A tale of friction. Americans would abandon healthcare providers for better services.

Photo by Sandeep Singh

A recent study of 2,000 Americans provides a clear picture: Friction and frustration is common among healthcare customers. In fact, 60% of Americans find the process of seeing a new healthcare provider frustrating. And frustration is making customers consider switching providers.

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans would abandon their healthcare providers if more appealing services were available elsewhere. And the top motivator is the availability of same-day appointments, as customers want the convenience and flexibility to see providers as-soon-as-possible. Other key drivers are convenient locations, and the ability to self-schedule.

“The digital age has altered customer expectations,” said Madison Miner, DexCare’s chief of user growth. “People expect healthcare to offer a friction-free experience that delivers 24/7 access to nearby providers – and completed with digital ease.”

Technology is central to patient acquisition and satisfaction. And here are three ways to reduce friction, and to create a seamless, digital front door: 

1. Flexible Scheduling

Thirty-five percent of those surveyed desired more flexible scheduling, and control to self-select appointments. A more welcoming provider directory will sort and deliver results based on soonest available. This simple, yet effective logic update, ensures searches don’t produce zero results, while prioritizing availability.

2. Match Content With Care

Content, such as articles and blogs, should be opportunities to book an appointment, and not just a dead end. By liberating scheduling, beyond the directories, health systems save users the need to enter cumbersome, multi-step acquisition flows. 

3. Power Up Your Search

Site search is the single, most powerful tool to bridge the gap between user intent and action.  Instead of burying search in the corner of your navigation, put search front and center. Search can be more than a content repository, and a way for customers to search for providers, locations, and broad queries, to find the right results.  

Customers have options.  Hello Amazon.

With the majority of Americans finding the process of seeing a new provider a frustrating, sluggish experience, something has to change. Consumers expect technology to remove barriers – from finding a provider and scheduling to paying bills – and loyalty is wearing thin. And the emergence of Amazon as a major player speaks volumes about where the industry is headed.

Instead of dictating how patients interact with healthcare providers, Amazon’s is removing digital friction from activities like finding doctors and scheduling appointments. Will Amazon become the one-stop location for scheduling ease? Time will tell. But there’s clearly a digital gap that healthcare is moving quickly to fill. 

As you explore options to improve your digital front door, keep the customer central, and remove friction where possible. It’s what the data says.