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.