Healthgrades Operating Co. Inc., which operates online directory Healthgrades.com where consumers can search for a doctor, has redesigned its website to provide consumers with better tools and information to find doctors and book appointments.

The new web site was developed in-house by Healthgrades over 18 months and built using responsive design to make the site render across any mobile device or desktop computer. Nearly half of all daily visitors to Healthgrades.com—more than 500,000—view the site on a mobile device, the company says.

The upgraded Healthgrades.com enables consumers to filter their physician search by scheduling an appointment online. Research from consulting firm Stax Inc. reveals that enabling consumers to search for a doctor online to schedule an appointment plays a key role in their decision to choose a doctor, because once a consumer finds a doctor she likes, she typically wants to schedule an appointment on the spot, says Healthgrades chief marketing officer Andrea Pearson.

Consumers can also search for physicians using such filters as whether the doctor accepts new patients, schedules same day or next day appointments and has office hours during the evening and on weekends.

To help facilitate online scheduling, Healthgrades has made its website able to integrate with electronic medical records platforms that include online appointment scheduling tools, such as Epic Systems Corp.’s MyChart platform.

Integrating with electronic medical records platforms that include online appointment scheduling enable physicians affiliated with a hospital or health system using those type of medical record platforms to offer online appointment scheduling as part of their Healthgrades profile, Pearson says. Not all physicians listed on Healthgrades offer online scheduling.

Already, several health systems such as Oschner Health System and Mississippi Baptist have added online scheduling to their provider’s profiles on Healthgrades.com. Nearly two-thirds of health systems will offer online scheduling for all of their physicians by the end of 2019, says consulting firm Accenture.

“Integrating with platforms such as Epic’s provides a fast road to adding more physicians that can offer online scheduling,” Pearson says.

Another key addition to Healthgrades’ redesigned website is the inclusion of information in physician profiles about the conditions the doctor treats, procedures the doctor performs, and quality rankings for the hospital with which the physician is affiliated.

The Stax study, which was commissioned by Healthgrades, reveals consumers are 82% more likely to book an appointment with a healthcare provider if their profile includes experience, patient satisfaction scores and the quality of hospitals where they practice.

“Moving this kind of data front and center in physician’s profile gives consumers more ways to choose a provider using criteria that is meaningful to them,” Pearson says.

Healthgrades.com features more than 7 million consumer physician reviews. Physician ratings are based on patient reviews which are conducted through a questionnaire on Healthgrades.com. The questionnaire includes a comments section.

More than 75% of consumers that visit Healthgrades.com to find a doctor search more than one physician, and more than 50% of those consumers make appointments, Pearson says. In addition, 29% of visitors to Healthgrades.com investigate referrals from their primary care physician.

“Most visitors to Healthgrades.com that make appointments do so within a week,” Pearson says.

Healthgrades did not reveal the cost of development for the new site.