Several service industries outside of health care are shaping patient experiences and expectations, according to a report from the Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers, which surveyed approximately 6,000 consumers across 11 industries, including banking, hotel, airline and retail. While patient expectations in health care track those of consumers in other industries, payers and providers, generally speaking, are significantly behind other industries in responding to the wants and needs of those same consumers. Advancements such as the self-service and 24-hour availability in retail banking and the price and product transparency in the retail industry still are developing concepts in health care.

Still, health care consumers differ from those in other sectors in several important areas:

  • Health care consumers are least likely to share a positive story about their experience. Only 44 percent of health insurance customers and 54 percent of provider consumers tell anyone within a month of having a positive experience compared with 70 percent of retail and 66 percent of banking customers.
  • Health care consumers are less forgiving of providers with whom they have had a negative experience. Six of 10 negative experiences are more likely to be remembered for longer in the provider industry compared with other industries. However, two-thirds of disappointed health insurance consumers were willing to forgive and forget if their frustrations were acknowledged.
  • Price and convenience ranked high on a list of attributes consumers expect across multiple industries, with price being the No. 1 driver of purchasing decisions for consumers in every industry but health care.
  • Staff attitude was cited as the main contributor to positive experiences by 70 percent of consumers in the provider sector, compared with 38 percent of retail shoppers and 33 percent of bank, hospital and airline customers.
  • When asked about the conveniences and services they value from providers, 69 percent said they want facilities that offer multiple services in one location; 65 percent appreciate the ability to exchange information through online and mobile forms of communication; and 57 percent place a high value on patient education they receive during a visit.

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