Today, patients don’t go online, they live online.
There are now trillions of searches made globally on Google every year, with over half of those happening on a mobile phone. Having an online, mobile friendly presence can be the defining factor between your practice being a success – or being invisible.
At least 80% of Australians own a smartphone, and on average we use our phones 150 times per day.
Technology has become an additional limb for us, holding all the sources of information that we have come to rely upon. So much so that the term ‘nomophobia’ is now used to describe a fear of being without mobile device, power source or service area.
Patients are starting to become more proactive and less reactive. Mobile has fractured our day into a series of what Google describes as high intent, real-time ‘micro-moments’. Our phones enable us to research and make countless decisions. People are now more loyal to solving their immediate need in the moment, rather than to a brand or business.
Mobile has revolutionised the way we interact with businesses and brands. In our always connected lives, people have high expectations for a relevant, frictionless experience.
Over three-quarters (77%) of Australian smartphone owners have used their device to find a local health service.
Competition has become fierce in the healthcare sector. Between January and March 2017, Google search volumes for Australian healthcare services grew 17% year on year. Almost half (48%) of these searches were done on a mobile, and Australian patients conduct an average of 3.1 online searches when looking for a new health service provider.
Being accessible and providing what your patients want, for example online bookings, helps your practice succeed. Once people book online, they rarely go back.
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After narrowing down a list of providers, patients seek validation for their choice. Besides recommendations from friends and family, online search is the preferred method for Australians researching new health service providers. Transparency and simplicity are key. People expect to easily find clear, relevant information.
Google Insights data shows 51% of people have a healthcare provider in mind when their research begins, yet 11% end up choosing another provider.
On average they consider 2.8 practices, and only contact 1.8. The top 3 most important factors to patients when searching are:
- Confidence in service
In our on-demand economy, patients want to be able to go straight from researching to booking, all in the palm of their hand. That is why it’s essential to have a mobile-optimised website.
We all know what it’s like to try to navigate and type with our thumbs on a website that hasn’t been designed with a mobile version in mind. Data shows almost half (43%) of patients wish businesses had mobile friendly sites. Google prefers and favours sites that are mobile optimised because they believe in providing the best patient journey.
As well as being mobile friendly, a practice website needs to be fast too. When it comes to site speed:
- 40% of customers will abandon a site that takes over 3 seconds to load
- 29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if it’s too clumsy or slow
- 1 in 5 dissatisfied visitors will never return to a website where problems have occurred
Providing patients the experience they expect in their micro-moment of need has become the difference between securing a booking and losing out to a competitor. A fast, mobile friendly site should be considered the new normal.
Online bookings have evolved from a nice to have feature, to becoming an essential part of a modern healthcare practice. Convenience is now a key driver of patient choice. That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to be present in these moments that matter most.
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