AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As corporate behemoths like UnitedHealth Group, CVS, and Amazon have expanded their healthcare reach through acquisitions of independent practices and hybrid telemedicine models, independent providers find themselves grappling with intensified competition. Although large providers offer rapid and streamlined services, independent practices hold a trust advantage, with 60% of patients expressing greater confidence in them.
Software Advice’s new survey of 1,000 patients in the U.S. indicates that the quick care provided by corporate practices (such as walk-in pharmacy clinics and urgent care facilities) stand out as their major advantage. The ability to secure appointments swiftly (66%), faster examinations (42%), and shorter wait times (32%) also rank as top differentiators.
This proliferation of corporate providers underscores the shifting industry dynamics, as patients turn to digital platforms for their healthcare needs. Patients are most familiar with CVS’s MinuteClinic (57%), Walgreens Healthcare Clinic (46%), and Walmart Health (33%). Patients’ familiarity levels with telemedicine giants include SmileDirectClub (44%), BetterHelp (39%), Hims & Hers (26%), and Amazon’s One Medical (14%).
“With the shrinking number of primary care providers and independently owned healthcare practices, those remaining have to fight to stay afloat, and doing so relies on understanding exactly what these large healthcare organizations are offering that they aren’t,” says Lisa Morris, associate principal healthcare analyst at Software Advice.
To compete with corporate healthcare entities, independent practices must identify patient preferences and then promote the unique benefits their practice offers. Patients primarily turn to independent practices due to a stronger personal relationship (78%), higher quality of care (57%), and in-person availability (46%).
Providers can speed up wait times and digital communication by implementing the latest technologies. They should enhance the patient experience with updated scheduling software and telemedicine offerings. By leveraging technology, practices can harness their strengths in patient trust and personal connection to gain an edge on corporate practices.
Beyond integrating modern tools, healthcare practices have the opportunity to sway 54% of patients with no preference between independent or corporate practices by applying smart marketing strategies that highlight the numerous benefits independent practices provide. Once practices identify their unique offerings, they should target local communities through social media ads, online reviews, local newspapers, and community events.
“By expediting care delivery and marketing themselves more clearly as independent practices, these healthcare providers can convince patients that it's better to establish relationships with them than to seek one-off care from their competitors,” says Lisa.
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