It may be surprising to note that many patients prefer certain healthcare providers. In fact, several researches have been conducted to understand this phenomenon. The findings of the researches reveal that there are a few factors that patients take into account for showing preference to certain providers.
The factors that have been found to influence patients are accessibility and availability of the providers, the size of the facilities and their type, the experience and quality of the staff and their availability, the costs at which the treatments are available and the socio-demographic nature of the physicians, surgeons and other medical professionals available in the facilities. Let us delve further deep into these factors.
Accessibility and availability of the providers
Most of the patients want to get their treatment from a facility that is near the place where they live because it is convenient for them.They need not commute to a distant place for consultations, having the tests conducted and for taking treatments. Of course, if the ailment is a major one and if the local facilities or providers do not offer the required treatments, they may have to go to the places where facilities or providers of such treatments are available. In short, accessibility and availability play a vital role in influencing the decision of the patients to prefer certain facilities.
Size and quality of the facilities
The size of the facilities patients are considering influences their decision. Studies reveal that patients have a tendency to believe that they will get very good treatment from larger facilities. They may be of the opinion that these large facilities will have all the advanced equipment, well managed and well equipped laboratories and competent physicians, surgeons and other professionals. But they are too naive to realize that the availability of advanced equipment, laboratories and medical professionals will not guarantee that they will get the best treatment. They seem to be oblivious of the fact that even smaller facilities can offer them high quality treatment and care.
For example, patients with hearing loss would definitely choose a health care provider that is reputed to have good facilties and equipments to conduct the ear audio test .
Similarly, the type of the facility also plays a crucial role in influencing the decision of the patients. A research conducted in the US reveals that most of the patients in that country opt for non-profit, private facilities and providers and that they do not like to get treated in commercial and public facilities. Ironically, UK patients seem to have a preference for public facilities. Regardless of these findings, it is quite evident that the type of the facilities does influence patients’ preferences.
Experience and expertise of the staff
Patients take into account the experience and expertise of the staff also while opting for a facility or provider. If a facility has qualified and competent physicians, surgeons and other medical professionals, patients will not hesitate even for a moment to choose the facility. But they check if these experienced and competent doctors, surgeons or other professionals will be available whenever they need them.
Though patients aim to have treatment of very high quality, they take into account the costs of the treatments also while choosing facilities or providers. Of course, there are people who are ready to spend any amount for getting the best treatment but not all patients will be financially well-off. So, those who do not like to squander their finances may certainly compare the costs of the facilities and providers and prefer the one that offers excellent healthcare at reasonable costs.
According to the findings of a study, patients consider the age as well as the gender of the physicians and surgeons in a facility also for making their choice. This may sound strange but this is true. Similarly, patients look at the way physicians and surgeons communicate with them.
To summarize, most of the patients consider all or some of the above factors and show their preference to certain specific healthcare providers.