- When it comes to patient engagement, self-care, and other healthcare responsibilities, patients and providers may not be on the same page.
A new survey conducted on behalf of Xerox indicates significant differences and interesting contrasts in the way patients and providers view their interactions with each other. For example, while more than half of consumers think they are primarily responsible for their own healthcare, less than six percent of providers agree. Ninety-five percent of patients are likely to believe they know how to take care of their own health, but only 40 percent of providers and payers say the same.
The survey, which included over 750 patients and more than 200 healthcare providers and payers, also reveals contrasting opinions about patient engagement.
While 90 percent of providers and payers say patient engagement relies on provider encouragement, only 55 percent of patients said the same. These patients suggested that they encouraged themselves to engage in their own care.
The poll also showed that providers think patients shop around for healthcare far more often than they actually do. While 71 percent of providers think patients are consistently looking for a new provider, only 34 percent of them actually are exploring other options.
Providers may also have failed to accurately pinpoint what patients are looking for in a healthcare professional. A majority of providers and payers thought patients prioritized providers who are within their insurance network, while patients said they prioritize quality of care.
Most providers and payers thought that delays in treatments are due to high healthcare costs. However, less than half of patient respondents reported that this was true.
With such starkly opposite opinions on patient engagement and responsibility, it is clear that there is a missing link. According to leaders at Xerox, improved patient-provider communications may be the key to mitigating these differences.
“Consumers and healthcare professionals have very different views on patient empowerment and control,” said Rohan Kulkarni, vice president of Strategy and Portfolio, Xerox Healthcare Business Group.
“Payers and providers are much less likely to believe patients are taking responsibility for their health than what patients perceive to be true. The results suggest that improved communication could allow healthcare professionals to better showcase to their patients how they’re a partner in their health.”
Patient-provider communication has been touted as a hallmark of quality patient engagement. Between the push for patient portals and other digital communications devices, providers have seen many potential options for improving these relationships.
However, this report shows that providers may not even know what patients are looking for. Patients may have preferences and habits that are different from what providers may perceive.
Other studies have shown similar discrepancies. A March Accenture survey shows that patients are on board with full access to their health data, while providers have some reservations.
Nearly 75 percent of providers reported that patients should have limited access to health data, while seven percent said patients should have none at all.
As the industry continues to offer incentives for value-based, patient-centered care, it may be financially prudent for providers to stay current with innovative patient engagement strategies. In order to do this, providers should engage in robust patient-provider communication and maintain strong relationships with their patients.