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How Digital Affects Hospital Selection [Research]

Do you wonder how patients select the hospital of their choice?

What if you had in-depth insights about factors that influence patients when choosing one hospital over another? That would probably help you make some changes that would help you stand out from other facilities.

boy at a fork in the road

What makes a patient choose one hospital over another?

Digital Journey to Wellness

For any patient suffering from an illness, the journey to wellness takes the following path:

  • First the person exhibits some symptoms
  • Then he is diagnosed by a doctor
  • Next he seeks treatment at a health facility
  • Finally after a period of treatment the patient recovers.

What does digital have to do with this?

In a joint study between Google and Compete Inc., 500 hospital researchers were fielded to understand what role digital plays in the journey to wellness. Here’s what they found out:

1. Online Search is Critical

Prospective patients said that digital plays a big role in helping them choose a hospital. For them the journey almost always starts with search. It was interesting to note that search drives 3x as many visitors to hospital sites than non-search visitors.

Notice that online search is the most significant.

Among the top items that prospective patients are searching for online are, the hospital’s reputation, and whether the hospital accepts their insurance or healthcare plan. To a lesser extent patients also research hospitals that have been recommended by their doctors, and hospitals that are using the latest technology.

Key Takeaway: Hospitals should focus on getting their websites seen both by patients and search engines.

2. Mobile-Friendly Hospital Sites Win

Because patients have their mobile phones with them 24/7, they are also using them to research hospitals. They use them to:

    • compare offerings at different facilities (26%)
    • to discover new healthcare brands they weren’t aware of before (18%)
    • to read reviews of different facilities (29%)
    • to locate a facility for treatment (27%).

In addition 44% of those who researched hospitals on a mobile site went ahead and scheduled an appointment.

Mobile allows prospective patients to research as much as they want

If your hospital currently does not have a mobile website, this should be one of your top priorities. Think about a prospective patient who is on the go. What kind of experience will they have when they try to access your site from their mobile phone? It’s up to you to make sure that they have an easy and engaging experience.

Key Takeaway: Hospitals and medical practices should ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly.

3. Online Video Converts

The study also found that video is a critical part of hospital research. 1 in 8 patients watched an online video on:

  • Hospital sites (42%)
  • Health insurance information sites (31%)
  • Health information sites (30%)

Mostly they  were looking for reviews and testimonials to learn about hospitals and treatment options. The interesting thing is that 30% of patients who watched a hospital video went on to book an appointment.

Key Takeaway: Online video (YouTube) drives patients to hospital sites. Hospitals should  therefore invest in YouTube video to help promote their brands.

Quick Wrap-Up

In the journey from sickness to wellness, patients are increasingly using digital to research and find hospitals for their treatment. It is up to the individual medical facility to ensure that they are easily found via online search. This means that they should focus on improving their SEO and inbound marketing strategy.

The other key point is that mobile and video are critical parts of the patient’s search and re-search experience. Hospitals should make every effort to create a mobile-friendly website and post YouTube videos to inform and connect with patients. Patients who find what they are looking for online are more likely to convert.

Over to you: Please share your comments. What are your thoughts on how digital affects patients looking for medical treatment?



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