93% of respondents had an in-person visit at their most recent primary care physician (PCP) appointment, and 44% preferred in-person visits with all providers. In the last year, however, nearly half (45%) of adults surveyed used telehealth at least once, with younger adults between the ages of 18 to 34 much more likely (61%) to have used telehealth.
People are Mostly Keeping Up with Their Physical Health Care, BUT DELAYED CARE PERSISTS
Most adults surveyed (86%) have had a primary care physician (PCP) visit in the last year, with 45% within the last one to three months, showing an uptick in reversing the delayed care trend. Regarding respondents’ most recent PCP visit, 93% were in person. As the world has opened back up, so has in-person care, pointing to the need for medical providers to offer high levels of in-office care and hybrid care solutions.
However, while overall, 31% of adults surveyed have delayed care in the last year, 50% of 18- to 34-year-olds have delayed their care, compared to just 16% of those 55 and older. The top reason for delaying care was to avoid medical expenses, which was particularly important to the 35% of respondents aged 18 to 34. It’s not surprising that older adults with chronic conditions and more complex needs are not delaying care as frequently as before.1
Other reasons stated for delaying care in the last year included no appointments being available (30%), not feeling safe receiving care in person (24%), and forgetting to schedule an appointment (21%). Notably, 31% of men and just 13% of women said they forgot to schedule an appointment.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Regarding non-urgent care, location/convenience was the most common consideration regardless of gender or age. Other top factors in choosing non-urgent care include cost/visit is covered by insurance (50%), quality of providers (50%), appointment availability (49%), patient experience (40%), and personable relationship with the provider (36%). Generational differences were apparent, among other reasons, including younger adults valuing the ease of online scheduling (33% vs. 11% for those 55 and over) and positive reviews/ word of mouth (32% vs. 13% for those 55 and over). Conversely, a personal relationship is more important for those 55 and older (49%), compared to 24% of those 18- to 34 years old. And overall, females (40%) value a personal relationship with a provider more than males (31%).
Engagement and Communication
WHILE PROVIDERS ARE GENERALLY DOING A GREAT JOB OF COMMUNICATING WITH PATIENTS, THERE IS STILL ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Most of the consumers surveyed were very satisfied (60%) or somewhat satisfied (33%) with the level of communication they receive from their provider. Nonetheless, 7% are somewhat or very dissatisfied with the level of communication they receive from their providers, which leaves room for improvement. Compared to our second annual survey, most consumers surveyed (8 out of 10) were satisfied with the level of communication they received from their primary healthcare providers, while 19% were not satisfied with the level of communication they received from their providers.
As a health system, a dissatisfied patient could impact your profitability at a time when optimizing core functions like patient engagement, recruitment, and retention are paramount. Additionally, of those surveyed who have a PCP, 66% who received follow-up instructions are very satisfied with the level of communication. Conversely, of those surveyed who have a PCP, only 42% who never received follow-up instructions are very satisfied with the level of communication received.
Although there has been a continued adoption of online scheduling, as about half of adults (48%) surveyed have used online/mobile self-scheduling to book a medical appointment in the last year, health systems should give consumers the option to speak with a live voice agent.
While older adults are more likely to always schedule medical appointments by phone (59%), nearly nine in 10 respondents schedule appointments by phone at least some time. Additionally, of the respondents who used live voice to schedule their recent appointment, 52% noted that the experience was helpful, and the representative showed compassion and empathy for their medical needs. Among the 35% who used a connected approach (online/mobile self-scheduling, web form fill, or text) to book their recent appointment, 70% of respondents were very satisfied with their experience.
Fifty-four percent of total respondents reported that the online reviews had a moderate to severe impact on their decision when seeking a new healthcare provider. Online reviews are much more likely to impact the decisions of younger adults (72% aged 18 to 34 are impacted by online reviews compared to only 57% aged 35 to 54 and 37% aged 55 and older).
Telehealth is Here to Stay, but In-Person Appointment Preferences Remain
Hybrid healthcare combines in-person and remote patient care with digital technology to improve outcomes. The hybrid care model remains popular due to the convenience of telehealth visits and in-person care, as patients are returning to pre-COVID comfort levels regarding obtaining traditional, onsite care.
Although 44% of surveyed healthcare consumers prefer in-person visits with all providers, telehealth visits remain a prominent way to connect. Among those who are open to telehealth for some providers, primary care (55%) and mental health (45%) are the most commonly preferred virtual appointments. Specialties where virtual appointments are not preferred, include dermatology, pediatrics, ENT, cardiology, urology, gynecology, orthopedics, and pulmonology.
While nearly half (45%) of healthcare consumers surveyed used telehealth at least once in the last year, 25% only used it once or twice. This is a decrease from our previous survey, which showed that 39% of respondents used telehealth appointments one or two times in the last year. Older adults are accessing telehealth less frequently, with only 26% accessing it one or more times.
While healthcare consumers prefer in-person visits, 90% of survey respondents rated their telehealth experience as good or excellent. Year-over-year, convenience (58%) and safety (43%) continue to be the top reasons for choosing telehealth. A further 24% report that they get access to a better provider through telehealth, and 21% indicate cost as a factor.