Evolution of the Provider Shopping Experience

Personal shopper for a healthcare provider

Headshot of Bob Waddell

Bob Waddell

June 2023

The way healthcare consumers shop for new providers has changed drastically over time.

There are over 55 million un-doctored consumers across the U.S. But these “patient free agents” aren’t the only ones shopping for a new provider. Health networks know their current patients/members are shopping both in-and-out of network for new providers all the time.

Health networks have come a long way from the days when posting a simple list of providers to its website was a sufficient way to search for new providers — as opposed to the present-day where a data-infused personalized experience is not only the best way to guide consumers through the provider selection process, but also the right thing to do.

How The Process Has Evolved

If we break down how consumers have found providers through a health network’s website or app over time, it’d look like this:

(v1.0) Generalization - A basic list of providers. Probably shown in alphabetical order.

E.g.: “Here’s a list of all our providers.”

(v2.0) Customization - Adding sortable filters like Location, Specialty, Language, Experience, etc.

E.g.: “Here are 75 Female PCPs within 5 miles of 66062.”

(v3.0) Consumerization - Adding metrics and consumer opinions like Quality Ratings and Patient Reviews.

E.g.: “Here are 36 Female PCPs within 5 miles of 66062 and have at least *** out of 5.”

(v4.0) Personalization - Adding in Consumer Preferences, Needs, Priorities, Personalities, Sensibilities, Communication Style, Learning Style.

E.g.: “Here are 17 Female PCPs within 5 miles of 66062, that have at least *** out of 5, and prefers a wait-and-see-approach for treatments and spending more time with their patients.”

You’ll notice the early evolutionary stages were all about providers and their respective data. It isn’t until we get to the later stages (and, specifically Personalization) that more granular data based on the consumers’ preferences, needs, and personalities are taken into account.

While those early iterations of the Find-a-Doc tool seem simple, they actually require the consumer to do more work on the backend to figure out who may be a good fit for their needs and preferences. This can result in more bad appointments and experiences because there are more unknowns. Remember – just because a Find-a-Doc experience looks simple, doesn't mean it simplifies the search process for consumers.

Closing Thoughts

The personalization of the provider shopping experience has made it easier for consumers to find and select exactly who they want based on what’s important to them and in the end, can be happier and healthier because of it.

MD MatchUp is the best way to bring this kind of personalized shopping experience to healthcare consumers (and current patients) searching for the right provider fit.

Consumers’ desire for personalization is here, waiting, and knocking at your digital front door. MD MatchUp will open that door and welcome them into your network.