The Modern Patient Journey | Doctor.com
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Your Guide to the Modern Patient Journey

Today's patients have higher expectations and more control than ever when it comes to where they seek care. They have no qualms about shopping around for a healthcare provider and they demand an outstanding customer experience from the beginning.

What does that mean for your practice?

Explore below to find out

The Modern Patient Journey Introduction
Patients don't find doctors the way they used to.

 

Today's patients have higher expectations and more control than ever when it comes to where they seek care. They have no qualms about shopping around for a healthcare provider and they demand an outstanding customer experience from the beginning.

What do we mean by Customer Experience (CX) in healthcare? Before a consumer enters your examination room and becomes your patient, he or she goes through a series of actions and transactions which highly resemble any customer journey: researching and evaluating your staff and services; engaging your office to get more information; determining payment and insurance options; taking action to schedule an appointment. Today, much of this journey happens through digital channels, and the nature of these interactions can dictate whether a consumer becomes your patient. A broken, frustrating or inconvenient experience at any of these touchpoints could lead your patient to a competitor's practice.

In this guide, we'll be breaking down each step of the journey to help you understand the behavior of today's patient - and what you can be doing to maximize results at each step. You can navigate by scrolling, clicking on the upper bar or by clicking on the right hand side menu.

The Modern Patient Journey 01 Discoverability
Are prospective patients able to find you online?

 

80% of patients start their search for providers online. And that's not just younger patients - 76% of patients over 60 have made a healthcare-related search online in the past year. And if you're thinking that this doesn't apply to you because your patients come from referrals - keep reading. 81% of patients go online to read reviews about a provider after they've been referred.

Making yourself visible on listings across the web can be both tedious and frustrating. Most directories aggregate provider data from outdated and inaccurate sources - and they don't make it easy to update your information. If you don't show up at all or correctly online, it's as if you and your practice don't exist for the 80% of patients searching online - so, you're at a very high risk of never even being considered.

To make sure that patients are able to find you online, you must have consistent, robust information about you and your practice across all of your listings. Start by updating your name, address, and phone number before moving to rich data like your specialty, conditions you treat, and insurances that you accept. This will help patients find you when they're searching for care.

53% After searching for a healthcare provider online, 53% of patients would be discouraged from booking due to incomplete listings information.

79% of consumers have used the internet to make a healthcare-related search in the past year.

62% When searching for a healthcare provider online, 62% of patients consider complete listings information when determining who they will choose as their provider.

33% of patients think the quality and accuracy of information online about the healthcare provider matters when giving a 5 star review to a healthcare provider.

How to become more discoverable:

Listings Management

We make sure that you have accurate listings on the 40+ sites that matter most to patients. We've built partnerships with all of the major directories (like Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals, and Google) to streamline the listings management process.

Google Knowledge Panel

Have you claimed or updated your Knowledge Panel? This is the box on the right-hand side of Google search that provides information about your practice

The Modern Patient Journey 02 Reputation
Do you look trustworthy and credible online?

 

Once you've become discoverable online, the next step is creating a presence that's more compelling than the practice next door. Your reputation online is the first, and sometimes last, impression a patient makes of you - 90% of patients will decide not to see a provider based on negative online reviews. If you don't have reviews, or your reviews are bad and old, patients will find a provider that appears more trustworthy online - and will likely not consider your practice.

Our research found that your reviews need to be:

  • Positive (3 stars or more)
  • High quality and trustworthy
  • Recent

To accomplish this, we recommend getting at least one review per week so you always have a recent and trustworthy review available to prospective patients. The key to success here is figuring out a review strategy that works for your practice. Some practices ask returning patients to leave a review while they're waiting for their appointment; others ask patients to leave a review on their way out. Many send a follow-up text to patients once they've left the practice. There's no right or wrong way (other than never collecting reviews) - just find what method works best for your practice.

66% When searching for a healthcare provider online, 66% of patients consider positive patient reviews when determining who they will choose as their provider.

81% of patients go online to read reviews about a provider after they've been referred.

60% of patients would be discouraged from booking due to poor quality of reviews.

88% If a referred healthcare provider has a rating of less than 3 stars online, 88% would change their mind about seeing that provider.

How to build your reputation:

ReviewHub™

Our ReviewHub is the best way to get (and widely share) high quality reviews - it's easy for patients to use while they're still in your office, and every review collected on the device goes to 10+ of the most important healthcare sites, greatly amplifying the impact of each review that you collect.

The Modern Patient Journey 03 Competitive Edge
How much better do you look than the provider next to you?

 

Listings on every major site? Check. Recent, high quality, and positive reviews? Check. Next up, we'll go through the additional steps you can take to stand out from your competition.

First - let's quickly revisit your listings. When we update your listings, we always make sure your name, address, specialty, and contact information is accurate. But there's more you can do to stand out from the crowd. Having a robust and compelling bio lets you share your story with prospective patients - and allows you to take control of your reputation online.

Supplement your bio by uploading a great headshot, updating your education, board certifications, and affiliations, and by highlighting any awards/recognition you may have received. Doing so allows you to credibly share with patients why you're their best option. And, by continuously updating the procedures you perform and the insurances you accept, patients will feel confident that they've found the right fit for their situation.

Second - premium listings. With our Premium level of service, your profiles will be enhanced and pushed to the top of search results on the major healthcare sites. On most standard profile listings, you'll notice that the directories include a section where other doctors are promoted. With a Premium profile, your competitors will disappear from your page - and, you will also show up in that section on some competitor's pages - what better way to ensure more patients see you?

57% of patients report that their decision to seek one healthcare provider over another has been impacted by a positive online reputation.

89% Providers who upgrade from a basic to premium profile on Healthgrades see, on average, an 89% lift in profile visits.

37% of patients report that their decision to seek one healthcare provider over another has been impacted by the availability of patient reviews on third party sites like Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals.

42% of patients report that their decision to seek one healthcare provider over another has been impacted by their ability to schedule or reschedule their appointment online.

How to become more competitive:

Premium Listings

Upgrade to premium listings to push your profile to the top of search results on the top healthcare sites - and to remove competitors from your profile page.

The Modern Patient Journey 04 Ease of Booking
Are patients able to request appointments with you, when and how they want to?

 

Now that you've mastered:

  • Managing listing accuracy to make yourself visible online
  • Building a strong reputation for your practice with patient reviews
  • Boosting your competitive edge with robust profiles, a strong website, and enhanced profiles on the major healthcare sites

Imagine that a prospective patient has both found you and decided they want to visit your practice. Are they able to request an appointment with you online?

If you don't have online appointment requests available at every webpage a patient might land on (your listing on one of 40+ healthcare sites, your Google Knowledge Panel, your Yelp page, your website) - you might lose that patient, even after they've decided that they'd like to visit your practice.

Luckily, it's pretty easy to keep patients on the right path at this stage. Give patients the option to call you OR to request appointments with you directly on all 40+ of your listings, including Google, Yelp, Facebook and your website.

50% of patients prefer digital methods to request an appointment - even if you have a phone number or email available.

79% of consumers have used the internet to make a healthcare-related search in the past year.

53% of patients prefer a text message when receiving an appointment reminder.

31% of patients consider online scheduling options when determining who they will choose as their provider.

How to provide ease of booking:

Universal Scheduling

Add a booking button to the 40+ sites that matter most to patients. Your requests will all live in one place, and you can easily revisit and respond to requests from your dashboard. Patients will automatically receive reminder emails, calls, and/or texts.

Call Tracking

For the patients that still prefer to book an appointment over the phone, we offer call tracking for Premium packages - with Call Tracking, you can revisit recordings of your inbound patient calls.

The Modern Patient Journey 05 Patient Engagement
Do you know what your patients think of you?

 

Your patient found you online, trusted you based on your online reputation, and was able to easily book an appointment online.

But - the journey doesn't stop there. Take some time to both learn from your patients and to engage them in your practice community. After their appointment, you can ask them to engage with the ReviewHub or to connect with your practice on Google or Yelp with Doctor.Companion.

If they left you a review on your ReviewHub - take a look at what reviews they left for:

  • Listening Skills
  • Clear explanations
  • Accuracy of diagnosis
  • Willingness to spend time with you
  • Trust in decision making
  • Post-visit follow-up

If they left you an awesome review - congratulations! Your hard work up to this point is paying off - and thousands of prospective new patients online will get to hear about the positive experience this patient had with your practice.

If they left you a less than flattering review, use it as a learning opportunity. What about that patient's experience, that was within your control, could have been better? Feel free to leave a short, HIPAA-compliant response to their review if you feel that there was a misunderstanding or if there's something you'd like to clarify.

86% of patients think the quality of customer service matters when giving a 5 star review to a healthcare provider.

81% of patients said that the quality of customer service influences their loyalty to a healthcare provider (they would seek care from them multiple times).

43% of patients said that convenient billing/payment options influence their loyalty to a healthcare provider.

65% of patients said that the cleanliness of facilities influences their loyalty to a healthcare provider.

How to master patient engagement:

Doctor.Companion

Doctor.Companion makes it easy to invite patients to connect with you on Google or Yelp. All you need to do is enter your patient's phone number and click send.

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