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February 23, 2022
David Burda
Consumerism Outcomes

Are Your Patients Willing to Wait?

I’ve never been much for company-sponsored surveys. They’re all self-serving, and they reach the same inevitable conclusion: our customers need or want what we’re selling, and you should, too. 

Doximity’s second annual State of Telemedicine report is no different. Based on the company’s surveys of doctors and consumers, both love telemedicine and can’t get enough of it. Like the kind both can get through Doximity’s telemedicine platform. If you want, you can download the 23-page report here

Yet, if you look hard enough in many company-sponsored surveys, you can find some useful insights into what’s really going with buyers and sellers. That’s especially important in healthcare today as buyers—like patients and members—are becoming more consumer- and tech-savvy, and sellers—like providers and payers—are trying to keep up with changing customer behaviors and expectations.

In that regard, Doximity’s second annual State of Telemedicine report also is no different. Here are two things that I found curious in the answers of the company’s 2,000 adult consumer survey respondents:

  • 79 percent of the respondents said they preferred to be notified by text or by phone call that their telemedicine visit was about to start. They don’t like hanging out in a virtual waiting room. That didn’t really matter much if the patient had a chronic illness (81 percent) or didn’t have a chronic illness (78 percent).
  • Yet, 83 percent of the respondents said they’d wait up to three days to see their current doctor virtually rather than seeing a new doctor immediately. Again, it didn’t really matter much if the patient had a chronic illness (85 percent) or didn’t have a chronic illness 82 percent).

What this tells me is most consumers are displaying the same types of behaviors in healthcare as they display in other areas of their lives. They don’t like being put on hold. And they like to know who they’re buying things from. 

In-other-words, medical practices are no different than restaurants. People don’t like waiting for a table. But they’d wait for one at their favorite restaurant rather than getting seated right away at a new place and trying something different. 

Healthcare isn’t special anymore. The reverence is gone. 

The lesson for providers and payers is, don’t expect your patients and members to put up with you just because you’re you. You have to make an effort.  

To learn more about this topic, please read “Provider, Know Thy Customer on 4sighthealth.com.

Thanks for reading.

About the Author

David Burda

David Burda began covering healthcare in 1983 and hasn’t stopped since. Dave writes this monthly column “Burda on Healthcare,” contributes weekly blog posts, manages our weekly newsletter 4sight Friday, and hosts our weekly Roundup podcast. Dave believes that healthcare is a business like any other business, and customers — patients — are king. If you do what’s right for patients, good business results will follow.

Dave’s personnel experiences with the healthcare system both as a patient and family caregiver have shaped his point of view. It’s also been shaped by covering the industry for 40 years as a reporter and editor. He worked at Modern Healthcare for 25 years, the last 11 as editor.

Prior to Modern Healthcare, he did stints at the American Medical Record Association (now AHIMA) and the American Hospital Association. After Modern Healthcare, he wrote a monthly column for Twin Cities Business explaining healthcare trends to a business audience, and he developed and executed content marketing plans for leading healthcare corporations as the editorial director for healthcare strategies at MSP Communications.

When he’s not reading and writing about healthcare, Dave spends his time riding the trails of DuPage County, IL, on his bike, tending his vegetable garden and daydreaming about being a lobster fisherman in Maine. He lives in Wheaton, IL, with his lovely wife of 40 years and his three children, none of whom want to be journalists or lobster fishermen.

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