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Digital Trends of Hospital Patients: 10 Stats Every Hospital Marketer Should Know


As a hospital marketer, it’s essential that you understand exactly how patients are researching and interacting with your healthcare organization. Are they stumbling across your hospital’s website when they Google a certain health condition? Are they seeing your online ads? Or perhaps they’re even hearing about your hospital through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or reading about your doctors in online reviews.

In today’s Internet-focused world, it’s likely a mixture of all of the above, and more. Patients are more engaged in the online world more than ever before, which means your hospital can’t afford to settle for a mediocre digital marketing strategy.

If you would like to understand a little bit more about the online habits of patients and potential patients, here are 10 eye-opening stats:

  • 72% of Internet users say they have searched for health information online at some point in the last year. (Pew Research Center, 2012)
  • 77% of people searching for health information online say they started their most recent search on a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. (Pew Research Center, 2012)
  • 1 in every 20 Google searches if for health-related information. (Google, 2015)
  • 62% of smartphone owners have looked up health information on their phones within the past year. For individuals ages 18-29, this percentage is higher—around 75%. (Pew Research Center, 2015)
  • About 1/3 of consumers discuss issues related to health on social media. (PwC: Health Research Institute, 2012)
  • 41% of consumers say information they find on social media would likely affect their choice of a specific hospital or medical facility. (PwC: Health Research Institute, 2012)
  • 42% of patients read online reviews. (Software Advice, 2014)
  • 44% of patients say they would be willing to see an out-of-network doctor if his or her reviews were better than the reviews of in-network doctors. (Software Advice, 2014)
  • 30% of patients who watch online videos about hospitals end up booking appointments. (Google/Compete, 2012)
  • 1 in 5 patients now book appointments by computer or by a mobile app/browser (Google/Compete, 2012).

As you can see from these statistics, your patients are using various digital paths to find healthcare services such as yours. The question is: Are these patients finding your hospital in their searches? And if they are finding you, are they impressed by what they see—enough to actually visit to your hospital? The fight for patients’ attention online is a fierce one, so you need to do everything you can to improve your hospital’s online presence, as well as your online visitors’ experience.

Your hospital marketing strategy should include:

  • A modern website: Your website should be attractive, responsive (easy to use on all types of devices), and equipped with a patient portal that allows for online appointment scheduling.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO allows your hospital site to appear higher up in natural search results when certain keywords are entered.
  • Paid search advertising: These online ads give your hospital prominent placement in search results, even if you aren’t ranking organically. These ads are also tied to keywords.
  • An online reputation management plan: You should have a clear strategy for monitoring and managing your hospital’s online reviews and directory listings so you can give patients the best impression of your hospital online.
  • A social media strategy: Your hospital should maintain social media profiles and regularly post content that is likely to keep your patients engaged. Your hospital may also be able to benefit from social media ads.

If you’d like help in any of the areas listed above, call our hospital marketing experts at Scorpion. You can also get more tips by downloading our social media guide for healthcare providers.