried whether there are any lasting improvements, whether efficiency has come at the cost of emotional support and whether virtual care was temporary—or changed the system forever. The key result: patients aren’t satisfied being treated in a one-way, one-size-fits-all transaction. They expect some key things facilitate care that is kind, convenient and fair. We have identified four of their most important expectations:

1. Emotional support

Bedside manner has long been a watchword for patients wanting more than medical advice and treatment from their caregivers. Our study confirmed that emotional support and clear medical information delivered with empathy is a winning formula. The emphasis is slightly different across generations, however. In the countries we surveyed, the likelihood that respondents care about providers who explain conditions clearly and provide emotional support increases as one moves from younger generations (GenZ, Millennials) towards Baby Boomers.

2. Technology-driven convenience and accessibility

Our survey reveals marked growth in virtual consultations and EHRs during the COVID-19 pandemic—with convenience as the biggest incentive to use virtual technology. More specifically, the survey indicated that virtual consultations (23%), EHRs (21%), mobile apps (20%), and wearables (19%) were the most popular technologies used to manage respondents’ health in the past year.

3. Trust—through data protection

Without people’s trust, digital adoption is unlikely to reach its potential. The unfortunate domino effect is that without digital adoption, emotional support and convenient access are at risk. The pandemic-driven increase in virtual care has increased people’s awareness of the value of their health data—and the need for their consent and for its secure and appropriate use. Overall, the data leads us to two conclusions:

  • To increase trust for overall digital adoption, prioritise data security and patient consent.
  • To increase trust in pharma companies, increase transparency with respect to medical research data.

4. Equitable access for all

When people can’t afford care, they are more likely to resort to behaviors that save money but could jeopardise their health. They might replace prescribed treatments with over-the-counter medication, skip an appointment with a medical provider or delay treatment or medication which can possibly lead to more severe illness or, in the worst-case scenario, be life-threatening.

In short, the pandemic has left a lasting impression on healthcare across the globe, and our 2021 Health and Life Sciences Experience Survey has confirmed the need for human-centric and personalised healthcare.

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