Patients want physicians to have online presence, communication, billing options


Survey outlines patients’ attitudes on technology.

A good online presence can help physicians attract new patients and get paid when care is complete.

A new survey examined perceptions of physicians and technology among 2,000 patients earlier this year. Among the findings:

  • 73% said they keep a “mental scorecard” of things like and don’t like in a new physician office.
  • 60% said they are likely to select one doctor over another if they can make appointments online.
  • 61% consider how easy it is to make payments when evaluating whether to continue seeing a physician.

The results were published in “2022 Patient Experience Report: What Patients Really Think,” a new study by ModMed, an electronic health record (EHR) and practice management programming company based in Boca Raton, Florida. Primary care physicians were among the most-seen, with 27% of patients reporting they had visited a primary care office in the previous 18 month, second only to dermatologists, seen by 30% of patients.

“These days practices make an impression on patients from before they walk in the door until long after they’ve left. There are countless touchpoints providers have with patients where they can influence a positive experience,” ModMed CEO Daniel Cane said in a news release. “We wanted to provide these insights so providers can stop guessing what’s important to patients and instead be in a position to enhance or create a healthcare delivery model that is more in line with today’s connected consumer.”

In the survey, 69% of patients said it is important for physicians’ offices to have modern-looking websites; 33% of patients said they visit physician websites before going to an appointment, but about 66% of patients said they would be more likely to order nonprescription-related products from their doctor’s website over an online store.

Using the latest technology is important to 90% of patients, and 46% said they prefer their physicians to use a tablet to take notes.

Online reviews were important to 74% of patients and 48% of patients said they consult those reviews before making a selection.

When deciding to see the same physician, 61% of patients said it is important to make online appointments and the same percentage said it was important to make payments easily.

Timeliness and wait times were important to 79% of patients, who agreed 31 minutes is acceptable for waiting room wait time and 84 minutes is acceptable for exam room wait time. Physicians being personable and engaged was important for 67% of patients, and 33% said they have switched doctors due to unfriendly staff. In the waiting room, 75% said staff friendliness is important, and 68% wanted a fast check-in process.

For contacting physicians’ offices, 68% of patients said it is frustrating to leave a telephone message and wait for a call back. Instead of the phone, 47% said they prefer email, text or an online portal for follow-up communications.

Online options are important for billing – 59% of patients were more likely to pay a bill faster if given an online option, the survey said.

This article originally appeared on Medical Economics®.

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John Stanley, MD
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