Healthcare systems, like any business, are competing for customers (patients) and referrals. In many respects, this competition has increased as patients are either forced to, or opt to, take more control over their own healthcare. The rise of consumerism is pressing healthcare systems to improve their online presence. Physicians and healthcare systems must fully leverage web tools to grow their customer base by empowering patients with the high-quality information they need to make important healthcare decisions.
The Internet has made it much easier for patients to search beyond their local area for the most qualified providers who meet their needs, participate in their insurance plan, and offer the highest-quality services. As a result of this new paradigm, healthcare systems must prioritize the quality and ongoing maintenance of the provider data that feeds their online “Find A Doctor” search and referral tools. Simply put, a poor search experience is a major turn-off. Patients may go elsewhere, referrals (and revenue) are lost, and reputation is damaged.