This sponsored article was written by Andy Kennedy, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at
Doctor.com. Doctor.com empowers physicians and hospitals to engage patients at key digital touchpoints through award-winning physician directories, web-wide reputation management, seamless online scheduling, and now best-in-class telemedicine – all from one unified platform.
People today have more control over their consumer decisions, turning to the web to search for and validate information before choosing one path or another.
And it’s not just consumer industries. Over the years, healthcare organizations have discovered that they might not be as in control of their data and their story as they once imagined.
The road to acceptance was slow. Initially, health systems tried competing with — or even ignoring! — the third-party sites where patients research and ultimately choose physicians. But thanks to venture backing, search engine optimization, and a strong national presence, momentum around these sites was already growing. Information hubs like Healthgrades and Vitals quickly became integral to a patient’s care-seeking journey.
As they say, resistance was futile. Readily available, accurate information online has swayed nearly 60% of patients to choose one provider over another — and half won’t book an appointment if that information is incorrect or incomplete. So, how does a healthcare organization effectively manage this data for multiple physicians and facilities across an ever-growing list of third-party resources? Though this question has plagued the industry for years, the answer is not as complicated as most healthcare professionals have come to believe.
Today’s web strategy requires an approach that prioritizes partnerships and the ecosystem on a holistic level. A listings management solution must be able to take disparate data flows, standardize them, and transpose the information to all the right places. As market consolidation accelerates and industry-specific category sites emerge across the consumer web, the ability to partner with companies that can integrate via APIs to update the core sources remains crucial.
Looking at listings now, through the lens of a global pandemic that has upended life as we know it, the importance of a robust listings management solution can’t be overstated. Things are still changing at breakneck speed, including guidelines for reopening. To adhere to local restrictions, clinics and hospitals nationwide have postponed nonessential or routine care, adjusted office hours, and started to offer telemedicine. They’ve also had to publicize their COVID-response plan so patients have the most recent information about what’s prohibited or who can be seen in person.
Nimble health systems quickly broadcasted these changes on the sites patients already use to find healthcare information. Meanwhile, companies like Google and Healthgrades made spreading your message even easier — for example, sharing direct links to make a virtual appointment, adding secondary hours, and updating patients on new protocols.
Listings management in healthcare can be messy. The data is complex and often interwoven but not perfectly aligned with the vast consumer web. It’s important to partner with a company that understands this ecosystem and has established relationships with the sites that directly affect the healthcare industry, like Healthgrades, Vitals, and WebMD, as well as industry-agnostic search engines and data hubs — including Google.
These companies are able to claim and secure profiles, push data to the right channels through the appropriate and credible methods and troubleshoot quickly if an issue arises. Perhaps more importantly, they can show patient traffic and conversions, demonstrating much more tangible value to your healthcare organization now and in the future.