Specialized Healthcare Services Insights

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Specialized Healthcare Services Insights

Research shows that when choosing a healthcare provider, regardless of whether the level of care is primary care or specialized, consumers in the country find health insurance matters, location, cost, and reputation the most important considerations. They go to specialized healthcare providers mostly because of referrals from primary care physicians and complaints relating to vision, gynecological, gastrointestinal, orthopedic, dermatological, or cardiovascular problems. The number of people who go to specialized healthcare providers could not be reliably triangulated, but visits to medical specialists in the country and in Miami can be estimated at 241.122 million and 347,063, respectively.

CONSIDERATIONS WHEN SELECTING A SPECIALIZED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER

  • Deloitte's survey indicates that when looking for a new doctor, medical specialist or not, adults in the United States are mostly influenced by the following factors: health insurance-related matters (50%), convenient location (46%), reputation (39%), personality or bedside manner (34%). Less important factors include convenience and accessibility, price, affiliation with local hospitals, family or friend's recommendation, doctor's medical training, quality ratings, and use of technology.
  • Accenture's survey shows that when deciding where to seek primary care or specialized treatment, on the other hand, healthcare consumers in the United States give weight to the following factors: accepts insurance (39%), low cost (24%), convenient location (23%), reputation (16%), healthcare provider's recommendations (13%), short wait times when booking an appointment (10%), short wait times on actual visit (10%), and family or friend's recommendations (7%).
  • Recommendations and referrals, however, are what influence healthcare decision-making the most, according to The Beryl Institute. The Beryl Institute's survey, whose respondents were mostly from the United States, revealed that when making healthcare choices, for example, choosing a specialist or a specialized hospital, most healthcare consumers place a premium on recommendations of friends or family and referrals from healthcare providers.
  • Healthcare consumers, according to The Beryl Institute, find the following factors important in their decision-making: recommendations of friends or family (72%), referrals from healthcare providers (70%), formal published rankings (28%), awards or designations (28%), online ratings via third-party sites (27%), information collected through social media (23%), and online ratings via company website (22%).
  • Patient experience appears to be an important consideration as well. Ninety-one percent of healthcare consumers in the country find patient experience a somewhat or extremely significant criterion. Only 1% find patient experience not important at all.
  • Online reviews appear to matter too. When searching for a physician, whether a primary care physician or a specialist, 39% of adults in the United States choose a physician based on a review online. And when searching for a hospital, specialized or not, 35% of adults in the country choose a hospital based on a review online.
  • Digital capabilities appear to be a consideration as well in the selection of a specialized healthcare provider. Healthcare consumers in the United States desire a reliable and straightforward digital experience for routine transactions, including making appointments with the doctor and accessing test results. Eighty-one percent of healthcare consumers in the country feel that the digital task of searching for a specialist still has room for improvement.

REASONS FOR VISITING A SPECIALIZED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER

  • A common reason people in the United States go to specialized healthcare providers is that they were referred to a specialist by a primary care physician. Around a third of people under 65 who visit a primary care physician are referred to a specialist. The patient complaints that most commonly result in referrals to specialists relate to vision (21%), gynecological problems (18%), gastrointestinal problems (18%), orthopedic problems (16%), dermatological problems (15%), and cardiovascular problems (15%).
  • Self-referrals to specialists could be a reason as well, as they are likely among people who do not see their primary care physician on a regular basis.
  • Another reason for specialty care visits is "routine follow-up care of stable problems."

NUMBER OF VISITS TO SPECIALIZED HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS

  • In 2016, the number of visits to medical specialists in the United States was 234.521 million, while the number of visits to medical specialists per 100 persons was 73.7. New patient visits accounted for 19.5% of visits to medical specialists, while established patient visits accounted for 80.5%.
  • In 2016, the number of visits to surgical specialists in the United States was 167.241 million, while the number of visits to surgical specialists per 100 persons was 52.6. New patient visits accounted for 25.8% of visits to surgical specialists, while established patient visits accounted for 74.2%.
  • The number of people who visited a medical specialist could not be reliably determined, however, as these aforementioned figures only suggest that the country population in 2016 was around 318 million. Visits do not equate to visitors, as it is possible that a person visited a medical specialist more than once.
  • In 2018, the country population was around 327,167,434, while the Miami population was around 470,914. These population figures, along with the rates of 73.7 visits to medical specialists per 100 persons and 52.6 visits to surgical specialists per 100 persons, suggest that, in 2018, there were around 347,063 visits to medical specialists and around 247,700 visits to surgical specialists in Miami. They also suggest that, in that same year, there were around 241.122 million visits to medical specialists and around 172.090 million visits to surgical specialists in the country.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

In finding the primary considerations, reasons, and motivations of people seeking specialized care, we looked for surveys and studies of patients or healthcare consumers and their behavior in regard to specialized care. We were able to pick up a few insights specific to specialized care, but the information was not as robust as we had hoped. Information on consumer behavior as it relates to specialized care was only mentioned in passing. To find additional information, we changed tactics and checked whether any differences in consumer behavior between primary care and specialized care have been documented. We were unable to find any, so we broadened our search to healthcare choices in general. For example, we looked into people's considerations when they are in the process of choosing a hospital or a physician.

As for the number of people going to specialized healthcare centers, we first checked if the number is readily available in the public domain by conducting a press search and reviewing government and organizational reports. We soon found, however, that it is not readily available. As a result, we turned our attention to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey which provides information on the number of visits to medical and surgical specialists in the United States. The survey's latest data release, which took place in May 2019, was for the year 2016. While we could not triangulate the number of visitors using this information, we were able to estimate the current number of visits to medical specialists. Below were our computations.

73.7 visits to medical specialists per 100 persons = 0.737 visits to medical specialists per person
52.6 visits to medical specialists per 100 persons = 0.526 visits to medical specialists per person

United States
2016: 234,521,000 visits / 0.737 visits to medical specialists per person = 318,210,312 persons
2016: 167,241,000 visits / 0.526 visits to medical specialists per person = 317,948,669 persons
2018: 327,167,434 persons x 0.737 visits to medical specialists per person = 241.122 million visits to medical specialists
2018: 327,167,434 persons x 0.526 visits to medical specialists per person = 172.090 million visits to surgical specialists

Miami:
2018: 470,914 persons x 0.737 visits to medical specialists per person = 347,063 visits to medical specialists
2018: 470,914 persons x 0.526 visits to medical specialists per person = 247,700 visits to surgical specialists


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