Increasingly, primary care = market share
As referral networks tighten, primary care is increasingly important for winning and protecting population share. With the rise of retail and virtual providers, urgent episodic care (on-demand care) represents one of the best opportunities for attracting new patients.
Because many patients wait until they are sick before choosing a clinic, we conducted a survey to find out what’s most important to them when seeking care for an illness like the flu. Where a consumer receives care for her sore throat will likely influence where she receives her mammogram and knee arthroscopy. Here’s what we found.
Download the insights
About the survey
Unlike many other surveys, which allow respondents to rate all items
as “important,” our MaxDiff conjoint methodology asked participants to
make trade-offs among 56 different clinic attributes, providing insight
into the relative importance of each attribute.
The survey asked consumers to assume they had the flu and wanted to
receive care, but their usual provider was not available. Respondents
were shown multiple sets of five clinic attributes. Within each set of
five, they were asked to choose the one “most appealing” and the one
“least appealing” to them. Each attribute was presented multiple times,
resulting in a ranked list of utility scores indicating the relative value of
Why the flu? Learn more in the brief.
Ten insights we learned from consumers
1. Convenience is king
Prioritize immediate access. Six out of the top 10 attributes were related to
access and convenience.
2. Same-day appointments trump walk-in and wait
Consumers ranked “walking in without an appointment and
being seen within 30 minutes” first among 56 attributes, but “walking in and
being seen in one hour” ranked 39th.
3. Evening or weekends? Depends on age.
24/7 access ranked fifth among all 56
attributes. But staffing a clinic around the
clock is rarely feasible.
So when should your clinic be open?
Preferences for after-hours versus
weekend access differed across age
cohorts, with preference for weekend
access growing with age.
4. Clinic near errands or work? They'd rather meet you online.
Unsurprisingly, respondents preferred a clinic near home over a clinic
near errands or work. What was surprising—they also preferred email
visits over a clinic near errands or work.
5. A one-stop shop is worth the drive
When choosing between a clinic with lab, imaging, and prescriptions on
premises and a clinic located five minutes from their home, the majority of
consumers preferred having ancillary services onsite.
6. Consumers prioritize convenience over credentials—and continuity
Consumers ranked six access and convenience attributes over being
treated by a physician, and four access and convenience attributes over
being treated by the same provider each time they visit the clinic.
7. High-tech beats high-quality
Even when making a decision on where to go for less acute illnesses like the
flu, consumers value the availability of cutting-edge technology.
71% of respondents prefer a clinic with cutting-edge
technology to one with quality scores in the top 10% for their area.
8. Don't rely on your brand
Respondents ranked attributes related to reputation unexpectedly low. The
highest ranking reputation attribute, “a clinic affiliated with the best hospital
in the area,” ranked 19th, and a clinic affiliated with a university hospital
ranked 34th. In other words, consumers assigned more value to 18 and 33
other attributes, respectively.
9. Talk about money—consumers will trade access for bill info
There was little that consumers preferred less than not knowing how
much the visit would cost until receiving the bill a few weeks later: the
attribute ranked 55 out of a total of 56.
Related: Achieve price transparency with our new checklist
10. Know your target population—particularly their age
When defining value, younger cohorts (18 to 49) preferred eliminating
out-of-pocket charges, while 50- to 64-year-olds rated convenience
factors—specifically walk-in availability, short wait times, and having
ancillaries on-site—as more important than a free visit.
Millennials to Medicare: How primary care preferences vary by age