Nine out of ten patients use Google to search for healthcare. Will they find you? And if they do, will your digital presence help them or thwart them? The answer depends a lot on how well you manage your location and physician data.

If you’ve ever searched for the name of a physician when you needed care or done a non-branded search such as “orthopedic specialist near me,” you know how crucial data is – and how hard it can be to get data right. Unless a healthcare system publishes accurate, findable physician and location data:

  • The provider’s name may not appear in your search results because the provider failed to provide it to publishers such as Google.
  • You may find the provider you want but fail to find the right location because the location data was incorrectly listed.

A host of other problems might occur, such as uncovering inaccurate office hours. And in healthcare, those problems are all too common. And I’m not surprised. After all, physicians keep multiple locations and hours, making it harder for healthcare systems to track and report their data correctly. And healthcare systems need to share accurate data across a broad range of sites, such as ratings/review sites and every other place people go to search.

The solution is for healthcare providers to treat data as a precious asset. Here are some crucial questions you should ask to get into the right mindset:

  • Have I taken inventory of all the data assets I need to track and report? Your data architecture needs to span every conceivable type of location and provider data, such as the practice locations, physicians, and service lines within your healthcare system.
  • How are my website and physician pages looking? Your website needs to be your digital front door to care. About 83 percent of patients visit your website before booking an appointment, and their search ends with finding a physician. How accurate are your website and physician data – across your entire network?
  • How often do I review the health of my data? I recommend that on a monthly basis you review the accuracy of your provider and location data. Your data is a changeable asset. New physicians join your practice, their hours might change, or you may open a new facility requiring the addition of location data. Manage your data on an ongoing basis.
  • Have I optimized all my data to be found on mobile devices? As we have discussed time and again on our blog, being mobile-centric went from “nice to do” to “must do” awhile ago. Google continues to reward sites that are mobile friendly and banish into obscurity those that are not.

The above are just a few of the questions you should ask in order to manage data like an asset.

If you want to talk more about creating better care and engagement with data, contact us anytime. SIM Partners provides the technology, business intelligence, and consulting to manage your digital operations.

In addition, I’m going to be discussing this topic in more detail at the annual Health Internet Conference (HCIC) in Austin.  If you are at HCIC, please come see me on Tuesday, October 24 at 3:30 PM as I co-present with my client, Moira Green, Moira Green, the Web project manager at Bellin Health. We’ll discuss turning your hospital website into an effective digital front door that acts as a foundation for engagement and care, and the effective use of data will be an important part of our presentation. Moira will share her experience with managing a hospital website and how that experience has improved the patient experience. Click here to view the session.

I hope to see you there.