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With nearly 60% of consumers using the internet to find a new provider, it’s critical for healthcare organizations to work with providers to ensure the profiles that appear on their websites and other digital properties are robust and accurate. While comprehensive provider information is important for everybody, the need is amplified for people of color, women, non-native English speakers, and those who identify as LGBTQ. In fact, research spearheaded by HealthSparq, Kyruus’ health plan division, reveals race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation can impact people’s choices and preferences around providers as well as their experience with the healthcare system as a whole.

Consumers Choose Providers Based on Shared Traits.

A key finding of the research, which surveyed 1,000 consumers diverse in gender, race, and sexual orientation, is that people are more likely to choose a healthcare provider of the same gender, age, and ethnicity. What’s more, about half feel that having shared traits with their healthcare providers assures better care and more open discussion, mostly due to the provider being more understanding and more relatable.

Others who gravitate to providers with shared traits may do so because they believe they will experience less discrimination. Fear of discrimination in healthcare is real, with survey respondents saying they are very or extremely concerned about discrimination based on their native language (26%), ethnicity/race (26%), gender (23%), and sexual orientation (20%). And it goes beyond fear: 15% of those surveyed say they have faced discrimination when looking for or receiving healthcare.

For more insights, download HealthSparq’s full report, A Provider Like Me: Research on Preferences, Care Selection, and Bias in Healthcare.

Providers Can Surface Commonalities By Sharing More About Themselves.

Breaking down the barriers of discrimination and mistrust in healthcare won’t be solved by a single action. But healthcare organizations can take helpful steps now by encouraging their providers to share a deeper level information, such as a photo, languages spoken, and if the practice is LGBTQ+ friendly. A strong professional statement or video can convey a provider’s treatment philosophy as well as unique personal or professional experiences that have shaped who they are as a caregiver and as a person.

Richer more differentiating profile data complements the provider attributes that are more universally salient, such as cost (insurances accepted, cost of care), quality of care (providers’ clinical expertise and reputation), and convenience (appointment availability).

The bottom line? When providers paint more detailed self-portraits that enhance the overall quality of their digital profiles, they enable consumers to find care that meets both their clinical needs and personal preferences, including shared traits.

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