Healthcare Provider Selection User Journey

Part
01
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Part
01

Healthcare Provider Consumer Journey: Top Funnel

The awareness and consideration phase, otherwise known as top of the funnel in marketing, is crucial for healthcare companies when it comes to attracting as many consumers as possible to their brand, and targeting specific issues those consumers might have.

Healthcare Provider Consumer Journey: Top Funnel

  • During the awareness phase, consumers are mostly opting for the following channels when researching healthcare providers: blogs, videos, infographics, and easy-to-follow eBooks.
  • When it comes to the consideration phase, consumers are mostly opting for the following channels when researching healthcare providers: patient reviews, testimonials, video content, and case studies.
  • In the healthcare sphere, top of the funnel marketing from healthcare companies is focused on lead generation and targeting campaigns which are designed to generate early awareness in the buying process. The content at this stage is designed to establish authority and trustworthiness, as well as educate and inform.
  • Consumers who are in the top of the funnel are focused on looking for help. They have a specific healthcare issue and are focused on finding a solution.
  • Top funnel content should, therefore, address specific issues such as locating the urgent care facility when the consumer has a broken bone, finding a new primary care practice for everyday uses, and which pharmacies offer the best service as per the healthcare provider's recommendation. This can be achieved by providing relevant content in the form of blogs, videos, and eBooks.
  • For most health systems, 75% of the down-funnel, inpatient service line volume is a direct product from the same health system's top of the funnel activity. Therefore, health systems are required to get as many consumers in the top of the funnel to create and build their brand, raise engagement, and feed all service lines.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Healthcare Provider Consumer Journey: Bottom Funnel

Bottom of the funnel, when it comes to healthcare consumers, is usually designed for those looking for an answer to any lingering questions they potentially have right before the selection of their new healthcare provider. This will usually include thinking about the proximity, urgency, expertise, brand recognition, and service quality of the healthcare provider.

Healthcare Provider Consumer Journey: Bottom Funnel

  • Bottom-of-the-funnel consumers are looking for an answer to any lingering questions they potentially have. Usually, they will opt for webinars and Q&As that they deem would help them.
  • Additionally, consumers are subconsciously asking to be able to click through to the landing page of the healthcare institution. This page will be tailored to provide specific messaging, such as how to call the hospital, be able to book an appointment, or see and download a submission form.
  • At the bottom point in the funnel, consumers are already determined that they would like to see a physician. Therefore, at the purchasing stage, they begin seeking out a healthcare provider or a healthcare practice best suited for them.
  • The key aspects when considering a healthcare provider at the bottom of the funnel are "proximity, urgency, service quality, expertise, and brand recognition".
  • When it comes to the loyalty and advocacy phase, consumers are looking to receive small gifts which would show that the healthcare provider still cares for them as consumers. This can include monthly webinars featuring topics like proactive ways to keep healthy, surveys to ask how happy they are with the service so far, eBooks on healthcare practices tailored to the consumers' issues, discounts etc.
  • Additional loyalty and advocacy tactics which consumers are seeking are the provision of quality products and services, premium customer service, refund offers, loyalty programs, rewards for recommendations, personalized offers for existing customers, and time-limited promotions.
  • According to scientific research, there is a direct link between the service provided and the satisfaction and value, which then impacts trust and commitment. Furthermore, trust directly impacts commitment and loyalty, and the same can be said regarding brand image.

Research methodology

In our overview of different things that consumers seek when selecting a healthcare provider during the Purchase and Loyalty & Advocacy phases of the consumer journey, we used a scientific metadata research which showcased the results of a multitude of studies across the last 25 years in the marketing industry, specifically targeting healthcare providers. This research was published in April 2017, and is therefore slightly older than the typical Wonder sources which are usually up to 24 months old. However, due to the fact that the source gives overview of the 25 years of marketing practices, we deemed it to be useful for this research.
Part
03
of four
Part
03

Healthcare Provider Consumer Journey: Consumer Considerations

The four leading consumer considerations when selecting a healthcare provider include the healthcare provider that is in network with the health insurance, convenient location, reputation, and personality and bedside manner.

1. Healthcare provider that's in network with the health insurance

  • A study was conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions that presents a nationally representative survey of US adults from February to March 2018 in order to identify trends in health care consumer engagement.
  • The leading consumer consideration for consumers when selecting a healthcare provider is that this healthcare provider is in the network with the consumers' health insurance. 50% of all US population finds that to be the main criteria when choosing a health provider.
  • According to the study, findings suggest that health care consumers do not care as much about "bells and whistles" and are primarily focused on minimizing the challenges regarding "accessing and obtaining affordable and reliable care."

2. Convenient location

  • As stated above, the study conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions that presents a nationally representative survey of US adults from February to March 2018 in order to identify trends in health care consumer engagement, is the most relevant and accurate industry report into consumer sentiment within the healthcare market.
  • The second most important consumer consideration for consumers when selecting a healthcare provider is that the healthcare provider is located at a convenient location. 46% of all US population finds that to be the main criteria when choosing a health provider.
  • This sentiment shows that the main influences, much like the criteria stated above, are all about eliminating any challenges around accessing the healthcare provider in the future.
  • Therefore, convenience and cost of accessing the location are considered to be the second-most important consumer consideration when selecting a healthcare provider. Consumers are primarily focused on obtaining affordable and reliable care.

3. Reputation

  • Much like the two considerations listed above, the third consideration — reputation, is also listed in the study conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions that presents a nationally representative survey of US adults from February to March 2018 in order to identify trends in health care consumer engagement.
  • 39% of all US population finds the healthcare provider's reputation to be the main criteria when choosing a health provider.
  • Reputation influences the decision based on a few key factors, including word of mouth, patient ownership, referrals, and long-term relationships with existing consumers.

4. Personality/bedside manner

  • Same as the previous three considerations, the last one — personality and bedside manner, is also listed in the study conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions that presents a nationally representative survey of US adults from February to March 2018 in order to identify trends in health care consumer engagement.
  • 34% of the US population finds the healthcare provider's reputation to be the main criteria when choosing a health provider.
  • According to studies, the ideal patient experience includes "excellent medical care, high-quality outcomes, compassion, and empathy that address the emotional needs of patients."
  • Personality and bedside manner influence consumers on such a large scale due to patients putting a high emphasis on whether the healthcare provider treats them with respect and dignity, employs listening when talking to them, takes time during examination and follow-ups, and takes them seriously.
Part
04
of four
Part
04

Healthcare Provider Consumer Journey: Platforms

Google My Business, Healthgrades, Vitals, and Zoc.doc are the leading platforms for selecting a healthcare provider.

1. Google My Business

  • A 2018 survey into reviews only shows that Google holds 57.5% of all reviews, making Google My Business listings necessary for healthcare providers.
  • Google My Business is "a free tool offered by Google to help businesses manage their presence on Google owned properties such as Google Search, Google Maps and the Google+ social network."
  • According to statistics, 60% of the US population will only consider a healthcare provider if they have a Google review on Google My Business. Therefore, the listing on the website automatically influences the majority of the population in the US.
  • One of the major influencing features of Google My Business, according to Google for the area of healthcare, is the Q&A section that providers can set up on their profiles. Google My Business Q&A’s allow patients the chance to ask questions about the healthcare provider directly on that business’ Google listing.
  • Additionally, Q&A’s are designed to appear on Google local listings directly when there is a search query in the typical Google search bar, and in the knowledge panel of local search results. This allows healthcare providers to expand their reach by showing up as trustworthy sources of primary information when general population searches for causes of their common problems.

2. Healthgrades

  • Healthgrades is considered to be the most trusted site for online reviews and ratings for all healthcare providers, including doctors, dentists, and hospitals.
  • The reason why it influences decisions is the fact that it allows users to browse and find specialists by different search criteria, such as location, specialty, condition, and procedure.
  • Influence of Healthgrades is mainly rooted in its transparent business model — patients are allowed to fill out a survey about healthcare providers without a worry they will receive any sort of comeback from the company. This is guaranteed by Healthgrades as it simply does not allow healthcare providers to reply individually to lowly-graded surveys.
  • Currently, Healthgrades displays more than 1.1 million provider listings and 7 million reviews and ratings.

3. Vitals

  • Vitals is considered to be one of the top platforms when it comes to influencing consumers over which healthcare provider to choose based on the fact it displays more than 1 million physician profiles, 165,000 facility listings, and over 9 million reviews and ratings.
  • Much like Healthgrades, Vitals’ website allows consumers to search by specialty, name, location, and condition. Additionally, it also allows searching by insurance coverage and providers.
  • A study of Vitals' reviews of urologists in 2018 discovered that the main influence that the website provides for those choosing healthcare providers is in the way it shows the care displayed by doctors in individual visits. The study revealed that the highest-ranked doctors are those that saw fewer patients and allowed enough time to spend with each individual patient.

4. Zoc.doc

  • The reason why Zoc.doc is considered to be one of the leading platforms when it comes to selecting a healthcare provider is the fact that it is used by more than 6 million U.S. patients a month, and has a valuation of over $2 billion.
  • Zoc.doc is a platform which allows for consumers to book their appointments instantly. The site displays doctor reviews, office addresses, and open appointment times, allowing patients to be influenced by listings based on the reviews as well as location, and availability.
  • Therefore, the main influence Zoc.doc has over other platforms is the fact it allows patients to see available appointment times instantly. In the current healthcare climate where a patient waits 66 days on average to see a physician, seeing immediately which appointment slots are free, is one of the main reasons why the platform is considered to be influential.

Research methodology

According to research, patients and potential new patients put a lot of trust in unbiased reviews and opinions which stem from other patients, specifically when choosing their healthcare providers. Results of different research show that 77% of consumers use online reviews to start their search of a new healthcare provider. This includes public websites such as Google My Business, Healthgrades, Vitals, and Zoc.doc, which are listed above as the leading platforms for selecting a healthcare provider.

Sources
Sources