New patient research highlights healthcare challenges and opportunities amid the pandemic

New patient research highlights healthcare challenges and opportunities amid the pandemic

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Service Management Group (SMG), a global customer, patient and employee experience management partner to more than 500 brands, has published new healthcare research about how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting patient behavior and what healthcare providers can do to meet evolving expectations.

Using BrandGeek®—SMG’s market intelligence tool and the fastest, most accurate source of behavioral data linked to consumer feedback in real time—SMG collected feedback from more than 5,200 respondents to understand how patient behavior and expectations have changed amid the pandemic.

1. Patients are putting off routine healthcare services – While 63 percent of respondents report being concerned about their health, COVID-19 is having a negative impact on routine care. Compared to before the pandemic, 37 percent of respondents indicate they are less likely to visit their healthcare provider for routine services. When cutting the data by location, it’s not surprising to see the regions most impacted by the virus generally have the highest portion of respondents who are less likely to visit for routine services.

2. Healthcare providers must pivot to meet patient priorities – When respondents were asked what would make them feel more comfortable when visiting their healthcare provider, the top four answers were: limiting the number of patients in the waiting room, providing hand sanitizer at entrances and exits, cleaning frequently touched surfaces and minimizing the wait time in the clinic. In addition, nearly half of respondents want providers and front desk staff to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). For respondents who indicate they are concerned about contracting the coronavirus when visiting a healthcare provider, these safety measures are twice as important.

3. Telehealth remains an emerging opportunity for healthcare providers – While awareness of telehealth is high (88 percent of respondents are aware), just 46 percent of respondents have used the service in the past year. What’s more, 3 in 4 respondents indicate they would consider using a telehealth service to interact with their healthcare provider, however, only 54 percent of respondents feel their provider has given them enough information about the services available. Respondents indicate the top three reasons they choose telehealth or would consider using it are convenience, avoiding others who may be sick and avoiding having to wait in a waiting room.

“As concerns about the coronavirus remain high, healthcare providers need to establish strategies that address patient concerns and reestablish trust,” said SMG Senior Vice President of Research Paul Tiedt. “From proactive communication to telehealth services, healthcare providers have an opportunity to bridge the gap with patients and reestablish routine care services.”

About Service Management Group

SMG inspires experiences that improve people’s lives. We are a catalyst for change, providing actionable patient and employee insights that boost loyalty and drive business outcomes. Our unique model puts a dual focus on platform technology and professional services—making it easier to collect, analyze, and share feedback and behavioral data across the enterprise. To learn more about our patient experience, employee experience, and brand research solutions, visit