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Survey: Consumers Want Digital Health Care to Mirror Retail Experiences

According to research findings released at HIMSS18 by NTT DATA Services, US health care consumers want simple and reliable digital interactions for routine transactions, such as filling prescriptions, accessing test results, and making doctor appointments. In fact, 59% of US consumers expect their health care digital customer experience (DCX) to be similar to retail. 

Consumer expectations for health care providers and insurers are being shaped by other industries, and they want their digital experiences to more closely mirror interactions with major online retailers, such as Amazon, Apple, and Southwest Airlines. 

"Consumer-focused brands with rich, engaging content, interactions, and features have changed the landscape in digital customer experience, and health care is lagging behind," said Alan Hughes of NTT DATA Services. "As patients seek seamless care to bring together services related to diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and health promotion, health care appears ripe for its own digital transformation." 

NTT DATA's research sought to answer the following three key questions:

1. How satisfied are you with the digital customer experience across health care companies?

2. In what areas could your doctor's office or health care insurance company provide more seamless care?

3. What is your preferred method of interaction with health care organizations? 

Key study findings include the following:

There is a cohort of more tech-savvy consumers—"Explorers"—who represent the future for the health care industry. These Explorers are demanding, impatient, and not reluctant to switch doctors when dissatisfied.

o 78% of Explorers say the DCX in health care needs to improve.

o 50% of Explorers would leave their current doctor for a better DCX. 

Consumers continue to want digital experiences that are fast and easy, yet mobile health care is perceived as lacking ease of use and features. According to respondents, factors hindering progress include the following:

o not able to accomplish what I wanted to do (62%);

o options are not relevant to me (42%); and

o wasted time—too long to complete (40%).

Sixty-nine percent expect their health insurance company to make it easier to navigate affordable care and wellness options.

Even among the simplest digital health care tasks, the majority of health care consumers feel improvement is needed in the following areas:

o searching for a doctor/specialist (81%);

o accessing my family's health records (80%);

o changing/making an appointment (79%);

o accessing test results (76%);

o paying my bill (75%); and

o filling a prescription (74%).

"Patient preferences and age demographics will continue to increase the emphasis health care organizations place on digital customer experience," Hughes said. "While digital experience may have a moderate impact on overall health care decisions made today, it is changing at an increasing rate. Providers, insurers, and pharmacies taking heed of the trend will be best suited to fulfill patient expectations." 

— Source: NTT DATA Services