Like in most industries, the consumer often drives change. Some savvy companies can anticipate those needs and gain a competitive advantage by getting out in front of it. Are medical practices the next frontier? Will patients force change because medical practices aren’t innovating fast enough? Here are the top 5 ways that we predict patients will push for changes in the practice of medicine over the next year.
1 – Convenience Above All Else
We know that patients want convenience above all else. Gone are the days where they go to the local doctor because it’s the most convenient location to their home, school or work. Instead, they’re shopping around for the best practice. And what they value above all else is convenience — they want to have a connection with the doctor and to be able to be seen whenever they need it. Convenience is king — so they’re expecting flexible office hours, ease in scheduling, responsiveness, short waiting room times and video visits.
2 – Pay for Play
While convenience is king for our changing consumers and patients, most say that they’ll even pay for the convenience. Is there an opportunity for medical practices to build in mechanisms to allow patients to have greater access or flexibility while identifying new revenue lines to create a more profitable practice?
3 – App Ready
When accessing solutions for scheduling appointments, making refill requests, asking for information or requesting a telehealth visit, patients won’t be calling. They want to access an online portal or an app that’s easy to use, intuitive and also secure — just like they use for their banking or shopping, they want the same for their doctor’s office.
4 – Off the Grid
As the drive to greater health, wellness and balance impacts our workplaces with more workers requesting flexible work schedules and locations, we’re seeing more and more people moving off the grid. Our patients are getting further away from our city centers and positioning themselves in rural communities. Or they find themselves traveling for work or away at college. Telehealth services allow them to stay connected with their physicians and enjoy the flexibility of living wherever they choose.
5 – Deeper Connections
Our patients are also consumers in this competitive landscape that we see more and more in the medical profession. While our patients/consumers shop around for the best fit for their medical care, they are searching for a deeper connection with their medical care provider. And doctors want this too because better care equals better outcomes. When patients feel that they can connect with their doctors, then issues with medication side effects, symptom management and emotional health can be quickly and accurately addressed.
Adopting telehealth seems to be the most obvious solution here. Patients want access to their doctors when and where they need it. Telehealth makes it easier than ever to access healthcare without the need to miss work or school. Patients want faster answers to common questions. Telehealth connects doctors and patients, making it fast and easy to address common conditions, medical needs or health related questions, whether it’s to refill prescriptions, review lab results or access after-hours care. And patients know that access to their own doctor means better care. Find a telehealth solution driven by your practice and branded just for you that lets patients see their own doctor when it’s convenient unlike online medical care websites that connect them with a random doctor that doesn’t understand their health history.
Telehealth holds so much promise for the consumer patient. It’s exciting to see the impact it will have on the medical field in the coming years.