A recent survey conducted by OnePoll and Ribbon Health, a provider data management platform, has revealed a worrying lack of trust among consumers towards their health plans. Of the 1,000 Americans surveyed, 62% confessed to not trusting their health plan to offer reliable care information, and only 45% felt their health plan was clear with regard to pricing and costs.
The survey revealed that a major factor in patients’ negative healthcare experiences is their difficulty in accessing accurate data. As many as one-third of survey respondents reported having an unpleasant experience due to inaccurate provider information on their health plan’s website. Moreover, more than half of the listings had at least one mistake. According to Nate Maslak, CEO and co-founder of Ribbon, “For decades, people have accepted inconveniences like not knowing how much their healthcare bill will cost or a lack of basic information about the provider treating them.” He went on to explain that “care seekers are just like consumers in any other industry, and they deserve insight into metrics like cost, reviews, quality ratings and the many other important factors we consider when making a big purchase.” Maslak concluded that “improved, transparent data provides an opportunity to connect people with providers and health plans they can trust.” Clearly, Americans are in need of better data in order to make informed decisions about their healthcare.
More than half of those surveyed (53%) believe that having a health plan that caters to their needs is the most important factor in having a positive experience with healthcare, surpassing other factors such as having a doctor with a pleasant demeanor, feeling better quickly, and securing an appointment promptly. Nevertheless, a trust barrier still exists. In addition, only 28% of surveyed consumers said they were very likely to use their health plan’s website to search for a provider, with 30% giving the experience the highest possible satisfaction score of five. The study further revealed that 66% of respondents would have more trust in their health plans if the provider information they offer online was more accurate.
The report also notes that insurers can enhance their online access to data by conducting internal audits and/or external surveys to evaluate the quality and accuracy of the data. Furthermore, they should re-examine the data sources and intake processes, determine whether manual interventions or outsourcing/automating is necessary and finally, consider the bandwidth of the internal team and decide which aspects of the process could be outsourced or automated.