Patients and providers alike should be utilizing the internet in their pursuit of healthcare. The first point of connection - the patient and the provider meeting - might be the most important for both parties.
If you are a patient, and you need to connect with a provider for a particular condition, how do you choose from the many providers out there? If you’re a provider and you want to be able to connect with new patients, how do they find, and then select you? Here are just a few options:
Insurance Company Lists: If a patient is fortunate enough to have access to health insurance, the insurance company maintains a list of providers who participate in their insurance plans. These lists may be available in hard copy form, or more commonly, on the insurance company’s website. Patients can use these lists to narrow down their choices based upon name recognition or geographic location. Providers should regularly confirm all their practice locations are properly listed for all the insurance companies with whom they participate, and promptly update any inaccurate or insufficient listings.
Internet Searches: There are MANY sources of provider information available online. Patients today can post their experiences, both good and bad, on one of dozens of healthcare opinion and experience websites, such as healthgrades.com, vitals.com and ratemds.com, to name just a few. Providers, what information is prospective patients seeing about YOU when they do an internet search?
Word of Mouth: Often the first choice for a patient is a provider who comes with a glowing recommendation from a friend or family member. Sometimes, the recommendation is so compelling, the patient doesn’t care if the provider is in their insurance network or not, and they are even willing to pay out of pocket and seek reimbursement from the insurance company after services are rendered. The same word of mouth system can have the exact opposite effect, where a bad experience can steer a patient away from a prospective provider. Providers, ask yourselves honestly, what are your current and prior patients telling their friends and family? And keep in mind, unsatisfactory experiences with office and billing staff can negatively reflect on otherwise good medical care!
If you’ve got any health care reimbursement questions or topics you would like to know more about, email me at Sue@HabaneroInc.com.