Yesterday I looked at some of the websites that consumers are using to research medical conditions, doctors and hospitals. In today’s Raleigh (NC) News & Observer, an article features examples of how patients are using the Internet as a resource for themselves.
A significant point that the article points out is that the open enrollment season for health plans will be coming up over the next two months, and people are researching the doctor and hospital options available to them in making their plan selections with their employers. I’ve done that in the past – we’ve been fortunate to have the same coverage for about seven years now.
As I’ve been discussing in a number of posts over the past several months, the Internet is a powerful tool and your patients – and potential patients – are using it. I want to know where my doctor went to school and trained, what their board certifications are, and if there has been any disciplinary actions. I will Google someone (of course!). In my county, court records, both criminal and civil, and online, so I can see if a doctor, or potential client, has had serious run-ins with law enforcement or civil actions. For example, I was once very surprised to find that a new acquaintance had pleaded guilty and was cooperating with the US Attorney’s office in an off-shore tax scheme.
The takeaway: get your website up now. Google yourself and see what – if anything – is out there about you. Finally, stay a step ahead of your patients – if they’re asking for information, you should be the one guiding them where to go and offering it yourself.