People choose which hospitals to go to, whether they’re looking for the closest emergency room, considering where to have elective surgery completed, or seeking out a medical tourism opportunity. For some, they always choose “their” hospital once they’ve been to your facility once. Others choose afresh each time they need to visit a hospital. And many patients end up in a hospital so rarely that they don’t know what their options are.
So how do your patients find your hospital?
Certainly, many patients go to the hospital their doctor tells them to go to. But a study conducted by Google and Compete, Inc. found that 84% of people choosing a hospital use both online and offline information to make that decision. Here are the sources people used in their decision process:
- 77% use online search
- 76% visit a hospital website
- 49% get hospital information at their physician’s office
- 34% ask their friends and family
- Fewer than 1/3 use traditional media, with only 18% using newspapers
Those who visit hospital websites are three times more likely to get there by searching (using Google or another search engine) than by using other methods, like typing in a web address or clicking through social media. Most searchers start by looking for symptoms or conditions — the normal path to purchase for medical consumers.
That means that people looking for a hospital don’t start off with “hospital near me” or “St. John’s Hospital.” They start with “knee replacement surgery” or “back pain.” Do you have content at your website that will show up for these searches?
What makes patients choose your hospital?
Google’s study found that just a handful of factors made the difference for hospital users:
- Reputation of facility: 94%
- Accepts healthcare plan: 90%
- Recommended by physician: 86%
- Uses latest technology: 85%
- Recommended by friends and family: 51%
Searchers do quite a bit of research before they make up their minds. Fewer than 40% visited a single hospital website before deciding where to go, and 48% spent two weeks researching before contacting the hospital.
Do you have enough content at your website to satisfy patients who want a lot of information before they make their decision?
The moment of truth
Almost half of the people who booked a hospital visit with the use of a search engine finished up with a branded term. That is, even though most started by looking for general information about their symptoms or diagnoses, a large percentage ended up looking for “St. John’s Hospital” or “Davinci surgery.”
While 98% of searches in the study took place at a desktop or laptop computer, but many patients use their phones to find the hospital when they’re ready to go.
Is your website mobile friendly?
This data and the questions that arise from the information can help you make sure that your website is doing its job as it should.