When consumers search for providers online, it is no longer enough to filter results by specialty and location. Additional provider search filters such as health plan and visit reason help the consumer discover and choose the right provider. 

Guide patients to the most appropriate provider for their need with these four essential filters:

1) Health Plan

Patients want to know if a provider is in their health plan’s network before they schedule an appointment so they can avoid surprise out-of-network charges. According to our recent survey, 47% of patients search for providers via their health plan portal or app.

2) Visit Reason

Can patients clearly express the reason for their visit? Visit reasons need to be specific, and accurately mappable to each provider’s scheduling and intake protocols. Rather than using a text box where patients enter free-form language, keep the visit reasons standardized for easier data management and provider matching. 

Visit reasons that are too generic increase the risk that patients will schedule appointments with providers who cannot treat their condition. For example, standardized visit reasons can prevent patients from scheduling an appointment with a doctor who specializes in neck injuries when they need one who specializes in knees.

3) Online Scheduling

According to a DocASAP Survey, 48% of consumers prefer to schedule appointments online versus over the phone or in person. Consumers searching for providers may feel frustrated if their search leads them to a provider that doesn’t also offer online scheduling. Make it easy for patients to filter in providers who offer online scheduling before they undertake the full search journey

4) Gender and Language

Patients want to feel confident that their provider understands them. A Genentech report found that half of medically disenfranchised patients skipped follow-up appointments or stopped seeking care for fear that they were not understood. Gender and language provider search filters thus help patients find providers they feel comfortable with, encouraging patients of all demographics to seek care they need.

In a world where consumers compare healthcare booking with the convenience of the most popular online retailers, the front door to medical care is often a website or smartphone app. Providers and payors must lead the way, or they’ll be running to catch up.

Next Steps

Check out DocASAP’s latest survey results and review all 10 of our recommendations for attracting and serving patients in the digital health sphere. Download the eBook Meeting the Healthcare Consumer with a Digital-First Approach.


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