Fifty percent of consumers polled under the age of 55 said they have spent more time researching the latest tech gadget (like a blu-ray player) than researching a doctor they are going to visit.
According to a study recently released by Insider Pages, U.S. adults with a primary care physician spend more time researching possible product purchases or a gift for a friend than they do selecting their primary care physician - despite a strong desire to find more comprehensive information about their doctors online.
Insider Pages launched their DoctorFinder service last year. Since launch they have found that the Doctor Finder "Health & Medical" has become the number one trafficked category on Insider Pages and use of the service averages 12 pages per visits, which is fairly high for any website. Here are some highlights from the study which suggest there are further opportunities to make use of search and social in the health sector.
Patients Want More Transparency
As a whole, consumers want more information on physicians available online:
- 47% of respondents said they picked their primary care physician based primarily on location, not information about their expertise, malpractice record or online reviews.
- 67% wish they could find more online comprehensive information about doctors such as reviews from other patients, malpractice information and schools attended.
- 51% say it is hard to find information on a doctor.
- 71% say they wish doctors would share information about their medical background and expertise online.
- 59% say they rarely research information about a specialist when given a referral by a primary doctor.
Location Influences Doctor Choice
In the absence of easily findable quality metrics on doctors, consumers are selecting doctors in their health plan based primarily on location.
- Nearly half (47%) of adults with a PCP agree they chose their doctor primarily on location and not information about the physician's expertise, malpractice record or online reviews.
Desire to Participate in the Health of Others
- For one-quarter (25%) of adults with a PCP, word of mouth is the most important factor aside from their insurance plan when deciding if a primary care provider was right for them.
- About 91% adults with a doctor agree -- with 73% strongly agreeing -- they would definitely recommend their primary care doctor to a friend or family member.