Age of the Healthcare Consumer

October 5, 2012
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A recent Harris Poll had some great data, but one point struck me as particularily funny.  Well, it really isn’t funny, but it is ironic.  The data point is that of 84% of Americans who visited a doctor’s office within the past year, nearly half (47%) reported being very satisfied with their last medical visit.

A recent Harris Poll had some great data, but one point struck me as particularily funny.  Well, it really isn’t funny, but it is ironic.  The data point is that of 84% of Americans who visited a doctor’s office within the past year, nearly half (47%) reported being very satisfied with their last medical visit.  What is funny (ok, ironic) is that it is the same rate as consumers who were very satisfied with their last car purchase.

Really??  Are our patients just as satisfied with their last medical visit as they are with car purchases? Of all the data that I see, this by far has to be one that starts us over the tipping point.  At least I hope so!

Other findings of particular interest to me were:

  • Online access to medical records is available to 17% of patients
  • 32% of patients consider online access to medical records as very important and 33% see it as important; however, it is not available to these consumers.
  • Email access to doctors — 12% of patients have it; 23% consider it very important and 30% consider it important
  • Online appointment setting — 11% have it, 21% consider it very important, 30% feel it is important
  • Online billing and payments — 10% have it, 21% consider it very important and 29% feel it is important
  • Online cost estimator — 6% have been offered this service and just over three of five patients are without the services, but describe it as either very important (26%) or important (36%)
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What do you think?  Is this really ironic?  Or is it funny, or perhaps even sad?