What Do US Health Consumers Care About Most? Check Out the HealthSparq 2015 Health Care Shopping Trends Report


Did you know that people in the Western United States take better care of their colons than the rest of the US population? Or that people search for more health procedures in the Summer? These may seem like strange facts for a marketing agency to know, but thanks to our client HealthSparq, we know more about things like vasectomies and labor and delivery than most.  

Our PR work with HealthSparq over the past two years has been creative and fun.The award-winning startup empowers people to make smarter decisions about their health care with a suite of tools that provides pricing and quality information about more than 400 common medical procedures. That means patients can comparison shop for hospitals and doctors before scheduling an appointment.

Pretty ingenious, right? But as is the case for any technology startup, there’s always more to learn about your users to inform better products. Why not create a report out of those learnings that helps other health companies, and the broader healthcare industry, understand how people shop for health care?

Creating the 2015 Shopping Trends Report

Grady Britton and HealthSparq went deep into the company’s user data to understand who out of the 74 million people across 70 US health plans (and counting) with access to their tools is shopping for health care,  and what health procedures they shop for the most.

We analyzed data from 237,000 people who had used HealthSparq to search for more than half a million cost estimates in 2015, and found some surprising results.

The HealthSparq 2015 Health Care Shopping Trends Report is the culmination of that investigation into HealthSparq’s expansive customer data set. Here’s a sample of the stories, statistics, and insights the report brings to light:

  • Most HealthSparq shoppers are ages 25–44, and women make up the majority (62%).
  • People in the Western US search for colon health two times more often than people elsewhere in the country.
  • The most active months for labor and delivery searches are July, August, and November—the same months in which the highest numbers of babies are born, according to the CDC.
  • Men search the most for birth control surgeries.

The Results

We uncovered a few overall patterns that speak volumes about the modern health care consumer as well. We found out that people are shopping for both expensive major life events and everyday procedures, and that season and location significantly influence shopping habits.

We also stumbled across some terrifying, hilarious, and outrageous search queries:

(Warning: if you’re squeamish, skip the list below…)


  • “tree fell on me”
  • “lightning strike”
  • “human bite”
  • “ring cut of finger”
  • “belly button removal”
  • “double vasectomy”
  • “hyena repair”
  • “outpatient predator”
  • “brain replacement”

…and my personal favorite: “cat transplant.”

We’re proud to say that the 2015 Health Care Shopping Trends Report not only provided a rare glimpse into the motivations shaping the US healthcare market, but generated substantial press for the company as well. In the first few months since the report has gone live, nearly 300 online publications have picked up the story. Additionally, HealthSparq reached over 1,300,000 Twitter accounts during a single #HITsm (short for “healthcare IT social media”) tweet chat.

Check out the 2015 Health Care Shopping Trends Report for yourself! Click here or visit shoppingtrends2015.healthsparq.com.


Post Date
September 29, 2016
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