We recently conducted a massive patient survey. We asked 5,000 patients the following questions:
And this is what they said...
In first place was "Friend or Family" followed by "Google with 16.8% and "Online but not Google" with 12.8%. Collectively, the Internet was the source of 29% of referrals. Other answers included "Insurance Company" (15.2%) and "Referred by another Doctor (also 15.2%).
There are two take-home points here:
31.2% of patients are choosing their next doctor based on what friends or family told them. In other words, the opinion of current patients matters. What are your patients saying to their friends and family? Is your practice doing everything it can to keep patients happy?
The majority of this comes from Google. In other words, if doctors are not on the first page of Google, then they are missing out on a huge number of prospective patients.
This number is predicted to grow further in the future. Is your practice capturing its fair share of online patient referrals?
As per Figure 2 (above), over 70% of patients said they check Doctors' reviews before making their choice.
There's one extremely important lesson here:
The best way to get 5 star reviews is to be an amazing doctor 24/7 with amazing staff 24/7 and only have appreciative patients! But, of course, that's not always possible. Most doctors are familiar with those 'problematic' patients who will simply never be happy.
Luckily for doctors, there are Reputation Management Systems which can help.
Read more about "How Doctors can increase their number of 5 star reviews."
As per Figure 3, 54.3% of patients said that "Reputation & Reviews" are the most important factor when choosing their doctor. In second place was "Friendliness of the Doctor & Office Staff" (25.2%). Other factors included "Length of Waiting Time" (7.8%) and "Price" (2.3%).
There are 2 clear messages here for doctors. First, reputations matter. 54.3% of patients say this is the most important factor when choosing their doctor. Do you have a good online reputation? Read more about how to increase your number of 5 star reviews online.
Second, be nice to your patients! 25.2% of patients stated this was the most important factor when choosing a doctor. Doctors should also take steps to ensure their office staff are providing polite and friendly customer service to patients.
Figure 4 shows that the large majority (79.3%) of patients prefer to schedule their appointments over the phone. In second place was Online Scheduling (17.1%).
It means two things. First, it's important that you have enough (friendly) staff to answer the phone. If patients are kept on hold for too long, or cannot reach you, they may well call another doctor's office.
Second, a growing number of patients prefer scheduling appointments online. Does your practice offer this? It's just a question of time before it becomes the primary way to schedule, so your practice should start positioning itself for this unavoidable future.
The most common reason for changing doctor was "Poor Medical Treatment". In close second was "Unfriendly Doctor or Office Staff". Other popular answers include "Too Long Waiting Time", "Insurance", and "Moved away."
In a sense, this is good news. It means that the power to retain patients is in the hands of doctors and staff. The main reasons patients changed doctor were internal factors which doctors can influence. In order to prevent patients switching doctor, doctors should provide the best possible medical treatment. Doctors (and their staff) should also treat patients in a friendly manner.
Red Castle Services specializes in providing Online Marketing for Doctors. This includes:
All services are provided at affordable monthly rates with month-to-month agreements. We believe that doctor should stay with us because they like our services, not because they are locked into an agreement. View our Pricing.