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In this post we’ll be sharing the results of various studies done on the way patients seek out their medical practitioners, and how that relates directly to search. The numbers may surprise you.

First off, the big one. 94% of healthcare patients rely upon online reviews to evaluate providers, trusting that information to guide their initial searches. The main way to accrue reviews is to put your business on social channels and claim your Google Maps listing. Given Google’s prevalence in local searches, not leveraging that is hobbling your practice.

But how much stock do patients put in online reviews?

Quite a bit, studies show. For instance, Inc. reports that 84% of consumers in general trust reviews on par with personal recommendations these days, which is huge. In the past it seemed presumable that reviews were helpful, but that word of mouth recommendations reigned supreme. The distinction between the two is blurring more recently.

With younger Millennial patients, studies show that 42% are likely to make a switch in their medical providers in the next year or two (SolutionTech). A large number of Millennials report being unhappy with their current healthcare experience, which is a real opportunity to show up in the space with superior service.

Ok, so suppose someone is ready to make a switch and is beginning their search for a new medical office. How does that start?

LSA says that in almost all healthcare verticals (patient segments) 60% of patients perform a web search before scheduling an appointment.

That may be to browse different offices in the area and read about them, or to investigate a specific office they heard about elsewhere before calling.

In either case, being visible in those searches has a palpable impact on perception.

Interestingly, though, while much of the early phases of finding a doctor begin online, only 2.4% of appointments schedule are online. A whopping 88% of appointments are made via phone — even if the office’s website offers a way to do it electronically.

The takeaway there, says Sales Force, is that heads of household scheduling appointments for themselves or family members put a lot of value in talking to a human being when doing it.

That human element may indeed be a contributor to the 43% of Millennials we mentioned above looking for a switch — something they’re not getting with their current providers.

And that sense of personal care extends beyond making the appointment. 58% of Millennials, Generation Z, and Generation X patients agree that quick responsiveness to follow-up questions via email or phone outside appointments is very important to their overall satisfaction with their medical service.

The Takeaway for Medical Offices

Potential new patients are indecisive with their medical care, and a lot of what goes into them feeling confident about a new provider begins with web searches.

From reviews influencing confidence to leveraging your website to showcase the human element of your practice, this is an important domain to be in today.

Learn more about our marketing for medical practices here.