72% of patients use online reviews to find a new doctor. So what are you doing to protect the reputation of your doctors, clinics, private practices, hospitals, and the overall healthcare system? Consumer healthcare reviews are one of the most important factors that influence a new patient’s decision to work with a doctor or healthcare system. Here’s a look at how reviews affect healthcare reputation management.
How Do Patients Look for Healthcare?
Online healthcare reviews can be found on several different types of review sites. Reviews can be found on the sites of the individual health system, healthcare-specific review sites like Healthgrades, ZocDoc, and RateMDs, and more popular sites like Google and Yelp. According to a 2017 study by the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 57% of patients trust third-party sites like Yelp or Healthgrades compared to the 45% of patients who said they trust the healthcare organization’s website for reviews.
82% of patients surveyed in a study by Software Advice, reported that they look at review sites to view or post a comment about healthcare staff. They also reported that 48% of respondents said positive reviews would influence them to go to an out-of-network doctor if they were better than the in-network doctors. For patients, healthcare reviews play a powerful role in their decision-making process.
How do Doctors Manage Online Reviews?
A high majority of doctors (78%) agree that online reviews lead to increased job-related stress. When the success of your career relies on patient reviews, it’s easy to feel the weight of those reviews. Of those surveyed, 46% of doctors feel that online reviews can put a strain on the doctor-patient relationship. Because people are choosing to share their dissatisfaction online, instead of in-person, it can weaken the trust between the patient and their physician.
Since not every site for healthcare reviews allows doctors to respond to patient reviews, it’s not always easy for doctors to tell their side of the story. Which is why it’s always important for doctors to give patients a chance to feel heard and offer feedback in-person. This can prevent the need for patients to post negative reviews online. In addition to offering in-person feedback, doctors should actively respond to the online reviews on sites that allow responses like Yelp.
Do Healthcare System Reviews Matter?
When it comes to online healthcare reviews, their effect can hit institutions the hardest. According to a study by Vanguard Communications, 84% of negative reviews on Yelp referred to service issues like billing problems, poor communication with the health system, or extensive wait times to see a doctor as their main area of concern. These types of reviews are a direct reflection of the healthcare system and not the doctors or staff.
Healthcare institutions receive significantly lower ratings than their doctors. According to that same study, 62.7% of patients ranked top hospitals as three stars or less. Contrary to that, 66% of patients rated their doctors as 4 stars or higher. When it comes to managing reviews, the healthcare system has a lot more to manage than doctors do. This is especially important when protecting the reputation of the healthcare institution is essential to bring in more patients.
How to Manage Healthcare Reviews
1. HIPAA Compliance
When it comes to managing reviews in healthcare, it is extremely important to make sure your responses are HIPAA compliant. You cannot disclose any protected patient health information in your response. Even if the patient willingly includes their own information in their review, that does not give you permission to respond with information about their health.
In order to avoid this, we always recommend offering to bring the conversation offline. Leave a phone number for the patient to reach you so that you can discuss their information one-on-one. Here are some more guidelines on keeping responses to healthcare reviews HIPAA compliant.
2. Respond to Reviews Quickly
46% of consumers expect a response from a brand within 6 hours. That’s not an easy feat, especially without a tool to help you manage reviews. Reputation management systems like Chatmeter, make managing reviews easy. Our software alerts you of new reviews and sets the priority to negative reviews. Our workflow management makes it easy to delegate tasks to doctors, medical staff, legal, and customer service. We help keep you organized so you never have to worry about missing another review.
3. Keep up with ALL your Listings
Did you know that doctors can have separate listings from their healthcare institutions? With thousands of doctors, hundreds of clinics, dozens of hospitals and other service locations under a single institution, managing the listings and reviews for all of these is no easy feat. If you haven’t made sure your listings are claimed and up-to-date across every site, you could have reviews that go unresponded to.
Facebook is one of the biggest culprits of duplicate listings as a check-in by a user can create a business page for a doctor or otherwise if not yet claimed. Removing duplicate listings is vital to making sure your patients are heard and responded to. Managing your listings is the first step to improving your reviews.
Managing healthcare reviews is not easy, but it’s vital to the success of your healthcare institution and its doctors. Patients are actively seeking reviews to make informed decisions about their healthcare. If you don’t have a plan to monitor and respond to reviews you could be losing out on potential customers.
Want to see how Chatmeter makes managing reviews in the healthcare industry easy? Sign up for a free demo to learn more.