Health care providers need to understand and apply the best possible health care solutions to patients.
If they don’t, they risk losing the business, and losing the trust of patients and the broader healthcare system.
A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the health care industry’s largest trade group, recommends health care providers adopt strategies that allow them to effectively treat patients with the best of them, even if the technology isn’t the most optimal for the patient’s condition.
“The most common question patients ask is: ‘How do I know if my provider has the best solution?’,” said KF’s Peter Schuck.
“This is something that health care professionals must think about.”
The report looked at nearly 1,500 health care provider contracts from across the country, covering nearly 9 million visits to healthcare facilities in 2013.
It found that the biggest obstacle to patient satisfaction with healthcare providers has been how the technology works.
“There are many, many ways to address this, but the one that is most common and prevalent is the provider using an outdated technology,” said Schuck, who is the Kaiser Health News editor-in-chief.
“That’s the biggest problem, because it means patients are not getting the best care.”
One of the key factors for high dissatisfaction is that providers are not making use of new technology, such as remote monitoring and digital imaging, which could allow the patient to receive more personalized care, he added.
Another factor that has hurt patients is that the health plan they’re on doesn’t always pay for the healthcare they’re getting, leading to high costs.
“If the provider is not paying for this, it can create a situation where patients can’t afford to get healthcare,” Schuck said.
The report found that many health care plans are paying a higher share of healthcare costs, with healthcare plans paying $2.7 trillion in 2013, a 5 percent increase from 2012.
Another big issue for patients is waiting times.
The study found that there was a 30 percent drop in patient satisfaction after one month of using an insurance plan.
“In the meantime, patients are having to wait weeks or months for care,” Schucker said.
“If the health plans aren’t paying for the services they’re providing, patients may not be able to afford the care they’re receiving, and therefore it could create more wait times for care.”KF also found that in states where there are less options for healthcare providers, consumers are more likely to choose providers who are cheaper.
“As more options are available, consumers may be more likely and choose to pay more,” Schucks said.