72% of Patients View Online Reviews When Selecting a New Provider

Insurance acceptance, location, and online provider reviews are the most critical factors when selecting a new healthcare provider, according to new survey data sent to journalists.

The 2022 Healthcare Trends Report, compiled by YouGov on behalf of Reputation, included responses from over 1,000 consumers between ages 27 and 64.

The survey revealed that 72 percent of consumers read online ratings and reviews to consider booking with a new healthcare provider. Seventy-two percent also stated that they preferred choosing providers rated four out of five stars or higher. 

Among millennials, 55 percent preferred a provider because of their online reviews.

“For decades, patients had incredibly close relationships with their doctors, and for many, this bond spanned years and even generations,” Annie Hafner Haarmann, head of strategy and consulting, Healthcare and Life Sciences at Reputation, said in the press release. “The days of brand loyalty are gone, especially as the pandemic continues, and we continue to see rapid change in care delivery models as well as consumer expectations,”

“This is the same shift we have seen in other industries, where it’s become common to read reviews before buying a new product or review a restaurant’s menu before making a reservation. Healthcare consumers are using this information to make decisions about the services and providers that are the right fit for them,” Haarmann added.

Positive online reviews will attract new patients and boost patient loyalty; however, the number of reviews also impacts patients during decision-making. Eighty percent of respondents stated they deem providers with five or more reviews as trustworthy. When selecting care, 50 percent of participants read ten or more reviews, and 23 percent read 20 or more reviews. 

In addition, 65 percent of respondents indicated that it is essential for providers to respond publicly to patient reviews. The report stated that feedback could build brand affinity and drive patients to select a facility.

The analysts suggested that providers implement a review requesting program to encourage more online patient reviews. In fact, providers that implemented review requests via text or email experienced a five-fold rise in the volume of online reviews.

Most patients are getting this online review information from search engines, with Google becoming the most popular resource for consumers to find and choose a healthcare provider.

A Google Business Profile is just as important as a company website, with over 60 percent of organic searches resulting in a conversion right in the Google experience. Today’s patients are now looking to schedule an appointment, have a telehealth visit, or message a staff member within a provider’s Google Business Profile. 

According to the survey, brand loyalty is no longer a top factor for patients looking for a provider. Only 30 percent of patients stated that a hospital’s brand is a driving factor in their decision to pick a provider. In fact, only 19 percent of surveyed millennials stated they would select a provider based on their connection to a specific brand. 

“The erosion of brand loyalty together with the proliferation of information available to consumers contributes to a need for physicians and hospitals to be more transparent,” the report said. 

Patients are now looking for providers with transparent and up-to-date information. 

“Consumers want even more complete information about hospitals and physicians. Insurance accepted is important, but also information ranging from telehealth options to ratings/reviews should also be provided,” the report added. 

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