Consumers overall are using online physician ratings and social media more for selecting providers and sharing healthcare information. But even with the advent of digital portals and online appointment scheduling, consumers—especially millennials—are frustrated with high waits to see a doctor, says a new study of 1,000 consumers from Binary Fountain, a developer of online reputation management tools and services for healthcare.
70% of consumers say online ratings and reviews have influenced their decision when choosing a doctor. In particular, 95% of consumers find web ratings and reviews to be somewhat to very reliable. Two younger consumer groups—age 18-24 and age 25-34—rated the quality of ratings and reviews slightly higher at 97%.
Consumers are aren’t just taking the word of their doctor when getting a referral. The survey revealed that 41% of consumers will seek out online reviews and ratings for a doctor for a second opinion even though their primary care physician already has made a referral. “More and more, consumers are seeking online healthcare advice and relying on unfiltered, transparent patient feedback to determine whether a healthcare practitioner or practice is worth a visit,” the survey says.
In the past, many consumers didn’t share their healthcare results and experiences in a very public way, but that trend appears to be shifting. The Binary Fountain survey found that 51% of patients have shared their personal healthcare experiences via social media, online ratings and review sites, with 70% of millennials have shared their physician or hospital experiences online.
The survey finds that Facebook is the most used channel to share healthcare experiences for ages 25-54. In 2017, survey respondents between the ages of 18-24 selected Twitter as their most used channel to share healthcare experiences, says Binary Fountain. “Millennial consumers between the ages of 18-34 are the most active over social media and are the most inclined to share their healthcare experiences online,” the survey says.
Other survey findings include:
- 43% of consumers across all age groups selected “wait time” as the most frustrating part of visiting the doctor.
- On average, young millennials (ages of 18-24) are the most likely to be frustrated with “having to schedule an appointment” than any other age group.
“As patients are becoming more vocal about their healthcare experiences, healthcare organizations need to play a more active role in compiling, reviewing and responding to patient feedback, if they want to compete in today’s marketplace,” says Binary Fountain senior vice president of marketing Aaron Clifford.
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