When Patients Have the Power

The current trend in retail puts the power in the hands of the consumer. If you don’t offer a good selection, convenience, customization, or free shipping, customers will look elsewhere. We’re seeing a similar trend in the field of medicine, health, and wellness, too — there’s a shift in who guides health care interactions from the doctor to the patient. When patients have the power, health care providers must make changes.

A shift in the balance

In 1909, you could have the Model T in any color as long as that color was black. This is indicative of the old consumer-producer power balance. You had to take what you could get.

This was also true for health care. Maybe the town doctor was good, maybe he was bad, but it was either him or dying of tuberculosis.

A century later, patients have options. They have more control of their health care experiences than ever before.

  • Even smaller communities have multiple healthcare professionals.
  • There’s a rise in medical tourism; patients are willing to travel to meet with health care providers of their choosing.
  • More people are trying alternatives to modern medicine.
  • Wearable fitness trackers that show how much you sleep, how often you move, and your basic vitals give consumers the illusion of a firm grasp on their overall health and wellness.
  • There’s an abundance of online health information available to the patient; the accuracy and quality of this information varies greatly, however. At least 80% of Americans search for health information online.
  • More people are self-diagnosing and self-treating their health issues, because more people feel equipped to do so. A survey of 3,000 U.S. adults found that 44% of respondents self-diagnose using online health information instead of visiting a medical professional.
  • The emphasis on health literacy is another example of the shift in power to the patient. There’s pressure on doctors and medical professionals to ensure that health information is understandable for patients. This includes results from tests, lab work and procedures, what’s communicated in doctor visits, as well as printed and digital resources for health information.

What can medical professionals do?

A white paper published by Harvard Business Review suggests that healthcare professionals must focus on improving the patient experience moving forward: engaging patients and patient families, making procedures better and more convenient for the patient, prioritizing individualized care, and providing reliable access to medical professionals.

Health care providers must look for ways to encourage patients to seek medical care instead of viewing the doctor as a last resort. But all these suggestions focus on the patient experience once they reach your office, whether virtually or in person. SEO services for doctors can help patients find you in the first place.

Build a strong digital presence and positive online experience for your patients:

  • Provide accurate health information with a strong call to action. This is an effective way to make sure patients find the information that they’re looking for, but also helps them understand the value of a medical professional.
  • Ensure that contact information is accurate and up to date — phone numbers and physical addresses as well as digital options.
  • Offer simple and straightforward ways for new and current patients to contact you.
  • Optimize your website for search and for mobile devices. Take advantage of SEO services for doctors to get this done.
  • Offer online appointment scheduling, online bill pay, etc.
  • Remember HIPAA compliance applies to your digital presence, too.

Contact Haden Interactive to learn more about our SEO services for doctors. We specialize in healthcare marketing and content marketing services for medical professionals and those who work in health and wellness.

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