Doctor have a tough conversation with a patient

Winning Dissatisfied Patients: Insights for Healthcare Providers in the Southeast

As we recently revealed in our research focused on Healthcare Habits, doctor loyalty runs deep in the Southeast. A whopping 83% already have a trusted primary care physician (PCP), far surpassing national averages, and 96% of these folks claim they are satisfied with their care. 

But amid this contentment lies a twist: 27% of patients are not so happy and indicate they will be seeking a new doctor this year. They crave the same convenience and affordability as their peers, but their doctor search is fueled by a different set of priorities. They seek qualifications above all else, including “top medical school” diplomas and seasoned experience.   

Let’s take a closer look at these respondents to reveal what they are looking for, and how they differ from their peers.

Beyond Convenience and Cost: While traditional concerns like scheduling preferences (phone calls remain popular) and affordability (a universal challenge) remain relevant, this group exhibits a distinct shift in emphasis. The “doctor factor” takes center stage.

Qualifications reign supreme. Expertise trumps all else, with “very qualified” surpassing even insurance coverage as the most influential factor in choosing a doctor. Top medical school credentials and years of experience hold greater weight than interpersonal chemistry alone. This suggests a quest for medical proficiency and a deep trust built upon demonstrated competence.

Technology plays a role. Telemedicine, often seen as a peripheral option, becomes a critical tool for this group (+11% indicated it was important vs. the peer group). It expands their access to qualified care beyond geographical limitations, offering a valuable avenue for personalized consultations. This group skewed a bit younger than their peers (average age 37), which may indicate increased comfort with a technology-forward approach.

Seeking a personalized healthcare journey. Dissatisfaction in this context is not merely dissatisfaction with the system; it’s a reflection of unmet individual needs. These patients were more likely to be seeking treatment for an existing condition (+8%), which makes it all the more important that their doctor understands their specific health goals and guides them with expertise.

Implications for Healthcare Providers: With such high patient loyalty scores in the Southeast, competition for new patients is fierce.  If attracting new patients is your goal, it’s important to understand the distinct needs of the potential customers that are up for grabs. While our primary study highlighted important themes to all patients in the Southeast, this cross-section attempts to put a spotlight on the unmet needs of those who will be seeking a new doctor this year.  Providers can attract this group by amplifying credentials, highlighting specialist expertise, and embracing telehealth options.

Stay tuned for deeper dives into regional trends, tech’s role in healthcare, and practical tips to help with all your healthcare marketing.  


Cary Murphy

Chief Strategy Officer

Cary Murphy is our Chief Strategy Officer at Brandon. He has been in marketing for over 30 years, starting his own agency from scratch and growing it into a market leader. He sold his agency to Brandon in 2016 and joined their leadership team, bringing his expertise to a wider audience. He’s also our category leader for B2B and CPG, working with clients such as Nucor Steel, Wastequip, Green Giant, Idahoan Foods, and Victory Beer. He helps clients create brand stories and strategies that increase sales, boost customer loyalty, and generate media coverage. He doesn’t settle for the status quo or conventional wisdom. He finds hidden connections and patterns and turns them into compelling narratives that resonate with customers. Cary is a smart and inspiring leader who challenges and supports his peers to do their best work. He believes that discipline is more important than motivation, and that good habits are more powerful than goals. Cary is a leader who combines talent, experience, and passion, with something else. A skill that he learned and honed over decades of practice and experimentation. A skill that helps him uncover the remarkable in both people and products.

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