The Digital Experience is the Key Driver of Growth and Patient Retention, According to Press Ganey’s 2021 Consumer Report

Dec 01, 2021

BOSTON, December 1, 2021 Press Ganey, the national leader in healthcare consumer and workforce engagement, today released its 2021 Consumer Experience Trends in Healthcare report. The publication includes key drivers behind current healthcare consumer behaviors and strategies for healthcare leaders to strengthen their digital footprint in 2022 and beyond.

“On a societal level, the pandemic forced us to rethink the digitalization of healthcare,” said Daniel Litwer, chief client officer, Press Ganey. “This new era reinforces the power that online perception is reality, and failure to invest in digital channels will push patients to seek care elsewhere.”  

Delivering a five-star experience is imperative as Press Ganey found online reviews are the most important factor in a patient’s decision to book an appointment with a provider.

But the digital experience doesn’t stop there. Patient acquisition and loyalty are increasingly dependent upon the healthcare digital experience, throughout every touchpoint along the patient journey. According to the analysis:

  • All generations are increasingly shopping online for healthcare. 44% of baby boomers and 60% of millennials and Gen Z prefer researching healthcare providers on their smartphone or tablet, representing a 27% and 13% increase from 2019, respectively.
  • Digital drives patient choice. In fact, they rely on digital resources more than twice as much as provider referrals when choosing a healthcare provider. On average, consumers use three different websites during their healthcare research process and five reviews before making a decision.   
  • Search engines are just the start. Among the top five websites used, consumers rely on a brand’s website, WebMD, Healthgrades and Facebook the most to research a provider.
  • Online reviews prevent referral leakage. 83% of patients go online to read reviews about a provider after they receive a referral. 84% would not see their referred provider if they had less than a four-star rating. 
  • Customer service is the new bedside manner. Assuming quality care is received, patients rate “customer service” (71%) and “communication” (64%) as more important than even “bedside manner” when it comes to rating a five-star experience.   
  • Telehealth isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. More than one-third of patients have used telehealth in the past year—a 38% increase since 2019—and usage surged among baby boomers during the same period.

“Word of mouth is online now, and adopting a digital-first mindset allows organizations to better monitor all interactions and encounters,” said Andrei Zimiles, senior vice president, consumer solutions, Press Ganey. “Healthcare simply cannot ignore the fact that patients are accustomed to convenience and time-saving factors from other industries. They use similar criteria to book a hotel or dinner reservation to find a doctor, and they’re accustomed to sharing their overall experience online, after the fact.”

As executives prepare for what’s ahead, one thing is clear: Organizations must continually evaluate their digital experience to successfully acquire and retain patients for years to come.

To review additional takeaways and digital optimization strategies, download a complete copy of Press Ganey’s Consumer Experience Trends in Healthcare report at PressGaney.com/CXTrends.

About Press Ganey’s 2021 Consumer Experience Trends in Healthcare Report
Press Ganey’s survey depicts findings from 1,140 U.S. adult respondents representing various demographics across multiple regions, income levels, genders and ages. Research was commissioned by Press Ganey and conducted through an independent third-party market research agency during September 2021. Findings were benchmarked against results of a 2019 survey to determine important shifts in trends.   

About Press Ganey
Press Ganey pioneered the health care performance improvement movement 35 years ago. Today Press Ganey offers an integrated suite of solutions that enable enterprise transformation across the patient journey. Delivered through a cutting-edge digital platform built on a foundation of data security, Press Ganey solutions address safety, clinical excellence, patient experience and workforce engagement. The company works with more than 41,000 health care facilities in its mission to reduce patient suffering and enhance caregiver resilience to improve the overall safety, quality and experience of care.

Media Contact:
Press Ganey
Evan Wofford (MP&F)
[email protected]
615.259.4000