Although 66 percent of healthcare organizations agree that consumerism is vital in healthcare, according to the Kaufman Hall Healthcare Consumerism Index, only 16 percent integrate feedback on patient preferences into their practices. Why do healthcare organizations struggle to deliver the patient-centric care that healthcare consumers want?
As we mentioned in our previous blog, one issue is the disconnect between what hospitals think patients value and what patients actually value. It’s understandable that healthcare providers are outcome-focused. Positive outcomes are, after all, what hospitals hope to achieve. However, recognizing that healthcare consumers prioritize experience as high as outcomes encourages hospitals to implement patient-centric practices across the entire patient experience—not just the clinical aspects.
Expand the types of healthcare data you use
For an industry that collects an inordinate amount of data, healthcare continues to lag behind other industries when it comes to using it effectively. Recent years have seen hospitals ramping up EHRs and data-sharing capabilities, putting the focus squarely on clinical healthcare data.
Another key data source—patient satisfaction assessments like the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) Survey—only offers patients' perspectives of a hospitalization, not their entire healthcare journey.
What the HCAHPS survey doesn’t provide is insight into why some patients do not follow post-discharge instructions, even when patients report that hospital staff clearly communicated those instructions. And it certainly doesn’t capture patients’ attitudes and preferences when it comes to health and wellness. For that, you need psychographic segmentation.
How psychographic segmentation works
Psychographic segmentation classifies patients based on why they behave the way they do. In the context of healthcare, c2b solutions has defined five distinct segments:
- Self Achievers motivated by goals and measures
- Balance Seekers determined to weigh all options, not just those offered by healthcare providers
- Willful Endurers living in the moment and resistant to health-related lifestyle changes
- Priority Jugglers focused on family and work obligations ahead of self
- Direction Takers looking for clear, specific instructions to follow
The 5 Psychographic Segments
By gaining healthcare insights about where consumers turn for health and wellness advice and what motivates consumers to be more engaged with care plans, hospitals can adapt communication messages, styles, and channels to better meet patient expectations.
We’ve seen how effective more targeted messaging can be. When TriHealth health coaches began using psychographic segmentation to understand individuals participating in two disease management programs, both the participants and the coaches expressed greater satisfaction—and goal attainment numbers climbed.
How to get more from patient surveys
Hospitals and other healthcare providers can also develop surveys that delve deeper into specific patient needs and concerns. For example, Dr. Corey Siegel at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center wanted to boost engagement among his ulcerative colitis patients.
Speaking with PatientEngagementHIT.com, Dr. Siegel explained, “We really need to understand what patients are most fearful of and most concerned about and what they want to talk about because otherwise it becomes a very provider-centric program as opposed to a patient-centric program.”
Originally, Dr. Siegel believed that patients might be delaying treatment because of concerns about the potentially serious side effects of ulcerative colitis medications. “What we set out to do is understand exactly what patients want to know and how they want to know that information, and what things they’re really concerned about so that when we’re developing this tool to aid them we’re directly addressing these concerns,” noted Dr. Siegel.
A survey of 500 patients found that they were more concerned about the complications of ulcerative colitis, the risk of colon cancer, or the need for surgery than medication side effects. Based on the survey results, the healthcare provider developed a multimedia education tool.
“I think the importance of our work in the context of patient-centric care is that we didn’t just build a communications tool to teach our patients about their disease and treatments based on what doctors thought was important to tell them,” said Dr. Siegel. “We went to patients first to understand what they needed to hear and what they wanted to hear and what they’re most fearful of so we can address it.”
Healthcare data alone will not give hospitals the insights needed to successfully adapt to healthcare consumerism and the demand for improved patient experiences. But if you capture more consumer insights—using psychographic segmentation, customized surveys and more—you can better understand what patients need to be more involved in their healthcare decisions and more engaged in positive health behaviors.