Researching Hospitals Online: Patient Behaviors and Trends

We go online to conduct research before buying a new car or making a dinner reservation. But, what about before choosing a hospital?

According to a 2012 study from Google Health, researching hospitals is no exception.

This study showed that patients do extensive online research before making an appointment or booking a procedure at a hospital. They go online to read reviews and check insurance information, but it doesn’t end there. Forty-eight percent of patients spend more than two weeks researching a hospital before making an appointment. During this time, their actions may surprise you.

The study results found that:

  • Patients go online to check whether their hospital uses the latest technology or has been recommended by their own family or friends
  • One-third of patients use mobile devices or tablets to research and make appointments on a daily basis. Sixteen percent use their cell phone in the doctor’s office itself.
  • Patients prefer online videos in order to learn more about the facility or understand complicated procedures. They also watch videos containing hospital reviews, patient testimonials and patient-generated content.
  • One in five patients book their hospital visit via computer or mobile app.

What does this mean for hospitals?

Health care marketing executives can use this information in the following ways:

  • Ensure that your hospital’s website is mobile-optimized, or create a separate mobile site for users
  • Confirm that your website navigation makes it easy for patients to find key information and take action, whether they are booking an appointment or searching for details on the latest technology
  • Make video content a part of your marketing strategy in order to share information and humanize your facility