How Patients Are Searching for Doctors Online: Make It Easier for Them to Find You

September 27th, 2017 by Meaghan McCarthy

The digital world has infiltrated every facet of our lives, including our health care. Yet, many physicians don’t know how to best compete in this online marketplace. The sheer amount of information on the internet has empowered patients to choose physicians with discretion and change care providers if they don’t have a good experience.

By placing your clinic’s online presence in the same digital spaces that your potential patients occupy, you can increase the likelihood that they’ll choose you for their next appointment.

Help Them Find Their Diagnosis

Patients come into an appointment with a pretty robust working knowledge of all the possible rare tropical diseases they could have and a comprehensive list of all side effects of each potential treatment. How do they have all of this information? They Googled it.

While some people still go straight to their mom, most first enter their symptoms into a search engine or medical-focused portal like WebMD. They investigate all the possible causes of the symptoms, available treatment options, and further advice on what kind of care they should seek. By creating content that answers these questions, you can position yourself as an authority on the subject and build trust with the readers.

Claim Your Listings

Once people have a good idea of what could be wrong with them and what kind of medical care they need, they might not immediately make an appointment. Instead, they may return to search engines to do further research. They search facilities and doctors nearby, check to see which providers are in their insurance network, and read reviews. This chart from Gravitate shows some of the queries people are searching.

Having information about specializations, board certifications, awards, presented papers, and other selling points on your website is useful, but often patients are looking at third-party sites like Healthgrades for reviews from other patients. You only have control over the content of your website, but if you claim your listings on some of these sites, you can update them to have an up-to-date address and phone number, a link to your website, a list of current physicians and specialties, and even responses to negative reviews.

For help claiming your listings or other digital marketing services, contact Search Influence.

Put a Face to Your Practice

When you claim your listings, it’s a good idea to list all of your physicians and some of their basic information. You can also provide detailed bios of each doctor on your website. Yext conducted a study on how people search for physicians and found that 76.3% of patients search for individual providers, while only 29.9% research facilities.

Patients want to feel like a partner in their own healthcare, so finding a physician who is personable, knowledgeable, a good listener, and willing to go out of their way to help the patient is important; a strong doctor-patient relationship may even be favored over a cutting-edge facility if the patient is seeing a different doctor every time or feels more like a lab rat than a person.

By giving information about the people behind your practice, you’ll appear in front of a much wider audience and get conversions through your personality and expertise.

Take Advantage of Social Media

Americans, especially the younger generations, get the majority of their news and information from social media, for good or ill. But even older people use social media to share interesting articles and connect with people who share similar experiences and worldviews. By sharing important and relevant medical information, you can help educate patients and combat misinformation. 

If you consistently share quality content, potential patients will trust you and see you as an authority within your field. While they may not run off and make an appointment immediately, you will be in their minds already the next time they get sick. Social media is also a great way to continue to engage with patients you’ve seen before by responding to comments and questions. This way, they will feel like you still care for them as a person, even after their treatment has ended. Just be sure to maintain patient privacy.

By finding patients where they are on the internet and providing them with quality content that answers their questions, you can position yourself as a source for medical information and quality care. Contact our team for help building a digital marketing campaign suited to the unique needs of the medical industry.

 

Images:

Gravitate Graph