The Patient Experience – An Overview of the COVID-19 Impact Survey
Kyruus Research has released its 2021 COVID-19 impact survey examining patient access experiences and preferences. The findings, issued in the Patient Access Preferences Report: The Pandemic’s Lasting Impact, reveals the value of hybrid approaches to care delivery (virtual and in-person) and digital access offerings to meet the rising demand for convenient self-service.
The COVID-19 impact survey is based on a survey of 1,000 people conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Kyruus in March 2021. Respondents were from across the United States and represented a comparable mix of private insurance and Medicare or Medicaid—approximately 20% military/VA, other, or no coverage—from four age groups (18-34, 35-49, 50-64, 65+ years). Key findings highlighted in the COVID-19 impact study:
Care Delay Trends
More than half of respondents delayed some type of care (e.g., routine, specialty, mental health, or surgical care) during the pandemic.
- 42% routine care
- 38% surgical care
- 37% specialty care
- 30% mental health services
When looking at the rest of 2021, almost 60% of people do not plan to delay in-person care, but uncertainty persists for the remainder: 20% plan to push out care, and 22% are unsure.
Virtual Care Satisfaction
- 62% of respondents had a virtual care visit of some kind in the past 12 months
- 71% of respondents who obtained virtual care during the pandemic did so for the first time
- Over 60% say virtual care access will play a role in seeking care in the future
- Preferred Care Model
- Over 40% indicated a preference for accessing mental healthcare virtually or through a hybrid care model
- 35% for acute care
- 31% for specialty care
The Kyruus Research COVID-19 impact survey found that providers—especially primary care providers (PCPs)—quickly adapted to the virtual care need. Over 50% of consumers reported that their PCP offered virtual care visits during the pandemic (of respondents who have an existing PCP). When the respondents were asked how access to virtual care will impact their choice of where to obtain care in the future, nearly 2/3 of all respondents (63%) said it would be an essential factor in their decision-making. Additionally, of those who fell in this category, 40% said they would switch providers for the option to have virtual visits.
COVID-19 Vaccine Access
- 46% searched for vaccine appointment information online
- Consistent with past consumer research, the internet was the primary resource consumers consulted
- Over 40% of consumers attempted to book a vaccine appointment for themselves and/or others
- Nearly 60% would prefer to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment online, mirroring broader scheduling trends
- Those who prefer online booking see this method as:
- convenient (56%)
- easy (51%)
- quick (50%)
Although respondents 65+ had the lowest preference for online booking, 51% cited online scheduling as their preferred method. However, while online scheduling is a priority for many consumers, technology or internet access barriers persist for others.
Future Care Delivery Expectations
- 48% cited insurance accepted as a top factor in where they’ll get care in the future
- 37% timely access
- Less than 25% loyalty
- 46% are more likely to seek care through a virtual care visit
- 51% still prefer to choose in-person visits with their primary care provider
Findings in the Kyruus Research COVID-19 impact survey highlight the increased desire for consumers to seek routine care through virtual and in-person options further promotes the value of hybrid care delivery. It outlines an opportunity for healthcare organizations to lure new patients with traditional and contemporary approaches to primary care.
Drivers of Digital Health Technologies
Digital patient access has undergone a significant evolution during the pandemic, and consumer preferences have evolved along with it. Health systems are under tremendous pressure to provide convenient access to care for patients while tightly managing operational costs. At the same time, over the past decade, patients (consumers) have taken a more active role in educating themselves and directly managing their health. And with more than 80 percent of consumers now researching their healthcare options, new technologies provide consumers new ways to engage in healthy living and manage certain conditions. In other words, technology is empowering consumers to take control of their health.
Confidence in digital health technologies’ and tools’ potential continues to progress as health systems continue to invest in a more digital health care experience – focusing on connecting with, communicating with, and monitoring patients outside the health system’s walls. And while some of the pandemic’s impact on consumer choice may be short-term, it’s apparent that the pandemic perpetually re-shaped patient preferences and expectations in meaningful ways. As Kyruus added in their report, the pandemic only accelerated the inevitable: consumer demand for better options, convenience, and command over when, where, and how to receive care. Continuing to educate patients about their options for receiving care—across modalities, settings, and care types—and empowering them to increasingly self-navigate when desired will go a long way in helping healthcare organizations stand out in the post-pandemic world.
Kyruus helps healthcare organizations connect people with the proper care across their crucial access points. The company’s industry-defining provider search and scheduling platform enables leading health systems, hospitals, and medical groups nationwide – spanning more than 300,000 providers – to attract and retain patients with a modern and consistent access experience. Robust provider data management forms the platform’s foundation, helping people find the right providers and care settings for their needs based on rich, system-wide information. To extend its impact on care navigation, Kyruus acquired HealthSparq in 2021 to bridge payer and provider access channels like never before.