If we talk about an amazing customer experience, you’d have to strive hard to look for someone who isn’t impressed and satisfied with Amazon and Google. The world is going online – for everything, from minor household things like a toaster or TV to major things like their health. The “empowered” digital patients seek nothing less than the best when it comes to their health.
Who is the digital patient?
Americans are turning to the Internet like never before to make their health decisions and to self-diagnose their medical conditions. From pre-screening and researching about potential physicians to viewing their treatment options, from conversing with strangers on social media and review websites to considering the general public opinions about healthcare providers, the modern digital patients are constantly in touch online. Patients are embracing technology and digital platforms that help them take charge of their own health and improve their well-being.
The ‘digital patient experience’ – What does the digital patient really want?
Instant communication and issue resolution
In this era of patient-powered health, physicians can no longer choose to be silent spectators. For building strong brand resilience, careful listening and responding appropriately are the major pillars. The scope of healthcare discussion has been widened by physician-review websites and social media as patients can anonymously post reviews/comments. Needless to mention, whatever is said spreads with a few mouse clicks and creates a huge impact.
Many patients choose to write a review just because they want to be heard. Instant communication with the person and assurance of grievance resolution gives the impression that patient satisfaction is of utmost importance to you. The way you deal with online reviews/comments is noticed not only by the patient who posted the review but by many others who will gain a perception about your practice from this discussion. If these are dealt with optimistically, it opens up the lines of communication between the physician and patients and puts you in a position where you can avert any adverse situation before it happens.
Healthcare transparency is now paramount for patients
The tech-savvy consumers can no longer be fooled. Like no one would buy a house without researching well, no patient would consider booking an appointment with a physician based on just word-of-mouth referrals. Today patients represent a set of empowered digital health consumers who carry out their own research before booking an appointment with a physician and trust a physician’s opinion only after they’ve read about it on various online sources.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
They are prepared to reward transparent healthcare providers by providing them the new “word-of-mouth” services, i.e. by recommending them online through physician-rating websites and social media to their family, friends, colleagues and neighbors. During their visit, if they feel that the motive of the physician or hospital is to mint money rather than provide best care and healthcare solutions, they will not likely visit again. Additionally, chances are high that they will leave a review about their experiences on social media and physician-review websites.
The unquenchable thirst for better services
Empowered patients now desire faster, more accurate and more accessible information. They no longer blindly trust what physicians recommend. With the ocean of online health information and a plethora of physician options to choose from, patients can easily determine the best options for themselves. Good ratings and a positive online reputation are definitely the new factors for a patient’s decision-making process.
In a nutshell, the digital decisions are growing at an accelerated pace. The reason behind this is the quest for a perfect physician who can provide the best healthcare services. Digitally empowered consumers leave no stone unturned to gather the best possible inputs before making their health decisions.
Nothing less than the best healthcare services is the new normal for patients
Digital patients seek nothing less than the best. The services in healthcare are no longer limited to cost as consumers now evaluate quality and experience in the same equation. Research highlights from the 2015 Healthcare Consumer Trends by National Research Corporation state that reputation in healthcare matters more to consumers when choosing a brand than any other industry, e.g. hospitality, retail, airline, etc.
To conclude, today’s “transparent” review landscape is a prism through which your reputation is reflected in the virtual world. As a physician, you’ll have to devise a strategy to identify, monitor and influence your digital reputation and credibility to woo the digital patients.