2020 and 2021 have been tough on all of us. People have been personally affected by health problems, isolation, job loss and uncertainty. During this time, Healthgrades sought to empower patients with confidence and hope by giving patients the ability to find the right care. To do so, especially during a pandemic, Healthgrades created the COVID-19 Patient Confidence Study to measure trends in consumer attitudes and behaviors towards healthcare.
Since March 27th, 2020, Healthgrades has been tracking consumer confidence towards essential and non-essential activities, like visiting a doctor. As the weeks went by and the situation fluctuated, this study has shown the ups and downs of consumer confidence and its impact on consumer behavior.
The study is conducted once per week and includes a random sample of N=200 Americans across multiple geographies, genders, and age ranges.
Below are the top insights from the study, see full study here:
- Consumer comfort with everyday and medical related activities is at an all-time high since the onset of COVID-19, overall comfort has more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic but has contractions when variants and case rates increase. (Oct. ‘21 70% comfortable vs. April ‘20 31% comfortable).
- Most patients have not changed the frequency that they visit their health care providers, ~70% of overall respondents report that the frequency of their HCP visits have either increased or remained the same since the pandemic began, up from a baseline of 45% in April 2020.
- The majority of consumers are very comfortable doing medical related activities with a 76% comfort index. 83% are comfortable seeing their PCP vs. 41% in April 2020. 64% are comfortable visiting a hospital for a procedure vs. 43% comfortable in June 2020. This trend has remained steady since March of 2021.
- Telehealth is here to stay. In addition to people remaining comfortable seeing their doctor, the pandemic has made it easier for people to see their doctors with the adoption of Telehealth. 41% of patients participated in a telehealth appointment in the past three months. This amount has nearly doubled since the onset of the pandemic.
- Quality of care is very important to patients. Patients regard quality of care above travel time to a hospital, insurance coverage, expertise in a specific condition, or how well a hospital performs a procedure compared to other hospitals in the area.
Since a vaccine has been made available to Americans, the survey found that the majority (70%) of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine which is slightly below (77.7%) what the CDC reports. Encouragingly, most people are comfortable interacting with their co-workers and customers as 62% of respondents claim to be comfortable. Now when people use precautions, such as wearing a face mask, comfort rises all the way to 82%.
Despite the amount of people receiving the vaccine, people are not as confident that the pandemic will end as when the vaccines first became available. They also are still very concerned that COVID-19 will affect their family with 62% of people concerned that coronavirus will impact the health of their family.
“While we all hoped that tracking confidence during the pandemic would be long behind us, the data has helped inform consumer sentiment and how best to reach healthcare consumers during this unprecedented time,” stated John Mangano, Senior Vice President of Business Intelligence, Healthgrades and co-creator of the Healthgrades Patient Confidence Study.
While COVID-19 continues to be present and in our daily lives, most people can say that they can express immense gratitude and praise to our nation’s healthcare workers who truly are heroes. The Patient Confidence study found that almost 90% of respondents agree that “I consider front-line healthcare workers to be “heroes.”
Data from September 30, 2021