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Survey: Patients Interested in Web-Based Healthcare Interaction

September 19, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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According to a new poll by Harris Interactive, even though a small percentage of patients are using web-based services to facilitate interactions with their healthcare providers, there is a strong demand for this market. The survey, of 2,311 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over), looked to explore how "healthcare consumers" are making their decisions when it comes to engaging in their care treatment.

In terms of web-based patient communications, only 17 percent of those surveyed said they had online access to medical records. By contrast, 32 percent of those surveyed said this service is very important to them, while 33 percent said it’s important to them. There were similar results  for all of the tested services, such as email access to doctors (12 percent have; 23 percent say it’s very important, 30 percent say it’s important), online appointment setting (11 percent have, 21 percent very important, 30 percent important) and online billing and payments (10 percent have, 21 percent very important, 29 percent important).

Patient satisfaction is on the rise, according to the survey. Of the 84 percent surveyed who visited a doctor’s office, 47 percent said they were satisfied, while 36 percent said they were somewhat satisfied.

Among the 84 percent of Americans who visited a doctor's office within the past year, nearly half (47 percent) reported being very satisfied with their last medical visit; an additional 36 percent described themselves as somewhat satisfied. In terms of what contributes to their satisfaction, their doctor’s training and ability was the highest factor (83 percent), then ability to access their overall medical history (62 percent) and time spent with their doctor (59 percent) were second and third respectively.

"Customer experience matters in healthcare and will continue to impact purchasing decisions and customer retention," Debra Richman, senior vice president, Healthcare Business Development & Strategy, Harris Interactive, said in a statement. "The healthcare consumer is increasingly evaluating brand equity, convenience and product or service value as they make choices. In an increasingly competitive healthcare marketplace, a positive customer experience will serve to differentiate health plans and providers."

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