A Surprising Trend in Patient Care Patterns
By Dave Sellers
We recently tested a theory as to whether or not distance to a physician referral affects how quickly a patient seeks care.* All other factors being equal, we hypothesized that patients would not act as quickly in scheduling a physician visit if that physician is far away. Conversely, if the doctor is close by, we assumed patients would be more likely to book their appointment sooner.
In a previous post, we discussed a similar idea. Are patients more likely to go to the hospital closest to them when in need of care? In that case, tif all other factors are equal, then the answer was yes. But rarely are all other factors equal. Factors such as a hospital's CMI, their community perception, and relative patient satisfaction rates all come into play and can often be more important than proximity.
With this new theory, we were still considering the role of distance, but this time, we wanted to know how it would affect a patient’s responsiveness when needing to schedule time with a referred physician. Our findings surprised us.