I was reviewing some back issues of Saurage Research Key Findings and came across some statistics that could have a very interesting impact on a typical healthcare practice.
In their Winter 1999/2000 Issue of Key Findings I read the following:
- 45% of all U.S. households are connected to the Internet.
- 50% of online users are interested in using a website operated by their own doctor’s office; 29% of this group said they would be likely to switch to a doctor who had a website.
- 48% of online users are interested in having e-mail communication with their doctor; 33% of this group said they would be likely to switch to a doctor who communicates by e-mail.
- Only 4% of doctor’s offices have a website and only 3% communicate with their patients by e-mail.
I wondered how these numbers would translate into a practice of 1000 patients.
- 450 patients who have access to the Internet.
- 500 patients who want you to have a website; 145 of these could defect because you don’t have one.
- 480 patients who want to communicate with you by e-mail; 158 of these could defect because you don’t provide it.
- You’re temporarily protected from increased patient defections only because 96% of your competitors don’t have a website and 97% don’t have e-mail communication with patients.
Although the stats are dated, they could only have increased. Although I am sure the percentage of practice websites have increased to have a “presence” on the web, although they are really no more that a business card from what I have seen.
Clearly patients want easier, faster, more interactive and more complete information than you are now giving them. If you don’t provide it, somebody else will. You may want to rethink your internet strategy…do you have a strategy? Plug in the number of patients you have in your practice. Do these numbers hold with your patients? How can you better take advantage of the Internet and give your patients what they want.
Just some food for thought…
Bob Eskridge (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the President of Eskridge & Associates (www.eskridge-associates.com) which specializes in the placement of physicians in both locum tenens and permanent opportunities nationwide. Bob has five industry certifications. He is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), Certified Temporary Staffing Specialist (CTS), a Certified Physician Recruiter (PRC) and a Certified Employee Retention Specialist through the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS). He is also a Certified Staffing Professional (CSP) through the American Staffing Association.
Bob Eskridge is also President of Eskridge Worldwide Travel (www.eskridgewwtravel.com) providing travel services for physicians as well as Eskridge Consulting (www.eskridgeconsulting.com), a practice helping others to realize their childhood dreams of becoming physician recruiters.
© Eskridge & Associates, 2008