New Patient Access Survey Shows Consumers Are Increasingly Self-Empowered in Their Care Decisions and Place a Growing Premium on Convenience
Third Annual Survey from Kyruus Underscores the Need for Health Systems to Meet Patient Demand for Streamlined Access and Digitally-Enabled Experiences
BOSTON, MA—November 5, 2019—Kyruus today announced findings from its third annual survey of 1,000 healthcare consumers focused on their decision-making processes and preferences when it comes to determining where and from whom to obtain care. The findings, published in the 2019 Patient Access Journey Report, show that consumers are becoming increasingly self-empowered when evaluating their care options and that they continue to rank convenience and speed of access highly in their decisions. This year’s results also reveal a growing influence of organizational brand on consumer choices.
For the third year in a row, a majority of respondents performed online research when looking for a new provider. However, the 2019 findings show that consumer digital search behavior is evolving to rely more heavily on health system web properties. This year, among those who consulted the internet, 43% visited a health system website, up from 38% in 2018. Relatedly, the share of consumers starting their searches on these sites is also rising. Appointment booking preferences stayed consistent with prior years with phone remaining the preferred means across age groups, but losing ground to online booking.
Other notable findings include:
  • Independent research is still the top method for finding primary care providers (PCPs) and rising in specialist searches: The highest share of consumers found PCPs themselves (32%) and, while provider referrals remained the predominant source for specialists, that share declined from 45% to 40% alongside a comparable rise in self-research.
  • Insurance and clinical expertise remain consumers’ top criteria: For the third straight year, the top provider selection criteria were insurance accepted (91% rating extremely/very important) and clinical expertise (88%), followed by communication skills, hospital/health system reputation, and appointment availability.
  • Preference for self-service scheduling is growing: While consumers still prefer to book appointments by phone, there is rising interest in online booking, as one-third now prefer to schedule online, up from one-quarter in 2017 – a trend that is particularly pronounced among millennials and Gen Xers.
  • Consumers are looking beyond traditional care settings: Speed and convenience are key drivers of consumer decisions to seek care at alternative sites, such as urgent care and retail clinics (44% and 39% visited in the last year, respectively), and one-third of respondents would be likely to switch providers for a virtual visit option.
“Now in its third year, the trends emerging from the patient access survey underscore the growth of consumerism in healthcare and the need for health systems to deliver the convenience that today’s consumers demand,” said Graham Gardner, CEO of Kyruus. “While care options are multiplying, consumers appear to be placing a premium on health system brands that can streamline access across a coordinated experience.”
Kyruus conducted the survey of 1,000 consumers, spanning ages 18 to 65 or older, in partnership with Wakefield Research in July 2019. All respondents searched for a provider for themselves in the last two years and represent an equal mix of patients covered by private insurance and Medicare/Medicaid.
To learn more about the survey findings and download the 2019 Patient Access Journey Report, visit