We moved to Grand Rapids two years ago and my wife still drives almost an hour to go to the doctor in East Lansing. She just hasn't been able to find a doctor here that she wants to see. Finding a doctor is like finding a date or a mate. A slight difference being that even though you may not say it, most people mean "till death do us part", probably more so than when people get married these days. So, that means finding the right doctor is probably one of the biggest decisions people today make.
So, how do you find a doctor? The two biggest factors are location and reputation. Which sounds like the 2 biggest things I talk about. Which makes healthcare providers the largest group who should be taking advantage on the Web 2.0 evolution. WebMD is an incredible force with unique visitors jumping from 853,000 in 2004 to 40.3 million unique users per month in 2007. Mayo Clinic has created an online community that has blogs, forums, podcast, videos, and slide shows.
Care Providers today have a unique opportunity to showcase their knowledge through blogs and podcasts, at the same time keeping their patients informed. Believe me, there are many so-called "medical professionals" out there blogging about health care who probably should be blogging at all. Then there are those like Dr. Oz. Who is not aware of Dr. OZ as "America's doctor", Google his name on the internet and you will get tens of thousands of hits. If you are a health care provider, how many hits do you get when you Google your name? And, is your website or blog one of the top 10 pages Instead of WebMD? I am sure most would prefer to read helpful medical information from their own local healthcare providers.
Word of mouth can grow or kill a business or medical practice. Today, most health care providers know what people are saying about them through a simple Google search that showcases their practice reviews. Who would you choose? Someone not rated or someone with 5 stars? If you are a health care provider, do you know what people are saying about you online?
From 1996 until 1998, I spent a great deal of time at the University of Michigan Hospital helping doctors and nurses take advantage of the latest technologies available at the time. The last two years, I have been helping out launch one of the best clinical inventory management systems in the world. Maybe now I will spend some time helping care providers in Grand Rapids fully adopt Web 2.0 technologies. However, first I have to help my wife find a local doctor.