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Annual consumer survey reveals five-year shift in preference towards digitally-enabled patient access

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | October 13, 2021 Health IT
BOSTON – October 13, 2021 – Kyruus today announced findings from its fifth annual survey of 1,000 healthcare consumers examining their preferences for finding and scheduling care. The results, published in the 2021 Patient Access Journey Report, show that consumers increasingly utilize, and prefer, digital access channels – a consistent trend across the five years Kyruus has produced the report. The findings also illuminate the multitude of factors consumers consider when looking for a new provider or service, underscoring the need for healthcare delivery organizations and health plans to surface robust information online and expand online scheduling options.

When it comes to how consumers specifically research and evaluate their care options, for the fifth year in a row, the digital channel dominated with nearly 60% of all respondents researching providers online and 58% of applicable respondents researching other healthcare services or care sites (e.g., vaccines, testing, imaging, urgent care) online. Healthcare delivery organization websites (60% of online researchers) and general internet searches (53%) remain the top digital resources for provider research, but health plan websites are close behind (52%) and their role is growing, up more than 10 percentage points from 2020. The survey also showed the continued importance of online scheduling to today’s healthcare consumers, with preference for it increasing 15 percentage points from the 2017 survey.

Additional notable findings include:

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● Online research plays a substantial role in the search for services and care sites as well as providers: in response to a new survey topic focused on how they find services and care sites, 58% of consumers who sought these said they researched online; 60% conducted general searches, 58% visited healthcare delivery organization websites, and 41% consulted health plan websites.
● Cost, convenience, and clinical expertise are pivotal factors in provider selection: over the past five years, consumers have consistently prioritized factors related to cost, convenience, and clinical expertise when choosing new providers. This year, insurance acceptance (94% classifying extremely/very important), clinical expertise (87%), hospital or health system reputation (84%), and appointment availability (83%) again landed in the top four.
● More than half of insured consumers evaluate expected out-of-pocket costs: the 2021 survey posed new questions to explore cost factors in more detail, finding that, among those with insurance, 94% consider cost-related insights when choosing a provider or service; three-quarters seek confirmation that the provider/service is in-network and over half seek estimated out-of-pocket costs based on their specific plan, deductible, etc.

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