It’s true to say that today’s digital era has infiltrated almost every part of our lives. It’s not just millennials who are online now, but its everyone including the older demographic. Everyone has access to connecting online – whether its via our phones, tablets, or laptops. The immense amount of information that can be found online has empowered patients to research providers and draw conclusions before even stepping into their facilities. Therefore, its crucial for healthcare providers to have a strong online presence.
Just like in retail, today’s consumers want to make sure that every online interaction is like “Amazon”. Not only have they have revolutionized the online shopping experience by providing convenience, trustworthy reviews, and comparison options – but, consumers now expect this type of interaction in healthcare. In fact, 60% of consumers expect their healthcare digital experience to mirror that of retail.
The patient-provider relationship and journey begins online. Therefore, providers must understand that the stronger their online presence the more influence they have among patients. Approximately 80% of patients have used the internet to make a healthcare-related search according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. So, not only are patients viewing your website, but they are viewing your entire online presence, which consists of directories, consumer sites, reviews, social media, etc. They even use Google Maps and Google My Business to search for providers in local areas. This is why a strategic and compelling strategy to develop your online presence is key.
Providers must remember that even if they have strong referrals, your online reputation matters. If you have a poor online presence this can mean losing patients to a competitor. 74% of patients will choose one provider over another when searching for healthcare online because of negative reviews. Providers must remember that we live in an era where “unhappy” patients have no problem sharing their thoughts with others. Therefore, its key that healthcare professionals understand that a patients first and last impression of them is derived from their online presence.
Throughout the years, the patient journey in healthcare has not always been positive. Many times, patients have had to call to find an in-network provider, wait to schedule an appointment, wait to receive a prescription, wait at the pharmacy and so on. Some of those things still happen today. However, if a provider has a strong presence online, it most likely means that they are also implementing digital tools. These digital tools make the patient-provider process more feasible – as they can allow patients to book appointments online via an app or email, or simply getting appointment reminders via email or text.
The future of healthcare is about teaching providers how to build a strong online presence to influence patients, and how to effectively create a more personal and efficient customer experience.
At MASC Medical, we strongly believe in having a strong online presence – it not only allows us to “connect” with our healthcare professionals and providers, but we keep them abreast of today’s trends in the healthcare industry. As a provider, how are you maintaining a strong digital presence?