Identifying Decision-Making Units for Patients

May 06, 2021

In healthcare, as in any industry, the success of your marketing efforts depends largely on your understanding of your target audience. Though every provider’s patient base looks different, almost everyone can use a universal truth to guide their marketing tactics, and that is that women are the primary medical decision-makers for their families.

Whether you offer pediatric services, cater almost exclusively to men, or are a primary care doctor, there is a strong chance that the lady of the household initiated the appointment. Moreover, it is likely that a woman is responsible for your ongoing relationship with each patient, regardless of who your patient actually is. Given this information, if you want to increase patient conversion rates and improve retention, you need to appeal to the female demographic.

Statistics that illustrate the significant role of women as medical decision-makers for their loved ones

Per the recommendations of the authors of a Center for Talent Innovation study, healthcare providers should start viewing women as the “Chief Medical Officers” of their families and give women “notice and respect” while providing care to any family member. Below are a few eye-opening stats that support this recommendation:

  • Women make approximately 80% of all healthcare-related decisions in the United States.
  • Married or not, 94% of women make healthcare decisions and 59% claim to make medical decisions for others.
  • 79% of mothers typically select the healthcare providers for children, compared to just 22% of fathers.
  • 77% of moms claim to be the one taking kids to doctor’s appointments, compared to just 24% of fathers.
  • 20% of men claim that the only reason they visit the doctor or dentist is to appease a “nagging loved one.”

Women are often more interested in discussing preventative health topics with family providers. Female patients are also the ones to use information — such as that regarding quitting smoking, improving diet, and receiving vaccines — to better the health of loved ones.

Though it is clear that women are responsible for initiating, maintaining, and supporting healthcare relationships with providers, more than half (58%) claim not feeling confident with the role of being the primary medical decision makers. It is the job of providers to change that through marketing tactics that appeal to female healthcare consumers.

How to appeal to women as healthcare decision-makers

A large part of the Doctor Genius practice management package involves increasing patient conversion rates. To do this successfully, it is important to cater your customer acquisition and retention strategies to the female healthcare consumer and, more importantly, to build a strong, trusting relationship Below are a few successful tactics that can help.

Be active on social media

There are dozens of valid reasons for you to be on social media, including expanding your reach, creating positive first impressions, and connecting with your audience in a more organic manner. In case you needed one more reason, though, consider this: 86% of women turn to social media for advice, recommendations, and opinions. While a vast majority seek information on everyday purchases, a growing percentage look for help making more important decisions, such as those pertaining to healthcare.

If you are not yet on social media, or if you use it only sporadically, consider bolstering your efforts. More frequently, women are influenced by the medical information found and shared online and by the recommendations of others.

Boost your star ratings

It is no secret that online reviews heavily influence prospective patients’ decisions to work with a provider. According to the data, nearly three-quarters of survey respondents begin the search for a doctor, dentist, or another type of provider online. Of those, nearly 70% said that a positive online reputation was either “very” or “extremely” important in the decision-making process. Women are among the majority who use online reviews and star ratings to influence healthcare decisions.

For instance, one study found that 51% of women are far more likely to view star ratings when looking for a provider than men (39%). Another study found that 85% of female respondents use reviews to influence health and beauty decisions and that 57% agree that star ratings “matter most.” The most influential factor, however, is the quality of the review, with 67% of women agreeing that strong patient testimonials are crucial.

The bottom line is that women carefully consider the experience of others before making healthcare decisions. As a provider, it is particularly important for your practice to manage your online reviews and ensure that those on your website and third-party websites paint only the most positive picture of your practice.

Make healthcare convenient

Traditionally, factors such as insurance coverage and referrals were the main criteria consumers considered when deciding to work with a provider. Now, however, convenience is the number one consideration that influences which provider a prospective patient will choose for the individual’s own care or a family member’s care.

Men and women alike value convenience. However, considering women are more likely to juggle the needs of multiple individuals compared to men, convenience is king. Implement changes designed to save women both time and money, such as telemedicine and teledentistry, online scheduling, and online bill pay. Also, strive to reduce patient wait times and the average number of days between the initial phone call and the appointment, two factors that commonly influence patient satisfaction levels.

Improve the average patient experience across all touchpoints

The above tactics can help you appeal to the primary medical decision-maker, but what can you do to retain the individual’s business? According to the data, both men and women rely heavily on previous experience to advise future healthcare decisions. To ensure the continued loyalty of the family CMO — male or female — create a positive patient experience at every touchpoint and during every in-office visit.

Appeal to the primary decision-maker

Regardless of what type of health services you offer, it is crucial that you appeal to the primary medical decision-maker of the family. While, in most cases, that person will be the lady of the house, you do not want to discount male healthcare consumers. At Doctor Genius, we can help you identify the gatekeepers and the primary factors that influence healthcare decisions. To see if our team of acquisition and retention experts is a good fit for you, call us today.

Doctor Genius, located at 16800 Aston Street, Suite 270, Irvine, CA 92606, provides a range of services for practice success. We seek to meet our clients’ needs by providing a variety of marketing, SEO, practice optimization tools, and coaching to transform the healthcare experience. Though we work to provide the most accurate information, the content found on this website is solely intended for entertainment purposes. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is entirely correct. You may not use the information on this site to cure, prevent, or diagnose a perceived medical issue. If you have healthcare-related needs, please speak directly to a healthcare professional. Never self-perform medical treatments discussed on this website. All images displayed are also for entertainment purposes only, and personal experiences may differ. Please note that the business tactics mentioned on this site might not be applicable to your industry or practice.