In the third blog of our four-part Patients Talk series, we look at what patients told us actually drove them to switch providers.

The hard fact is that patients are more demanding than ever before and they aren’t afraid to switch providers in order to get what they need. In our consumer behavior research, Realities in Consumer Healthcare Choice in America, we found that:

  • 14 percent of patients were actively considering switching.
  • 30 percent said they have switched in the past.
  • 21 percent have gone outside their preferred provider for special treatment and 32 percent would consider it for the future.

Although healthcare costs created anxiety among our respondents it was a secondary driver for switching. One in five switched providers because of a poor service experience. Additional primary drivers for changing providers included declining confidence, lack of respect and lack of compassion. Reasons for changing outside of a provider’s control included a change in insurance coverage, a location change and a physician who retired or moved.

Here’s what patients told us.

  1. Bad service
  • Bad experience at previous provider, they were just too big, which affected quality of care.
  • Poor office staff.
  • The receptionist was so rude and loud.
  • Wasn’t receiving care after five hours of waiting.
  1. Declining confidence
  • Felt I would get better results at a different location.
  • Incompetent/uninformed doctor/poor care.
  • Substandard care.
  • Completely unsatisfied with primary care physician. Poor facilities, outdated equipment, poor diagnosis.
  1. Lack of respect
  • Did not feel respected as a person or a patient.
  • I did not feel they were taking my health concerns seriously.
  1. Lack of compassion/not listening
  • Doctor didn’t pay attention to me.
  • Looking for a doctor who cares about my well-being.
  • Not enough time spent with the physician, felt rushed.
  • Level of care was very poor and the staff was horrible—lacked compassion and skill.
  • Doctor was too aggressive.

The takeaway from this blog and our previous two blogs is that positioning your hospital or health system as “the logical choice” to those who are actively considering switching takes the internal resolve to promise as close to a top-notch experience at your facility as humanly possible. It also takes the determination to deliver on that promise and then voice that promise externally.

In our next blog you’ll hear what a great job you’re doing when patients share some of the most profoundly positive healthcare experiences they have had.

If you missed our first Patients Talk blog, What 556 people told us they wanted their healthcare provider to know about them, you can read it here.

Read our second Patients Talk blog, 1,016 people told us what determined whether or not they were satisfied with their healthcare provider.