What Patients Are Searching Online And How To Make Your Practice ‘Digital Ready’?
Searching health-related information has ranked the third most popular activity online after email and search engine browsing. Even shopping online and using the internet for the latest news rank after it. Millions of internet users accessed healthcare data online. It is an immense response to the availability of healthcare information online.
SybridMD data analytics delved deep into what patients are searching for online and why the trend is growing. Either it is raised awareness resulting out of all that digital transformation that took place in the last few years or simply it is easier now to access information on smart devices. Whatever the reasons may be, information seekers are not just interested in Wikis of the disease or its treatment rather they are interested in choosing the right physician and top rank hospital. 8 out of 10 online health inquiries start at a search engine. 83% of adult internet users search online for health information. Pew research revealed what patients were searching for online.
- 66% of health consumers have searched for information about a specific disease.
- 55% have searched for information about a certain medical treatment or procedure.
- 47% have searched online for information about doctors or other health professionals.
- 45% have searched online for information about prescription.
- 35% have searched online for information about alternative treatments or medicines.
- 20% have searched online for information about experimental treatments or medicines.
Healthcare consumers’ newly acquired efficacy to take important decisions about their health and choosing a quality hospital, has placed them in an active position. Imparting them with more choices, CMS is also publishing patient safety ratings for U.S. hospitals.
Patients are demanding quality clinical measures to follow that may ensure the best possible treatment of their ailments. They want to interact more with their doctor using the latest communication technologies. They expect full access to their health records and reports through the internet. They wish to involve in decision making about prescription and treatment plan. They are searching for reviews and feedback about a provider and are making their decision based on that feedback.
Quality of care is the biggest concern of individuals searching for health information online. Five-star rated hospitals are in hot demand. People are willing to pay more if the provider ranks high. Patients are more concerned about rating and patient safety measures of the hospitals.
In addition to the current number of patients accessing health information online, millions of more users are likely to join the trend in the coming years. Health IT is empowering patients to make better decisions and at the same time remaining well informed about their health.
How Medical Providers Can be ‘Digital Ready’
More than ever now there is a need to stay connected through online services, social media networks, and social happenings. Today, a provider cannot survive in isolation even though they may offer good, quality services to their clients.
The demand for staying connected has increased recently, mostly because patients want their care process to continue while staying in touch with their doctor. Patients want to access their health information and records on smart devices (cell phones, tablets, PCs, etc.). They like to use online forums and community pages of their interest for the best advice, reviews, recommendations, referrals, and recent updates.
By increasing community presence and visibility, a provider can gain an outstanding boost in the turnover. Here are a few tips on how getting connected with other practices in the vicinity could be beneficial for a provider.
Online Professional Communities of Physicians: Over the past few years, several professional community platforms have gained popularity. These platforms are not only a good source of information on recent health care updates; they also provide professional connections between physician practices. Among these communities, The American Medical Association (AMA) has been the oldest and largest association of physicians. Sermo and QuantiaMD are equally useful online communities for physicians to connect, share expert opinions while professionally growing and extending their outreach.
Social Media Presence: Amid busy daily schedules, interaction on social media networks can provide a strong foundation to help build a community environment. Communicating through patient-preferred tools and social networks helps to create a flexible environment where no one is bound to the limitations of the exam room. Patients can ask questions anytime and physicians can answer at their leisure. It also increases the frequency of interactions with colleagues and contacts with other practice groups. Physicians, who use social media professionally, are more effectively connected with their patients and physician communities.
Over the years, SybridMD has developed healthcare solutions which are supporting physician practices nationwide. We can help you establish a noticeable online presence which would help in increasing the customer base.