According to a research report entitled Selecting a Provider: What Factors Influence Patients' Decision Making? published in the March/April edition of the Journal of Healthcare Management, reputation of organization and reputation of physician(s) are the chief drivers in choosing a provider. The study was based on 467 survey respondents at a large academic medical center in Minnesota. The respondents were mostly white (87%), well-educated (84% had at least some college), insured (100%) and healthy (73.4% were in good health or better). The group was broadly diversified over the age spectrum.
"In Network", appointment availability and physician referral were close behind reputations as an impetus to facility or clinic selection. Interestingly, cost is only a factor in 44.29% of provider choice decisions illustrating the fact that healthcare is currently not consumer driven as we rely on third party payers. Only 24.2% reported using websites that report clinical quality data. That number is sure to climb in future surveys. Advertising comes in tenth as a decision motivator, again underscoring the lack of consumerism in healthcare. This also suggests that providers will be well served by establishing their reputations, contracting with insurers and addressing service and logistical issues before committing to advertising campaigns.