Insurance Still Top Factor Driving Healthcare Choices, But Online Reviews Grow in Importance
Topic: Insurance Still Top Factor Driving Healthcare Choices, But Online Reviews Grow in Importance
Half the health systems and 65% of doctors had no online reviews, which puts them at a disadvantage when millennials go shopping for healthcare.
Whether a provider accepts their insurance is still the leading factor for consumers selecting a doctor or hospital, but online reviews are rising in importance, especially among millennials, according to a new study.
Reputation, which this week released its 2021 Healthcare Reputation Report, found that insurance acceptance and location ranked first and second in importance among consumers making healthcare choices.
Once consumers have eliminated options that do not accept insurance or are too far away, online reputation and consumer reviews can make or break a decision, the report suggests. And that could be a problem for the 50% of health systems and 65% of physicians who had no online reviews.
Insurers should not assume that consumers generally, and millennials in particular, will blindly accept referrals to certain providers, according to Reputation’s Annie Haarmann, head of strategy and consulting, Healthcare and Life Sciences.
“They’re not really relying just on word of mouth or who their insurance provider tells them to go to,” she said. Even when patients receive a referral, they check out the physician online before making the appointment, Haarmann said.
The report highlights a “digital divide” as some physicians and health systems have become savvy about managing their online reputation and others are asleep at the wheel. The report found those with little or no online review presence are at a disadvantage among millennials, who are the generation most likely to use reviews when selecting a provider. Up to 50% of consumers use reviews when making a healthcare decision, the study found.
Findings were based on 348,000 customer reviews across 113,000 physicians and facilities.
Reputation uses reviews and artificial intelligence, developed over a decade, to drive an algorithm that calculates a reputation score of 0 to 1,000; the best-ranked health system in this year’s report, Universal Health Services, scored 729. According to a statement from the company, the algorithm measures nine elements that include many “stars” patients award a health system to how many reviews it receives. The AI capabilities capture both solicited an unsolicited feedback, from patient ratings to Facebook posts.
Topic Discussed: Insurance Still Top Factor Driving Healthcare Choices, But Online Reviews Grow in Importance
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