Survey Results: How Patients Look for Healthcare in 2021

As a doctor, you make a lot of assumptions about your patients and their experience. But do you know what your patients really want?

a month ago   •   4 min read

By Crawford Ifland
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As a doctor, you make a lot of assumptions about your patients and their experience. But do you know what your patients really want? This week on the Medical Marketing Podcast, we'll take a look at survey results to show you how you can improve your practice to deliver exceptional experiences based on what your patients really want.

Welcome!

Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Medical Marketing Podcast.

I’m your host, Crawford Ifland, and today we’re going to look at the results of a survey showing what patients really expect from their healthcare providers in 2021 and beyond.

Let’s dive in…

4 Key Survey Findings

PatientPop, a popular provider of practice management software, did a nationwide survey of patients earlier this year to discover what patients expect and desire from their healthcare providers.

Their study found four key things:

  • 75% of patients have looked online to find out about a provider or care.
  • 74% find online reviews extremely important - 69% will not consider any healthcare provider with lower than 4 star average
  • More than half of patients prefer a digital connection for five key interactions with practices. At least 51 percent of patients favor digital interactions when: scheduling an appointment, filling out forms, asking a provider a question, paying a bill, and accessing health records.
  • There has been a notable level of patient attrition at practices. More than one-third of patients (36 percent) say they have left a healthcare provider in the past two years — and 8 of 10 did so because of a poor in-person experience and/or lack of access and communication.

What healthcare providers can learn: 4 key takeaways

1. Online visibility has never been more important.

Stat: 75% of patients have looked online to find out about a provider or care.

That means that 3 out of 4 patients who walk in your door have already researched you. They're already looked at your website and have made a snap judgment about you or your practice. Chances are they've researched your competition, too. That's why having great online visibility with strategies like SEO and paid advertising has never been more important. Increasingly, the most visible practices are the ones that get the most business.

2. Online reviews are one of the best ways to influence behavior.

Stat: 74% find online reviews extremely important - 69% will not consider any healthcare provider with lower than 4 star average.

We're social animals: we look to others to influence our behavior and guide us in our decision-making, whether we realize it or not. The vast majority of patients trust online reviews just as much as they would trust a recommendation from a friend or a family member, so if your reviews aren't up to par, they're probably costing you patients - and revenue. Take a look at your online reviews and make sure that your business and your reputation is represented well.

3. If your digital experience isn't on par with your in-office experience, you're leaving opportunities on the table.

Stat: More than half of patients prefer a digital connection for five key interactions with practices: scheduling an appointment, filling out forms, asking a provider a question, paying a bill, and accessing health records.

More and more, patients desire convenience and a smooth, seamless healthcare experience. Nearly everyone has had an experience with a business that made them think, "isn't there a better way to do this?" This happens all too often in healthcare. That's the bad news. The good news is that a) there are opportunities to modernize your patient intake, communication, and payment processes, and b) you absolutely delight patients when you do...mostly because most patients think that all healthcare experiences are clunky, outdated, and hard to navigate. SO when you use digital tools to put the power in the hands of your patients and make it incredibly easy to navigate their journey, you don't just deliver healthcare - you deliver delight.

4. Providing a good experience - and retaining patients - all comes down to communicating well.

Stat: More than one-third of patients (36 percent) say they have left a healthcare provider in the past two years — eight of ten did so because of a poor in-person experience and/or lack of access and communication.

Good communications are essential in every part of the patient journey. Good communications lead to better online visibility, which leads to more patients. Good communications online translate into the correct expectations in person. Delivering on those expectations - and communicating well throughout the process, regardless of the news you have to deliver to the patient - improves patient experience and causes patients to communicate their experience to friends and family.

If you do it right, it's a virtuous cycle.
If you do it wrong, it's a vicious cycle.

Ask patients what they want to see at your practice. Ask them what you could improve. Implement those suggestions. And when all else fails, communicate well - that can cover most bases even when other elements of patient experience fail.

Implement these four suggestions into your practice management and you'll be well on your way to delivering exceptional patient experiences (and getting more patients as a result).

Next Time...

Well, that’s all for this week’s episode of the Medical Marketing Podcast – thanks for tuning in.

You can subscribe to The Medical Marketing Podcast for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you like the show, let us know by writing a review on Apple Podcasts – we’ll have a link in the show notes.

If you want more practice marketing resources, check out our website at www.messenger.md. We’re always sharing helpful tips and know-how to help you improve your practice marketing, grow revenue, and take your patient experience to the next level.

That’s all for today’s episode – I’m Crawford Ifland. See you next time.

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