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Consumer preference for accessing care through digital channels is here to stay—with nearly 60% of consumers turning to the internet when searching for new care options. What’s more, consumers are searching for all types of care online, from vaccines to mammograms, not just individual providers.


So what does this mean for healthcare organizations?

Healthcare organizations will need to continue accelerating and evolving their digital patient access strategies to create a “one stop shop” that enables consumers to find, select, and schedule care—in other words, a holistic Find Care experience. If that’s your goal, there are four key areas to consider as you map out your plan.

1. Engage: Meet Consumers Where They Are

To connect to consumers in their search for care, you’ll need to engage with them both on and off your website. As search engines like Google make headway on integrating healthcare information into search, forward-thinking healthcare organizations are working to ensure they have a provider data strategy in place that encompasses syndication across an array of digital properties and channels, so consumers can find what they need no matter where they search. Additionally, deploying continuous engagement strategies with proactive communication streams that encourage consumers to keep scheduled appointments and embrace preventive care enable healthcare organizations to build and maintain relationships well beyond the first visit.

2. Search: Make it Simple, But Powerful

Search is a powerful tool to connect consumers to the right care and leveraging natural language processing—enabling people to conduct searches in their own words using more descriptive long-tail keywords, e.g., “primary care providers who speak Spanish near me”—is key to your Find Care experience. The search experience you provide should also be built on top of a robust clinical taxonomy, with proper mapping of providers and services to the appropriate clinical keywords, synonyms, and lay terms to surface to the best match possible.

3. Match: Surface Valued Decision-Making Criteria

Consumers aren’t shy when it comes to making their preferences known when seeking care and they’ll continue to prioritize certain factors in their selection process, namely convenience, cost, and clinical expertise. Offering this information across the Find Care experience, both in filterable options in search, and within robust provider, location, and service profiles is critical to meeting consumers needs and expectations. What’s more, Kyruus’ analysis of aggregate customer data shows a clear correlation between including certain data elements and converting online demand: patient ratings and reviews (9x), clinical expertise (8x), accepted insurances (4x), provider profile picture (3x), and appointment availability (3x)*.

4. Book: Create a One-Stop-Shop for Care

Preference for online booking has continually risen in the past five years—with 40% of consumers now leaning into this option. Although this trend is most pronounced among Millennials and Gen Xers, it holds true across generations. With this distinct, widely-held preference, healthcare organizations should consider broadening the care options that can be booked online within a single Find Care experience. For example, instead of limiting online scheduling to a subset of providers, offer the option to book ancillary services such as labs, vaccines, and imaging, as well as appointments at those locations that provide specific types of care such as urgent care centers, to more effectively convert online demand.

Using these four key elements—Engage, Search, Match, Book—as a guide will help your organization create a holistic Find Care experience that keeps pace with the evolving expectations of today’s digitally-empowered healthcare consumer.