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Understanding Patient Segmentation To Improve Patient Experience In Healthcare

24 Dec 2018 | by Dr. Surabhi Bhati


For ages, the law of business is based on a simple principle of demand and supply. The supply of any service or product is dependent on the demand for that particular service or product.

But with the evolution of the internet and highly competitive market, one factor is influencing the basic principle of demand and supply. This unique factor is consumer experience. Businesses are finding ways to improve their consumer experience. It is not different in terms of the healthcare sector also.

Healthcare is evolving worldwide both in terms of clinical and non-clinical innovations such as the introduction of smart technologies, intelligent data-driven insight for process improvement. The healthcare delivery is changing and is more in synchronization of fulfilling patients need as and when they demand.

It was long back when patients need were not given much of the importance. Hospitals don't want to lose their patients to their competition. Terms like engaged, involved patients are gaining ground and healthcare service providers are looking out for tools and strategies to better understand their patients.

To make the service delivery more patient-centric it is important to understand your consumers. The insight into your patient's behaviour helps you in providing the best care and increasing the trust and confidence of the community in your practice.

Industries worldwide do a lot of ground research to understand their consumer's behaviour and needs. Likewise, a better understanding of the patient's behaviour and decision-making process can help you in designing a precise care plan which will be more effective with a better health outcome for your patients.

Deloitte Healthcare Solution has done a survey among 4,530 US consumers to understand how they make a healthcare decision. The fascinating part of the survey is its emphasis on understanding the attitude and behavioural aspect of consumers decision making.

After the survey, the researchers have segmented respondents into four groups based on their health care-seeking behaviour. The four personality groups were:

  • Trailblazer: Engaged in self-care, tech-savvy, willing to share data
  • Prospectors: Depending on the recommendation from friends and family, trust the providers and are tech savvy
  • Homesteaders: Cautious traditionalist, reserved
  • Bystanders: Unengaged, Reluctant to tech and resistant to change

It is interesting to see that in developed countries like the USA approximately 54% of the surveyed individual (40% Homesteaders + 14% Bystanders) require external motivation to utilize the modern tools of healthcare. Whereas 46% of the respondents (16% Trailblazers + 30% Prospectors) were self-motivated to use technology for their health benefits.

As per the same Deloitte study, it is not surprising to know that the millennial generation is more tech-savvy and open to utilizing technology to improve their health outcome. The challenge that appears the survey highlighted is driving the 54% of traditional consumers who need support in understanding and utilizing the healthcare technology.

As a healthcare provider, we have a responsibility to set the hospital operations and processes in such a way where we are able to attract and improve the experience of not so tech savvy subgroup also.

You will understand your patient base only when you are providing them with a platform to give voice to their thoughts.

The question now is that how can we improve patients experience at our hospitals or clinics. All these personality subgroups require different strategies to make them feel comfortable with the technology changes occurring in healthcare delivery.

As a healthcare provider, you must be thinking on how you can tweak your processes and operations to improve your patient's experience. It is a well-known fact that patients who are happy and satisfied with the care provided by the hospital turn out to be a loyal customer for the hospital. In short, a happy and satisfied patient is a brand ambassador for your hospital.

It is necessary to understand here that the individual decision-making process is complex and intriguing as they are guided by the emotions, behaviour, and context at the time of decision. Hence, understanding your patient's behaviour of choosing the healthcare facility is very important in designing the process improvement.

Let's see how a patient is deciding on visiting a particular doctor or a hospital. His decision to choose care facility might be guided by the urgent need of care or by other factors like his preference of doctors, how he wants to be treated, what he is looking for in terms of facility, how he is getting the appointment, he might be considering his friends or families suggestions or online reviews prior to making doctors appointment.

It is important to use personality-based patient segmentation to understand the patient's decision-making process. Seasoned Marketers frequently apply buyers persona to understand their consumer segment. Buyers persona is nothing but an imaginary ideal customer for your service.

Healthcare marketers can also build buyers persona’s after a short survey of their patients. These buyers personas will help you in attending to your patients need more efficiently.

With the changing time and evolution of patient-centric healthcare, hospital administrators should design a framework to better understand their patients base.

Two most important methods by which you can understand your patient's requirements is by collecting “patient feedback or reviews” or by conducting specific “patients surveys” for better understanding. It is important that you utilize modern computational technologies to analyze and understand your data collected from feedback and surveys. They not only provide you with insight into your operational success but will give your patient a platform to connect with you.

Understanding information given by the patients will help you in knowing your hospital's operations and processes from your patient's point of view.

Information given by the patient regarding the care provided plays a vital role in understanding the loopholes in the services provided. One such example is the recently published report in Health Affairs which highlights how patient and family reported narrative helped in understanding the causes in diagnostic errors. The underlying cause in this particular study ranges from ignoring patients knowledge, interpersonal behaviour to failing to communicate.

It is important as a healthcare provider that we start to listening and giving importance on what our patient has to say about the services provided.

Want to understand your patients by conducting surveys or with the use of patient feedback for your hospital? Contact Healtho5 today for MedEnagage Feedback - Real-time patient feedback solution.

We at Healtho5 are on a mission to solve patient engagement market in India and provide affordable easy to use solutions to the healthcare industry and patients.

Visit Healtho5 or call us @ +91-8047092031

About the Author: Dr Surabhi Bhati is Marketing Manager at Healtho5 Solutions. She has a medical degree with an MBA in Health Information Technology (HIT). She is passionate about healthcare innovation, writing, and online marketing.