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5 competitors medical practices face and how your practice stacks up

Achieving steady patient acquisition requires identifying and sizing up your competition.

Independent medical practice competitors

More than half of consumers in every age group — from the Silent Generation to Generation Z — have a primary care provider, according to the 2019 Accenture Digital Health Consumer Survey. However, there are more than 1 million professionally active physicians in the U.S. as of March 2019, according to the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation.

If you’re trying to attract new patients, you have some serious competition. Here’s a look at other healthcare providers vying for your patient base.

Put these 5 competitors on your radar

1. Other independent practices

Chances are there are several practices in your local area offering similar or even the same services. If you’re using outdated technology, expect to have trouble retaining new patients.

More than half of the patients who participated in the Accenture survey expect healthcare providers to have digital capabilities. For example, 70 percent are more likely to choose a doctor that sends reminders for preventative for follow-up care via email or text message. Additionally, 68 percent want the ability to book, change and cancel appointments online.

What patients want: 30 statistics about patient experience

2. Hospital systems

It’s hard to compete with the prestige of a major hospital system. Brand recognition can cause patients to feel more comfortable with providers under its umbrella.

In fact, U.S. emergency rooms saw a total of 136.9 million visits in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 35.4 percent of these patients were seen in less than 15 minutes, meaning people are willing to wait for the care they trust.

3. Urgent care

When patients have a relatively routine health concern, they want to find care as quickly as possible. Urgent care clinics satisfy this need, as they typically accept walk-in consults and hold evening and weekend hours.

Convenience is likely a driver in the popularity of retail clinics — i.e., those inside stores like CVS and Walgreens — as roughly 35 percent of the U.S. urban population lives within a 10-minute drive of one, according to the Rand Corporation. Young adults ages 18 to 44 are the largest group of clinic users, accounting for 43 percent of all patients.

Nearly one-third (30 percent) of patients rely on retail clinics as a primary care provider, according to the 2019 Healthcare Consumer Trends Report, published by NRC Health. Consequently, it’s not surprising that a Health Care Cost Institute analysis revealed patient visits to primary care providers decreased 18 percent from 2012 to 2016.

Check out: What private healthcare practices can learn from urgent care centers

4. Telehealth services

Tech-savvy providers are recognizing the growing importance of telehealth consult options. If you’re wondering how to get new patients, including this service in your offerings could be the answer.

In 2015, 21 percent of the 110 million patient interactions with Kaiser Permanente were e-visits, according to Kaiser Health News. By 2020, the healthcare system expects e-visits to exceed in-person consults.

Kaiser certainly isn’t the only hospital system to adopt telehealth programs. The use of telehealth in hospitals has more than doubled from 35 percent in 2010 to 76 percent in 2017, according to the American Hospital Association.

5. Self-diagnosing patients

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans have used an internet search or visited a medical website to learn about health conditions they or a loved one might have, according to Consumer Reports. This doesn’t include patients who used their provider’s patient portal or insurance company website.

In decades past, patients had to consult medical books to learn about various medical conditions, but the internet has put a plethora of information at their fingertips. Thanks to Dr. Google, patients think they can diagnose themselves, causing some to make fewer visits to an actual doctor.

Look: 4 strategies to address patient self diagnosis

If patient acquisition is on your mind, you need to know how your practice measures up to the competition. The PatientPop Competitive Scanner compares and analyzes your Google rank, web presence, website, and online reputation to target growth opportunities in your local market. Give it a try today to help your practice realize its full potential.

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See how you compare to other practices in your local area and specialty.
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PatientPop is the leader in practice growth with the only all-in-one solution that empowers healthcare providers to improve every digital touchpoint of the patient journey. As experts in the healthcare technology space, PatientPop makes it easy for providers to thrive in the consumerization of healthcare and promote their practice online, attract patients, and retain them for life.

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