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Even with so much technology at our disposal, it can be quite challenging to find a good healthcare provider. There are an abundance of providers out there, but how do you find “the one” – the one that is going to provide the best care? And what constitutes the “good” doctors from the not so good ones? The truth is, finding a good doctor is difficult. Because of this challenge consumers tend to put off the search until they are ill and need one right away. Due to the urgency, their choices for providers are often quite limited and therefore end up going to an urgent care center or hospital.

Could it be that the quantity of information at our disposal has actually hindered the ability to find a good provider?  Most people do not exclusively rely on their insurance provider for doctor searches. They are asking people they know for recommendations. But what do newly relocated people do? They go online and use the Internet for their search. They then cross reference their findings with their insurance company to see if the “good” providers they found participate with their insurance plan.

How does one determine what makes a good provider? Many are reading the reviews that are listed on sites such as Google Places, RateMD’s, WebMD, Citysearch and, if they have an account, Angie’s List. They are also checking out the practice by visiting their website. They are looking to see if their site is informative, and are verifying that the doctor is properly credentialed. The last test is a call to the practice. The way they are treated on the phone is often used as an indicator as to how they will be treated as a patient.

What can you do as a medical provider to make it easier for people to find you and to know if you are a good fit? The first recommendation is to have a strong website. A medical website is a window you’re your practice. If your website is out of date or does not provide useful information, consumers may think the same about your practice. Websites redesign prices can range from a couple hundred dollars to tens of thousands. It is not necessary to spend a fortune to have a good website. The site just needs to be appealing to the eye, informative and easy to navigate.

The second thing you can do is monitor what people are saying about you and your practice online. When you type in your name or your practice’s name do any patient reviews show up? Patients can help improve rankings by sharing their experience on sites such as Google Places and Citysearch.  Having solid reviews does matter. Consumers will often pass over providers who do not have reviews in search of those whose reviews are high.

Lastly, it is important to broaden the Internet search by looking for what providers show up in the same city and specialty as yours. For example, if your specialty is plastic surgery and you are located in Tampa, your search should be “plastic surgery and tampa.” What do you see? Is your practice listed on the first page? If it isn’t the first thing you should do is register your business on Google Places. You can do this by clicking here. You should also have your website optimized for search engines.

By staying on top of the information overload that consumers often experience in their healthcare provider search, you will make it easier for new patients to find you. Once they find you, it is up to you to ensure the experience they have while at your practice is superb. If you need assistance in helping your practice get found online or with improving the patient experience, consider MindStream Creative.