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What We Can Learn From Primary Care Providers

categories: Healthcare

Oct 2017


Closing the Patient Experience Gap Between Hospitals and Primary Care

What can hospitals learn from primary care providers? In a word, much.

When it comes to the patient experience, hospitals lag primary care facilities by miles, and it’s really no surprise. When patients walk into a hospital, they typically do not have a bright and shining smile on their faces. Instead, most walk in feeling panicked, stressed and with a sense of urgency. A long wait with little to no information just makes matters worse.

How do we know? Over the last year, Upward Brand Interactions conducted a series of studies with over 900 healthcare consumers, gathering information on both the primary care consumer experience and the hospital consumer experience. The results of these studies are detailed in our Healthcare Consumer Experience Report, which shows that hospitals can learn a great deal from their primary care brethren, starting with a shift in attitude.

You may not be shocked to hear that our survey respondents described the hospital healthcare experience as expensive, scary and even horrible. The results of our studies show that most of the negative attitudes toward healthcare occurs within the treatment process due to interactions with staff. In contrast, primary care received the opposite reaction from patients when asked to describe their experience. Respondents used the phrases like excellent, easy and efficient. In fact, the number of consumers who had a positive sentiment towards primary care was almost triple that of hospital care.

The major difference between the two healthcare experiences comes down to relationships. In the primary care setting, patients can build relationships with their doctor, the nurses and office staff. Along the way, a sense of familiarity and trust is developed.

As anyone who has visited a hospital (much less an emergency room) knows, the difference between the patient experience at the primary care physician’s office and the hospital is night and day. At the hospital, patients are typically in unfamiliar territory when they’re admitted. They also tend to be under stress or duress, they encounter a rotating cast of healthcare providers as shifts change, and each new person seems to ask the same questions as the last. Meanwhile, wait times are long and the lack of information about next steps tends to make the entire process more stressful.

Yet there are potential solutions to this issue, and it starts with the device that is now ever present and ubiquitous for patients – the smartphone. Employing digital strategies effectively, hospitals can tap into the potential of the patient smartphone to decrease wait times, expedite pre-admission forms and create simpler payment systems. In addition, using smart devices to create a more accessible communication system can help reduce patient frustration while improving the patient-hospital relationship.

The Upward Brand Interactions Healthcare Consumer Experience Report offers healthcare insights from more than 100 healthcare marketing projects to provide realistic solutions to the paint points of both patients and doctors. These actionable solutions can create a more personalized and customer-centric healthcare experience for patients. Download the Upward Consumer Healthcare Digital Experience Report[link] to put a consumer-focus on your organization’s health care offering.

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