location building When a patient chooses a doctor or a hospital, the decision process is often driven, not by quality factors, but by simple geography. Check out these surprising and insightful numbers…


Three recent surveys seem to agree; “location” is a highly significant consideration. What’s more, according to Healthgrades data, “convenient location” is more than twice as important to consumers selecting a physician or a hospital than success rates or outcome data.

Here are some of data points that I recently shared in my marketing talk at the Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit. Many hospital marketers, CEOs and healthcare/patient experience pros at the Summit were shocked that people choose hospitals based upon location and friendly staff vs. quality.

Choice of Physician: Consumers who have selected a physician in the past three years are more concerned about convenient location (62%); friendly office staff (56%); than success rates (22%).

Choice of Hospital: Consumers who have selected a hospital in the past three years are more likely to choose a hospital based on convenient location (58%); amount of copay (45%); than based on outcomes data (30%).

Source: 2014 Healthgrades American Hospital Quality Report to the Nation

And, for the still-to-be-convinced crowd, the findings run parallel to a prior Healthgrades study about consumer choices:

Factors Most Often Considered When Selecting a Physician

  • Whether my physician is covered by my health insurance plan (72%)
  • The physician’s office location (69%)
  • Which hospital he/she is affiliated with (49%)
  • How long it takes to get an appointment with that physician (47%)
Source: Consumer Research: America’s Readiness to Choose a Doctor or Hospital; Healthgrades; Prepared by Harris Interactive; October, 2012

And a third survey—this one by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)—similarly revealed “location” as one the five most important factors adults consider when choosing a physician for themselves or a loved one:

  • Acceptance of insurance plan (83.3%)
  • Bedside manner/empathy (60.5%)
  • Proximity of office to home, work or school (57.4%)
  • Convenient office hours (42.9%)
  • Medical specialty (37.5%)

And where do consumer/patients find information? The AOA survey reports that adults use the following top five resources when finding a physician:

  • Word of mouth, i.e. family, friends, coworkers (65.9%)
  • Insurance provider directory (51.9%)
  • Physician rating websites, i.e. Vitals, Healthgrades (22.8%)
  • Hospital website (10.8%)
  • Consumer review websites, i.e. Yelp (10.5%)

The selection of a physician or medical facility nearly always employs a combination of reasons. And an increasingly informed and engaged public means more people are shopping carefully…and often, close to home.

FOR RELATED READING, see these previous posts:

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Stewart Gandolf

Stewart Gandolf

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Healthcare Success Strategies
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, a medical marketing and health care advertising agency. He is also a frequent writer and speaker. Most importantly, he is happily married and a "rock-n-roll daddy" to two wonderful girls.
Stewart Gandolf
Stewart Gandolf


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