Patients seek quality care, even as costs climb

The way consumers are shopping for healthcare is changing rapidly, yet some fundamentals have stayed the same.

A recent Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) study shows that while cost is a powerful motivator, quality remains the most important factor.

Key insights from the study:

1. Quality of care is the leading factor in provider selection. About 55% of patients list quality of care as the leading factor in provider selection, ahead of cost and provider cleanliness/infection prevention. Though quality is the top factor, patients still take steps to reduce costs, including doing online research and making decisions based on their findings.

2. Reducing out-of-pocket costs is important for all patients. Approximately 73% of patients report that they always try to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, patients do not perceive a strong connection between cost and quality in healthcare—in fact, only half agree that there is any correlation between the two.

3. Many patients, especially Millennials, use cost to select providers. Nearly 24% of patients choose their doctor based on cost, and 18% use a provider other than their primary care physician for some services. Additionally, 13% report having changed providers due to cost. Younger generations are more likely than older generations to select providers based on cost, with one-third of Millennials choosing their providers for this reason.

4. Millennials will often pay more to see providers with newer technology. Despite their focus on cost, half of Millennials are willing to pay more out of their own pockets to visit a provider that offers newer equipment and products.

Prior HIDA research confirmed that Millennials carefully scrutinize their provider experiences, exhibit consumer behavior, and generally have higher expectations of their providers. These newest findings indicate suppliers can play a vital role in appealing to healthcare consumers, whether it is connecting providers to the newest technologies, or offering products that are proven to improve care quality.

Click here to access a free infographic based on HIDA’s consumerism research. To view the study, click here.

Elizabeth Hilla is executive director of the HIDA Educational Foundation, an affiliate of the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA). The Foundation is devoted to education and research that increases efficiency and effectiveness within the healthcare supply channel. She also serves as a senior vice president at HIDA.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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