Tinder has ruined the millennial generation. If we could “swipe right” or left on a lot of choices in life, we would. A political rant on social media? Swipe left. Free ice cream? Swipe right. The online dating app’s algorithm matches singles based on mutual friends, similar likes, and common events attended. It harnesses users’ real-life social networks to facilitate romance. So, what if we could do this when choosing a primary care doctor?

As a “newbie” in a city, I wish that finding a doctor was as easy as surfing an online dating profile. Imagine a friendly physician profile picture, quick summary of credentials, number of years in practice. Perhaps a 0-5 star rating, average wait time, and a list of what insurance providers are covered. Ideally, like online dating, it would show you how many “mutual friends” you have (for easy referral and verification). Maybe even a fun fact or two so you can feel more comfortable and connected, for example,  if they too find the patient dressing gowns cold and divulging.

Why Marketers Need to Change Their Match-Making Approach

To a millennial, the #1 trusted source for medical advice is still a doctor, despite our Googling efforts. However, first impressions really matter to us. Just like on a date, a person is sized up in a matter of minutes. Healthgrades conducted research into which aspects of physicians’ online profiles are the most meaningful drivers of consumer engagement. Key takeaways include:

 

  • Specific aspects of a profile cause consumers to choose one physician over another. The most influential of these are: a physician’s number of ratings; their years of experience; popularity on social media; whether the profile includes a photo; and the physician’s gender.
  • For most consumers, shorter wait times outweigh a physician’s star ratings, except when they are seeking care for a serious health issue.
  • Consumers understandably have higher expectations of health care providers than of other businesses.

5 Ways To Make A Physician Profile Stand Out

  1. Make the profile genuine.
    In addition to credentials, tell the story behind the profession. Millennials are interested in hearing about why physicians are in their profession and what motivates them. As Simon Sinek says, “It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it.”
  2. Prioritize patient feedback and encourage reviews.
    According to a Healthgrades survey, consumers are more likely to select a physician who has a larger number of ratings than a physician with a perfect star rating. 64% of consumers prefer a physician with 4 out of 5 stars and 25 patient responses over one with 5/5 stars and 3 responses.
  3. Use a good quality headshot photograph (smiles are a bonus).
    Consumers opt for a physician with a picture in the profile over one with a higher star rating but no picture. 52% of consumers will select a physician with a picture and a 4/5 star rating over a physician with no picture and a 5/5 star rating.
  4. Emphasize wait times and insurance options.
    Shorter wait times matter more than higher star ratings for minor health issues, but star ratings have more importance when dealing with a serious health issue. The survey shows 67% of consumers opt for a physician with a 25-minute average wait and 4/5 stars over one with a 90-minute average wait and 5/5 stars.
  5. Make it mobile friendly. Most profiles are viewed on mobile phones and appointments are booked online.
    The preference for millennials may even be multi-screen, viewing a doctor’s profile on a mobile device, checking appointment availability on desktop and finally calling in to complete the process.

Much like dating, finding a doctor that a patient “fits with” isn’t always easy. A great profile can help them meet their match. Millennials want to establish relationships and build trust with a provider that will manage their health alongside them, and are eager for a health system that meets their needs.