Consumers aren’t quite completely digital when it comes to finding a new doctor and booking an appointment—even though 59% of consumers begin the research process online.
A new survey of 1,000 consumers from Kyruus Inc., a Boston developer of physician location and appointment technology, finds that the majority of consumers consult the internet in the search for a new provider, yet most still prefer to schedule appointments by phone. In addition, consumers take a wide variety of factors into account when considering potential providers.
For example, Consumers consider “insurance accepted” the most important factor when selecting a provider, with 75% of respondents rating it as extremely important. The physician’s background and clinical expertise was the second key factor cited by 53% of survey takers.
Four of five consumers also cite appointment availability as a key factor when selecting a provider and over 60% of consumers have searched for an alternative provider to obtain an earlier appointment. In addition more than 40% of consumers say they trust online reviews “completely” or” ‘very much,” according to the survey.
Convenience is also a big driver for millennials looking for a doctor. 79% of millennials have continued their provider searches to look for an earlier appointment and two out of five prefer to book online, according to the Kyruus survey.
“Today’s healthcare consumers have come to expect the same informative and action-oriented online experiences in healthcare that they find in other industries,” says Kyruus CEO Graham Gardner.
Other survey findings include:
- 53% of consumers use a general web search to begin the process of finding a new doctor, while 34% use locater tools from a health insurance company and 32% rely on a referral from a family member or friend.
- Whether that doctor takes their insurance is the top feature 61% of consumers want to find on a hospital or health insurer website, followed by 56% that want to search by healthcare provider specialty and view patient reviews and testimonials. Viewing healthcare provider scores online is the next most important feature, cited by 53% of consumers.
- “Accepts my insurance” is again the most important criteria for 75% of consumers when actually selecting a new physician followed by clinical expertise in the patient’s condition, which 53% consider important, while 44% strongly consider appointment availability.
- Millennials are far more trusting of patient ratings and reviews than Baby Boomers, as 28% of millennials say they trust them compared with just 7% of older consumers.
- While only 25% of 1,000 respondents preferred booking online directly through the hospital or health system website, or through a third-party application or website, 40% of millennials prefer this method. For consumers who prefer booking online, convenience is the most important reason, cited by 69% of respondents.
- Self-service capabilities and convenience are becoming increasingly important to healthcare consumers. 50% of respondents who prefer to book online say they would switch providers for the ability to do so. 63% of millennials and 64% of Generation X consumers who prefer to book online indicated they would switch providers for this convenience.
“Capturing their (consumers’) attention requires health systems to take a close look at their ‘digital front doors’ at both how consumers find their websites and what they experience once there,” Gardner says.
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