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Poor Health Data Integration Harms the Patient Experience

Four in five patients said having to repeat their medical history detracts from a good patient experience.

The lack of data integration is starting to wear on the overall patient experience, with new survey data showing that 83 percent of patients have to provide the same health histories they have in the past. That process makes four in five less likely to return to that provider, the survey added.

The survey, completed by Propeller Insights on behalf of Carta Healthcare, showed that 42 percent of patients spend up to six minutes recounting their medical histories each time they go to their medical appointments.

That redundancy is getting in the way of a good patient experience, with around 80 percent of respondents saying the burden of duplicative data entry discourages them from visiting that particular provider again.

But those trends weren’t the same across gender. Men, for example, were more likely to have to repeat basic medical history compared with women, shaking out to 24 and 14 percent having to do so, respectively.

Additionally, men were more likely to express interest in patient data access, with about half saying they’d be more likely to recommend their healthcare provider if they had easier data access. That compares to 38 percent of women who said the same.

Healthcare has other patient experience hiccups mostly related to wait times and patient-provider communication. Patient respondents said their healthcare providers aren’t usually able to provide insights into prognosis or overall health, with 36 percent specifically saying their clinicians cannot provide them with outcomes for their conditions based on other patients’ results.

Said otherwise, providers lack the predictive analytics to give these insights to patients, and patients are taking note. That’s a patient experience detractor for 48 percent of respondents, the survey showed.

And in terms of wait time, 53 percent said that’s a big reason why they give their providers a negative rating. Most patients (50 percent) wait between 10 and 20 minutes before seeing a physician, but for around a quarter of patients, wait times can total upwards of 30 minutes, the survey showed.

And perhaps most egregiously, the wait time is starting to overtake the time patients spend with their clinicians. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they spent most of their visit waiting for their clinicians, while only 20 percent said they spent most of their time interacting with clinicians.

Patients want to see this wait time paradigm shift, with 53 percent saying they’d be willing to pay more if they got a guaranteed amount of time with their clinician. While 57 percent said they did not see any signs of staffing shortages, 66 percent did concede that organizations likely need to hire more support staff to help clinicians meet with patients in a timely manner.

Overall, one in five patients said they don’t feel like they have adequate access to healthcare, with younger respondents being more likely to say so than older ones (67 and 93 percent, respectively). Older adults are also less likely to say healthcare should be free, the survey showed. These trends could be due to senior access to Medicare, the researchers posited.

These results speak to the symbiosis of technology, process, and people. While investment in an integrated technology suite could improve patient data access and reporting of medical history, the patient experience will need more than that.

Organizations may consider incentives that can help their hiring practices and staffing rates. From there, they can support better communication process that help mitigate long wait times and salvage a patient experience when long wait times occur.

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