Patients In Search Of a Good Doctor

October 1, 2010

The digital generation isn’t looking anywhere but the Internet for health information and new doctors. In fact, both of my patients simply stated that if doctors don’t bother to have a Web page, then why bother with them?

I have two female patients with the same chief complaint - both are unable to find a “good” doctor.

They are 25 and 37 years old. Both are healthy, intelligent, have college degrees, have great jobs including insurance, and are frustrated. One lives just outside D.C. and the other lives near Rocky Mount, N.C. Both have moved to their present locations more than a year ago.

These patients are a part of the digital generation (vs. digital immigrant). The digital generation isn’t looking anywhere but the Internet for health information and new doctors. In fact, both of my patients simply stated that if doctors don’t bother to have a Web page, then why bother with them?

There is no counter argument. In a previous post “Wong Goes to College,” I highlighted the dependence of the digital generation upon the Internet for every facet of their lives. There is no counter argument because this is really a statement of fact. The younger generation relies upon the Internet for information, and as we once were with the Yellow Pages, if you aren’t listed, you don’t exist.

What is considered a "good" doctor? In the old days, a good doctor was one who was recommended by friends and family through word of mouth. Word of mouth works because someone you know, someone you might trust or share something in common, makes an endorsement.

The digital generation is more discerning. In this case, my patients are looking to find out everything they can about the doctor. They, too, are looking for endorsements, but they’re looking only on the Internet. They are searching, reading comments, visiting blogs, searching Facebook for any information they can find for a new doctor. And they’re not just looking for where you went to college and med school. They are shopping for personality, too.

If you don’t bother to have a Web page, they won’t bother with you.

What should you do? The smart-ass answer is to get a Web page. A Web page is the core of your Internet existence and is the key to marketing and growing your practice. More than ever, you need that to get started.

If you don’t believe me, conduct your own poll. Ask anyone of the digital generation where they’re likely to look for a doctor.

Go slow, but get started. There are thousands and thousands of patients in search of a good doctor.