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Health care matchmaking: Helping patients find the right providers

by David Bradshaw

Published on 2/19/2020

Key takeaways

  • As consumers, more of us rely on our own research to find new health care providers.
  • Health systems need comprehensive digital strategies to meet our rising demands.
  • Convenience in health care includes online access and booking.
  • Cerner and Kyruus are collaborating to help enhance online search and scheduling experiences.

Online matchmaking isn’t only for people looking for a romantic partner. Mobile apps, review sites, social media and other digital tools put information at our fingertips. With the right research, we can find the best possible matches for practically anything – whether it’s a restaurant, a flight or even a medical appointment. Although the stakes are higher when it comes to finding a health care provider, more of us are taking the selection process into our own hands, which means health systems must adapt and build new strategies for engagement and retention.

In the recent edition of the Patient Access Journey Report, almost one-third of respondents said they found a primary care provider through their own research, a survey result that’s held steady for the past three years. The report also shows while participants rely on referrals for specialists, they still follow up with their own research to ensure a provider is truly a match.

Unsurprisingly, more than half of respondents used an online resource to find information about providers. To keep pace with this trend, health care organizations must establish themselves as trusted sources for providing the information about providers that we as consumers care about most.

Integrated digital experiences can improve the provider matching process

Matching to the right provider is a nuanced process. Overwhelmingly, most of us think about these factors when researching and choosing a provider:

  • Insurance network
  • Clinical expertise
  • Communication
  • Reputation – personal and organizational
  • Availability
  • Cost
  • Location

It’s frustrating when this data isn’t available in one place, and we must go to various sources to collect the information. There’s a better way, though. Health systems can take a page from brands like Amazon and Uber, which disrupted their industries to create simple, efficient digital search experiences that make it easy for people to make matches.

Convenience in health care includes both access and booking

Imagine finding a flight that fits your budget, timeline and loyalty program only to discover you couldn’t book the trip online. This scenario happens every day in health care when we can’t search online for an open appointment or to schedule a visit.

An experience like this one can have a negative impact on attracting and keeping patients. In fact, more than half of Millennial and Gen X survey respondents who prefer online booking said they’d switch providers for the option.

Our desire for a retail experience in health care will only continue to grow. By making websites and apps that provide “one-stop shops” for information-gathering and scheduling, health systems can position themselves to drive patient retention and care coordination.

Cerner is collaborating with Kyruus to offer Kyruus ProviderMatch® for Consumers, a solution that integrates with Cerner Millennium® to provide online search and scheduling for health system websites. The experience is designed to support patients – both new and existing – in finding and booking appointments in a unified and consistent brand experience.

In a world where we expect a convenient, digital solution to find everything from an Uber driver to a new home, matching patients faster and easier with the right health care providers is more important than ever. Health systems that make it simple for us to take charge of our own care will be on the path to better outcomes and more matches.

To learn more, visit the Cerner booth (2941) and the Kyruus booth (1885) March 9-13 at HIMSS2020 in Orlando, Florida.