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Prospective Patients and Physician Practice Advertising on the Web

A recent study released by InsiderPage and Harris Interactive reveals that physician practice advertising on the web is not nearly as effective as it can be. Most troubling was the fact that, according to this study, 42% of U.S. adults spent more time finding information on the web about the latest electronic gadget than in searching for a primary care physician. And, the numbers were even higher for people under the age of 55.

Before you think that means people don’t use the Internet to research medical professionals, consider that the same respondents said they wished they could locate more comprehensive information about their doctors online. The disconnect comes from the fact that many people find physician’s sites hard to navigate and lacking in meaningful information.

 Here are some interesting findings from that study:

  • Two-thirds (67%) of adults wish they could find more comprehensive information about doctors online. Almost three-quarters (73%) of people under 35 agreed that they wanted to be able to find more comprehensive information about doctors online.
  • More than half (51%) of adults agree it is hard to find information on a doctor.
  • About seven in ten (71%) adults wish doctors would share information about their medical background and expertise online. Almost four in five (78%) of those adults aged 18 to 34 said they wish doctors would share more information online.
  • Over two-fifths (42%) of adults agree they spent more time researching the latest electronic gadget than their primary care doctor. Half (50%) of adults under age 55 spent more time researching the latest gadget than their doctor.
  • Almost one-half (49%) say they spent more time researching a gift for a family member or friend than researching their primary care doctor.
  • Nearly three in five (59%) adults agree they rarely research a specialist who they were referred to by their primary care doctor. Men (64%) are more likely than women (55%) to agree

Even though nearly half of the people in the study said they aren’t researching doctors on line, and equal number are worried about their medical future. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) have many wondering what their health care will be like in the years to come. Many are concerned they will have to change doctors. The same Insider Page/Harris Interactive polls showed that:

  • Over two-fifths (42%) of adults agree they are worried that they will be required to change their doctor as a result of the new healthcare reform bill.
  • Adults with a PCP who affiliate themselves with the GOP were significantly more likely (61%) than their Democrat (25%) or Independent (45%) counterparts to agree they worried about being required to change their doctor.


One of the main reasons people gave for giving up researching physicians online was that they couldn’t find meaningful information about the doctor they were considering. A number of respondents reported incomplete or inadequate basic information about a physician on his web site. Others reported being unable to find basic contact information or information about specific procedure they were considering.

When it comes to your Internet presence that means it is essential to give searchers what they are looking for.

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About Tim
Tim George is a regularly contributing author to the MDWebPro blog. Tim is passionate about web marketing for MDs expecially the latest trends and results in social media, SEO and inbound marketing. For more, please follow @MDWebPro on Twitter

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