Study: New Patient Surge Poses Major Challenge for Small Healthcare Businesses

One third of patients have switched healthcare providers because they were not able to be seen quickly

Weave, the all-in-one customer communications platform for small business, announced new research, The 2021 Healthcare Business Insights Report, illustrating how COVID-19 has changed business practices, technology needs, and patient expectations in an emerging economy.

Weave commissioned an independent study of over 1,400 small healthcare businesses and patients to learn how clinics are readjusting as practices react to COVID-19 and patients begin to return in larger numbers. The study found that many healthcare offices are not fully equipped with the right tools, staff, and technology to deliver great patient experiences as many patients return to in-office visits.

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While patients are showing signs of comfortability with returning to in-person visits, small healthcare businesses are grappling with the issue of not confidently being prepared to handle the influx. Compared to 6 months ago, clinics are reportedly experiencing “pent up demand” for healthcare services, but 66% of clinics surveyed don’t have the right office technology to handle this new demand. If small healthcare businesses don’t implement digital tools for communications, they risk losing existing patients as well as opportunities to engage with a new stream of care seekers. Digitized patient management features support patient retention, boost recruitment and create optimized workflows. Weave enables businesses to increase operational efficiency by providing front-office solutions and enhance the patient experience by providing frictionless, personalized and convenient touchpoints.

“Local dentists, doctors, veterinarians and optometrists are the backbone of the American economy,” said Roy Banks, CEO of Weave. “After one of the most trying years ever for these small businesses, new challenges are emerging. Their resilience and ingenuity in leveraging new technology and tools gives me no doubt they are ready to tackle these challenges as adeptly as they’ve navigated the pandemic. And we’re here to help.”

Some key data points from the study include:

  • 55% of clinics are currently short staffed
  • 51% of clinics aren’t sure they have the best tools to efficiently re-establish contact with patients who were reluctant to personally visit due to COVID-19
  • 72% of clinics see increasing patient appointments compared to six months ago
  • 54% of clinics could shorten the time it takes to see a patient if they had better scheduling tools
  • 40% of patients say current wait times to be seen by a healthcare provider are unacceptable
  • 70% of patients say they plan to schedule a non-emergency healthcare visit within the next 3 months

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