Skip to Content

?Pre-Visit Patients? Emerge as New Segment for Advertisers

Analyses of HealthGrades Survey and Manhattan Research's Cybercitizen Health® Study Shed Light on Pre-Visit Patients

GOLDEN, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct 6, 2009 - Online individuals who have a scheduled appointment with a doctor – also known as Pre-Visit Patients™ – hold a range of traits and behaviors that make them of deep interest to health-related advertisers, according to an analysis of two surveys conducted separately by Manhattan Research and HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings company.

Taken together, the two data analyses show that Pre-Visit Patients are more engaged and empowered to take action and influence others.

“Pre-Visit Patients are, by definition, on their way to the doctor, and have a unique set of behaviors surrounding their immediate medical need,” said HealthGrades Senior Vice President of Internet Strategy and Operations Andrea Pearson. “For advertisers, this newly defined population of Pre-Visit Patients -– which comprises the vast majority of traffic to, where individuals find and make appointments with doctors -- presents an opportunity to engage patients at the exact moment they are most in need of new information, and are about to have a conversation with their physician about their diagnosis and treatment options.”

HealthGrades Survey

A survey of individuals visiting to research doctors and hospitals finds that 82 percent will visit a doctor within 30 days, and 91 percent will visit a doctor within 60 days. The survey of 3,408 visitors in January, 2009 drilled down to uncover some behaviors of this Pre-Visit Patient group that suggests a need for information that can be used pro-actively.

Specifically, the HealthGrades survey found:


  • 92% of Pre-Visit Patients on said that at least one of the following informational resources would be helpful to have in preparation for their physician appointment: questions to ask the doctor; educational information related to symptoms and conditions; a list of tests commonly performed on patients with the symptom/condition; list of medication options to discuss with the doctor; list of procedure/surgery options; medication options; a list of possible conditions related to the symptom/condition.
  • A list of questions to ask the doctor was the number one piece of information that respondents would find helpful to take the doctor's office, with 86.9 percent stating that it would be somewhat or very helpful. Close behind were educational information related to symptoms and conditions (85.7 percent stating somewhat or very helpful); a list of tests commonly performed on patients related to your symptoms/condition (83.8 percent); and a list of medication options to discuss with the doctor (82.0 percent).
  • When the Pre-Visit Patients who were researching doctors on were asked what other resources they were utilizing to seek medical advice, allowing multiple answers, respondents selected the following:
    • Doctors 65.5 percent
    • Web sites specific to condition 45.8 percent
    • General health Web sites 30.0 percent
    • Family members and friends 27.9 percent
    • Books 11.5 percent
    • Message boards or online communities 9.1 percent
    • Magazines 5.7 percent
    • Other 4.9 percent
  • 86 percent of respondents felt comfortable asking the doctor for a referral to a specialist if it were not suggested to them first.

Manhattan Research Study Analysis

HealthGrades, a client of Manhattan Research, conducted further analysis of Manhattan Research's Cybercitizen Health® v8.0 study from October 2008 focusing on a sub-segment of the online population called the “Pre-Visit Patient” population, individuals who are online and searching for health information prior to a scheduled physician appointment. Specifically, the analysis compared these individuals with others who are online and looking for healthcare information (termed “eHealth Consumers”)

The analysis found that Pre-Visit Patients are:


  • 1.5 times more likely than eHealth consumers to request brand-name medications from their doctors;
  • 1.7 times more like likely than eHealth consumers to discuss information found online with their doctor;
  • 1.2 times more likely than eHealth consumers to confront a doctor (if they disagree with a statement he or she made regarding their health or the health or a family member);
  • 1.4 times more likely than eHealth consumers to say family and friends come to them when they have questions about health care information or treatment decisions; and
  • 1.7 times more likely than eHealth consumers to say they ˜strongly agree' with the statement “Family members and friends often come to me when they have questions about health care information or treatment decisions.”

More Information About the Research

For more information about the Cybercitizen Health® survey from Manhattan Research, please visit CCH/. For additional information about HealthGrades' Pre-Visit Patient research, please visit

About HealthGrades

Health Grades, Inc. (Nasdaq: HGRD) is the leading independent healthcare ratings organization, providing quality ratings, profiles and cost information on the nation's hospitals, physicians, nursing homes and prescription drugs. Millions of patients and many of the nation's largest employers, health plans and hospitals rely on HealthGrades' quality ratings, advisory services and decision-support resources. The HealthGrades Network of Web sites, including and, is a top-ten health property according to comScore and is the Internet's leading destination for patients choosing providers. More information on how HealthGrades guides America to better healthcare can be found at

Manhattan Research methodology

The Cybercitizen Health® v8.0 survey was fielded in Q3 of 2008. In total, 8,714 U.S. adults (age 18 and over) were surveyed. The survey was conducted in two parts. Market sizing data for the U.S. adult audience was conducted using an in-depth random-digit–dial (RDD) telephone interview of 4,300 consumers. A second survey of online consumers was conducted to understand online behaviors and sites visited. The online portion of the study surveyed 4,414 consumers.

The resulting data is weighted and benchmarked to age, gender, education and region from the latest U.S. Census Bureau normative data. The data is representative of both online and offline consumers. The data in the Cybercitizen Health ™ Survey is statistically significant. The margin of error for the telephone data set is +/- 1.6% at the 95% CI, and +/- 2.1% at the 95% CI for the online data set.

The Pre-Visit Population (n=743) consists of consumers who have gone online for health before a scheduled physician appointment.



Contact: HealthGrades
Scott Shapiro, 720-963-6584



Posted: October 2009