Traditionally, patients had limited access to healthcare information before visiting a provider. They relied on hospitals or the organization for a clue on the quality of physician services, including medical quality and bedside manner, according to a 2019 study published on PubMed Central.
In contrast, the internet today provides more channels for acquiring pertinent information about physicians and other medical providers. And among the online channels, those centered on patient reviews prove important for many people.
Recent healthcare reputation management research revealed that 81 percent of patients consider online reviews in their decision-making process. Further, their choice of a doctor or hospital is affected by three key pieces of information found in these reviews:
- Patient sentiments/comments on the quality of care received
- Average star ratings
- Total number of reviews
So, there should be no doubt about the importance of online reviews to physicians, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and the like. With that established, this blog aims to tackle related topics, helping healthcare providers engage patients before a consultation is booked, influence their choices and, simultaneously, improve patient experience. The topics are as follows:
- Reasons you should be proactive in generating physician reviews
- The importance of addressing negative feedback
- Ways to collect and manage reviews for doctors and hospitals
Reasons You Should Be Proactive in Generating Doctor and Hospital Reviews
Review generation refers to the process of asking for feedback through different digital channels. This brand reputation management method helps boost your online presence. In turn, better online visibility allows you to build your authority and credibility among customers.
Every brand or business generating reviews proactively can enjoy the above benefits. But those are top-level items. What about the specific gains that healthcare providers can achieve if they dedicate company resources to asking for hospital or doctor reviews from patients? Of course, they exist and are typically the driving factors for our medical clients doing review generation:
Engage Patients Before They Book Even Book a Consultation
The same healthcare reputation management study from earlier found that 60 percent of people read 10 or more patient reviews before choosing a doctor, hospital or practice. Whether this number refers to feedback coming from you alone or alongside your competitors, it shows that the majority engage with this type of health information during the decision-making process.
What is it like in action? Let’s say you have several recently posted positive reviews. These comments talk about your quality of service and the overall customer experience – e.g., you’re easy to reach and take your time while seeing patients, and your office is accessible. The sentiments expressed in the patient reviews can influence reader perception and elevate you in their eyes. If you have at least 10 of those, you can build a consistent brand image before your potential customers.
Be Highly Visible and Competitive in Search
Increased instances of customer feedback can place you at the top of search results and ensure your target audience finds you online. That’s because the constant flow of doctor and hospital reviews catches Google’s attention. Taking it as a sign of brand relevance and good reputation, the search giant raises your local search engine optimization (SEO) scores.
This is one way proactive review generation can benefit your practice. However, search engine reputation management experts stress the significance of integrating this approach with a local SEO strategy to achieve gradual yet sustainable growth.
Manage Your Practice’s Online Reputation
Allotting budget and bandwidth to acquiring reviews through privacy-compliant means can bolster your reputation not only as a physician. It can also pave the way for people to learn solid information about your practice. Note that reviews for doctors and their practices are often separate. But both can work hand in hand to provide potential patients with a deeper understanding of a physician and the organization they belong to.
Why It’s Crucial To Address Negative Doctor Reviews
Approximately 40 percent of those who read physician and hospital reviews won’t pursue a provider with negative feedback. That’s about two out of five potential patients who might not become a lead due to bad reviews. Anyone in the industry, not just online reputation management companies, will tell you it makes good business sense to fill this gap. So, how can you turn this around then?
On top of streamlining your review generation efforts, this is where you should be more conscious in your review response. This aspect of hospital reputation management services takes your brand voice and uses it to speak directly to a customer. Review response turns critical and negative patient reviews into two-way conversations. In these conversations, you acknowledge the people behind the less-favorable comments.
Moreover, publicly addressing negative feedback can reduce its impact by as much as 70 percent, according to reputation management consultants.
With over 66 percent of patients expecting a reply from healthcare providers, it’s not entirely impossible to win back dissatisfied ones with a well-timed, reasonable response. Also consider the cumulative effect on prospects reading the exchange and evaluating how you handled the situation.
Yet, a word of caution: You might be in danger of violating Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) regulations if you divulge a patient’s information in your response. To ensure you’re doing healthcare brand reputation management the right way, familiarize yourself with the best practices in review generation, response and more. We discuss these in the next section.
Best Ways To Collect and Manage Reviews for Doctors and Hospitals
Now that you know the importance of online reviews in healthcare, let’s look at the best review management strategies you can adopt for your brand or practice:
Keep Your Customer Survey Forms Short and Simple
Soliciting hospital and doctor reviews is a form of asking a favor. So it would be smart and strategic to package it as a satisfying experience, nothing less. If you say it will only take the respondent two minutes, make good on your promise and request only the essential details, such as:
- Satisfaction rating
- Reason for the rating
- Areas for improvement
- Whether or not they will recommend you to others, and why
You may also employ a hospital reputation management tool like a QR code to encourage more patients to write reviews without the fuss.
Improve Patient Experience
Use the insights gleaned from existing feedback to introduce some changes to your practice. For example, they could be related to your quality of service, such as taking more care in how you engage with patients. At the same time, reviews could point to loopholes in processes, such as complicated steps in booking appointments and long waiting times for baseline assessments.
Respond to Negative Physician Reviews Promptly
Respond to good and bad reviews within 24 hours. This practice can help build trust, prevent an irate customer’s situation from escalating and even encourage a patient to update their review.
Leverage Social Media
Ask patients to stay in touch through your social media accounts. They can follow you and share their experience on your page. If they’re not open to leaving a review right away, just continue to engage with them and let them know you value their thoughts.
Observe HIPAA Rules
The HIPAA privacy rule can restrict your response to reviews. This exists to protect “individuals’ medical records and other individually identifiable health information.” So, limit the details you disclose in your replies. Steer the conversation, especially with an angry customer, so that it becomes possible to continue it offline.
Work With Healthcare Reputation Management Experts
Even if you understand the importance of online reviews as a concept, you may be facing some challenges regarding its implementation. Short-staffed medical providers may struggle to find the time to create and execute a brand reputation management strategy. Doctors, nurses and caregivers may not be able to focus on their duty if they have to handle the daily activities related to review generation, response and monitoring.
And yet, you cannot simply set aside online reviews. In this case, it’s more efficient and cost-effective to partner with professionals. The best online reputation management companies can assist you in streamlining and strengthening your review management efforts. It’s their goal to get you a positive brand image that builds your credibility among patients.
Let Us Walk You Through the Next Steps
The digital transformation has reached and driven some significant changes in the hospital reputation management space. Specifically, online reviews have held a more direct sway on patients’ decision-making process in recent years.
Rize Reviews has witnessed this tremendous shift. And through all that, we have chosen to adapt and are here to share with you the benefits of innovating search engine reputation management.
Leverage our reputation management tool, the Rize software, alongside our reputation management services. Our experts automate review generation, review monitoring and review response so you can focus on fulfilling your duty of care to your patients. Yet, you can stay on top of your online physician reviews, reputation and results through periodic reports and access to real-time data.
Let us guide you in engaging potential customers, becoming more competitive in search, working to improve patient experience and achieving conversions. Contact us today and tell us what you’re looking for, and our experts will figure out something for you.