People dealing with chronic conditions are keener to share personally-generated data than people that don’t have a chronic disease, Deloitte’s 2018 Survey of U.S> Health Care Consumers learned. This and other insights about the patient journey are published in Inside the patient journey, a report from Deloitte that assesses three key touch points for consumer health engagement.

These three patient journey milestones are searching for care, using new channels of care, and tracking and sharing health data, Deloitte maps.

What drives people to engage on their patient journeys has a lot  more to do with practical matters of care like convenience, cost, and bedside manner, Deloitte says, than what the firm terms “bells and whistles. Specifically,

  • 50% of health consumers search to see their providers are in-network, to avoid surprise medical bills
  • 31% want to know prices they have to pay for out-of-pocket expenses
  • Convenience is top-of-mind: 46% look for convenient locations, and 32% seek convenient hours and accessibility
  • 39% check reputations
  • 34% assess the provider’s personality or bedside manner (to that objective, 20% take into account high user reviews from other patients).

One-half of consumers say that in the future, they will likely look online for information about prices of services, or look up a report card for a physician.

The freshest data points in this report deal with older and sicker patients — arguably, the folks who need digital health tools the most. The table illustrates the key point, that the sicker we are, the more likely we would be to share information tracked in our apps and devices — whether contributing out data for healthcare research, to a developer of an app or device, in an emergency situation, and especially to share with doctors to help them improve “my” care.

Deloitte surveyed 4,530 U.S. adults online in February and March 2018 for the study.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Trust is a precursor to health engagement, and especially underpins one’s willingness to share personal health data. Trust works in the other direction, too — as sources of medical information. The second image shows that health consumers most-trust academic medical centers (teaching hospitals) and professional medical associations, along with community hospitals and pharmacies, as sources of reliable information on treatments.

Expertise in the form of researchers, doctors, nurses and pharmacists remains highly valued in the eyes of health consumers. That’s why I consistently note the Gallup Poll on honesty and ethics in professions, which has ranked nurses, pharmacists and doctors very high on Americans’ list of most-trusted professionals in the nation.

The more we can bolster the relationship between the consumer-patient and her clinicians, the more we would be supporting the Quadruple Aim — to drive quality, health outcomes, lower cost, and a resilient healthcare workforce.

This is particularly important as we confront and grapple with a physician workforce that’s feeling burned out, unappreciated, and over-managed.

And did I mention consumer-patient satisfaction? For more insights into that issue, check out this research published by Binary Fountain on healthcare reputation management.