Online reviews of healthcare providers are becoming more prevalent — and raising concern among physicians, practice managers and marketers alike. Any patient with access to the web can write reviews and affect online ratings of your providers. The number of review sites is growing. And the unfortunate fact is it’s often the most unsatisfied patient who makes the effort to write reviews of your physicians and your practice.
Consumer review websites such as HealthGrades.com, Vitals.com and Yelp.com are among the busiest, and dozens of other physician-specific ratings sites are growing rapidly and place high within search engine results. This means when your potential patients search the web for your physicians or your practice they may find negative reviews made by other patients.
It is essential to be aware of what’s being said about your practice as quickly as possible, both positive and negative. While you can’t have negative reviews changed or deleted (unless they are grossly untrue or unnecessarily inflammatory), you can act to promote positive
Our healthcare clients often come to us with the dilemma of how to combat a few incendiary online reviews — and to cultivate more positive ones. First, we develop a program to review and monitor what’s being said. Then, we create a system to amplify positive experiences from the often-silent majority of satisfied patients.
On the web and during the office visit, we begin to ask patients very directly if they would be willing to leave positive feedback about their experience with the practice. Together, we always uncover a ton of positive feedback, some of which is from patients willing to further relate their story on the practice’s website in the form of testimonials. Any negative feedback is routed to appropriate managers within the practice, who can quickly contact patients and work to resolve issues. It’s a win-win scenario for the practice and the patient.
We know that every practice is unique and faces unique challenges, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to cultivating your online reputation. However, we’ve learned that taking the time to establish and maintain a program that monitors online reviews while proactively seeking and amplifying positive feedback, we can support a practice’s overall brand by sharing positive patient experiences. This also formalizes a system for staff to directly address an unhappy patient before they go online to vent.
If you would like to learn more, request our healthcare marketing e-book here.