Updated from May 16, 2022
What do today’s healthcare consumers want? What trends factor into their decision-making process? We’re here to present the latest healthcare consumerism trends and help you reach new patients.
The healthcare landscape has become more patient-centric than ever, prioritizing consumers’ experiences and individual needs. Patients now expect their interactions with health systems to be fast, convenient, and preferably digital. They also expect effective, personalized treatment options that won’t break the bank. So how do you attract these selective healthcare consumers? What qualities and offerings are they searching for as they research health systems?
Keep in mind these five healthcare consumerism trends to attract new patients and outmaneuver your competition.
1. Patients expect personalization
Today’s patients are prioritizing a personalized healthcare experience. As such, out-of-context, depersonalized digital ads are bound to miss the mark no matter the sector, making targeting crucial for digital advertising in the healthcare industry.
Imagine a healthcare consumer sees trailing banner ads for a podiatrist’s practice while searching for condition information on angina. Even though the ads are reaching a potential patient while health is on their mind, it’s for a service that is irrelevant. This mismatch won’t lead to a conversion and might even annoy a prospect. Be intentional with your healthcare advertising and place ads alongside relevant content to intersect patients as they search for topics associated with your service lines.
2. Digital front doors gain traction as patients seek convenience
Consumerism in healthcare revolves around convenience, and digital tools are fueling patient engagement like never before. Over 70% of patients are using Google search prior to scheduling an appointment, with 59% saying they pick their doctor because of favorable online reviews. Meanwhile, 60% use digital scheduling to book appointments, and 94% of patients are willing to switch to a new practice that offers this convenience.
A digital front door is not only a tool for patient acquisition—it’s also a glimpse into what your health system can offer. But be careful how you build your digital front door—in a study by Accenture, half of the respondents said a bad digital experience with healthcare could ruin their entire experience, and 26% would change to a different healthcare professional with higher-quality digital offerings.
Build a robust online portal through which patients can interact with your hospital in an easy and personalized way, and remember that a digital front door doesn’t only live on your site. A third-party site like Healthgrades can direct more patients through your health system’s digital front door by improving your hospital’s discoverability, linking directly to your scheduling portal, and more.
3. Telehealth is here to stay
Telehealth might have started out simply as an alternative to in-person care, but it’s become the preferred method of receiving care for many healthcare consumers. Research from McKinsey shows that 55% of patients are more satisfied with telehealth than in-person care, and 63% are interested in more digital health solutions.
Telehealth services present an accessible way for patients to contact their doctors without visiting their offices. Telehealth medical service can be delivered in four ways: live video, asynchronous telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health. These convenient care options are also a better financial deal for patients who would otherwise turn to urgent care facilities for issues like a rash, seasonal flu, or urinary tract infection.
Other areas that have shown to benefit significantly from telehealth include pediatric care, dermatology, ophthalmology, and dentistry, with follow-up appointments also shifting to a virtual environment. Telehealth also keeps patients accountable to their care plan by making it easier to connect with doctors when needed—without long lines or wait times.
Now is the time to bolster telehealth options and make sure it’s simple and straightforward for patients to make appointments online. Also, emphasize your hospital’s commitment to mental health and wellness. Try hosting webinars that discuss important issues like depression, anxiety, and burnout, distributing more mental health surveys, or instructing doctors and nurses to take a pause during appointments to ask patients how they’re really doing.
4. Patients take a more proactive approach to health
During the coronavirus pandemic, many consumers realized the importance of preventative care and started practicing healthier habits while at home. And with consumers feeling more confident about returning to hospitals and doctor’s offices, they continue to carry that proactive attitude forward.
Almost two-thirds of consumers have become more concerned about their health and wellness since the pandemic, and over 50% of consumers report that they are researching health conditions online more now than before the pandemic. In addition, two in five U.S. adults are tracking their health through health apps. Such apps and wearable devices allow for constant monitoring of health data like blood pressure, sleep effectiveness, stress management, and more to offer a more convenient and personalized consumer experience.
While you can consider adding digestible educational content to your website or posting wellness tips on social media to appeal to the proactive healthcare consumer, it’s also essential not to underestimate the value of in-person visits. Patients still want to feel supported and understood when addressing health problems with a physician, and how they feel before, during, and after an appointment can mean the difference between life-changing care and poor life outcomes.
5. The need for price transparency rises
Finally, price transparency remains a significant concern for patients, who bear more financial responsibility for treatments and doctor visits as out-of-pocket costs increase. The average annual patient financial responsibility is now $1,650 per patient, likely due to the prevalence of high-deductible health plans, which have seen a 111% cost increase since 2010. And while financial concerns are a common barrier among all patients, women, in particular, are the most impacted, with 1 in 3 women recently delaying or avoiding preventative care due to not being able to afford healthcare comfortably.
As a marketer, you can guide patients to affordable, high-quality healthcare by providing the resources they need to make well-informed decisions. Price transparency laws are in effect, and marketers can follow suit by embedding service prices into campaigns.
The bottom line is that healthcare consumers are researching healthcare costs before settling on a doctor, so being transparent about your prices will garner positive patient recognition.
Partnering with Healthgrades can help you keep up
Meeting high-value, low-funnel patients during their healthcare journey matters most for conversions. How do you find them? Every year, half of all U.S. healthcare consumers who see a doctor visit healthgrades.com, making us the #1 platform for connecting patients with physicians. Of visitors who search for a doctor, 67% schedule appointments within a week.
Healthgrades improves your health system’s visibility and presence while offering an array of digital avenues for consumers to interact with your brand. Premium placement with prominent branding and calls to action on physician search results pages and profiles ensure more prospects see your health system first. Our competitive intercept feature also redirects opportunities away from your competition by showing alternative options from your health system on competing provider profiles. In addition, Healthgrades complements your SEO and SEM strategies to maximize your relevance in search results and provide qualified leads. Because our low-funnel audience is ready to convert, your cost per conversion will be half what you would spend on other PPC programs.
Get in touch with Healthgrades to learn more about how we can help you adjust your marketing strategy to meet current consumerism trends in healthcare.