Google did a huge survey and related study recently titled The Digital Journey to Wellness, in which they so a good job describing the changing role of the patient in the medical treatment process. In their view, and we agree, the patient has gone from being simply the subject of medical care to being a partner in the process. The biggest change has been the amount of research that the patient is doing, due in large part to the accessibility of relevant information. Often that information is found online.
As spelled out in the infographic below, hospital selection is key area in which both a wealth of information exists and patients can and do take an active role in the process. Not surprisingly, the internet play a large part in that research.
- 61% of prospective hospital patients visit the website of 2 or more hospitals before booking a procedure
- 20% of client appointments are booked via the web or an app
When researching hospital options online, over 80% of survey respondents have concerns or questions in the following areas:
- Reputation of facility
- Insurance issues, acceptance
- Whether the facility is recommended by prominent physicians
- Whether the facility uses the latest technology or procedures
Thanks to the boom in smartphones and tablets, mobile is becoming increasingly important. The percentage of respondents who have researched a hospital while:
- At work – 27%
- While visiting friends/family – 23%
- While traveling – 20%
- While at the doctor’s office – 16%
If you aren’t using the internet to seek out healthcare answers, you’re probably in the minority. Search (Google is your friend) plays a vital role before and after booking an appointment. Here’s what patients search for:
- General information – 57%
- Answers to specific questions – 29%
- Comparing two or more facilities – 28%
- Looking for a new hospital or practitioner – 21%
The message is clear for both healthcare customers are providers: The importance of online information in influencing healthcare decisions, including choice of hospital, is here to stay.
If you’re a patient, or planning to have a procedure done, there is a wealth of information online to ensure that you are an educated consumer. Don’t miss out on an easy opportunity to make your experience better.
If you manage a hospital or other healthcare facility, the pressure is on to make sure that your online properties – your website and social media accounts – have the information that your future patients are looking for. If you miss the mark, chances are good that patents will choose another facility.