64%. That’s the share of patients Accenture says will use self-scheduling online by 2019. This underscores the critical role your find-a-doc site plays in attracting online consumers and converting their demand to booked appointments. Despite health systems nationwide prioritizing patient experience and patient access, many are still falling short in being able to match patients with the right providers through their provider finder sites. As a starting point for evaluating your organization’s find-a-doc, consider how it fares when it comes to the three key elements below:
Broad Scope: We like to use the term “provider finder” rather than “find-a-doc” because mid-level practitioners are a critical part of many patients’ care teams. On a related note, one common shortcoming with many provider sites is that they don’t facilitate precise and appropriate patient routing so patients see the right types of providers (e.g. a Nurse Practitioner vs. a PCP) and when a specialist is required, someone with the right level of specialization (e.g. an Endocrinologist vs. a Neuroendocrinologist).
Accurate, Detailed Information: Consumers online expect accurate, on-demand information that will not only guide them to the right providers with appropriate clinical experience to deliver the best care, but also those who meet their other preferences—location, accepted insurance plans, gender, languages spoken, etc.—and accept their insurance plan. However, this information is often partially or even completely absent on provider finder sites.
Action-Oriented Features: Even in cases where the above information is available, the vast majority of hospital provider finders lack the capabilities required for them to be helpful and actionable– features such as lay synonyms for search terms (e.g. foot doctor), appointment availability, and online scheduling. When these sites lack actionable options, health systems run the risk of website abandonment as patients return to Google or a third-party site to access more providers and book appointments online.
An effective provider finder site offers consumers the information they need to make informed decisions about selecting a provider and take a more active role in their healthcare. As you consider digital access strategies, be sure not to overlook the important role your provider finder plays in helping your organization acquire new patients, convert demand, and boost retention.
Want to see how your provider finder stacks up against competitors? Request a complimentary Provider Finder Assessment today.