Why Does Online Reputation Matter in Healthcare?

The Orginal blog was published on Forbes : Why Does Online Reputation Matter in Healthcare?

Have you ever wondered why online reputation matters? If a great practice offers top-tier care, why are online reviews even important?

It’s because, according to my company’s recent research, 81% of patients evaluate reviews before choosing a healthcare provider, so online reputation can make or break new patient acquisition. This is because online reviews help prospective patients understand the level of patient care the provider offers and help them to determine which doctors they should select for their healthcare needs. Healthcare businesses with a strong online reputation can also help curb a patient’s anxiety and send the message that they are to be trusted with their care.

How Online Patient Reviews Can Affect Provider Reputation

We know that many patients consider online reviews when they’re making a decision about their healthcare providers, but how do online reviews truly impact a practice’s reputation?

According to Deloitte, “In 2018, 53 percent said they were likely to use a tool to look up quality ratings for specific physicians or hospitals, but only 23 percent did so in the past year,” but this gap was shrinking. In my experience, their decision-making process for selecting new healthcare providers relies in part upon what other patients are saying about practices online.

With consistent and positive reviews, a business can show prospective patients that current patients are satisfied with the practice’s care.

How Can Healthcare Providers Improve Their Online Reputation?

Acquiring and managing online reviews is helpful for a healthy online reputation as a healthcare practice. You can successfully manage your online reputation by having a plan with targets and goals that your practice can strive to meet.

Here are some aspects to consider to help improve your online reputation:

1. Ask Satisfied Patients To Leave Online Reviews

Without actively recruiting and encouraging patients to leave reviews, many patients will not take the time to write one. Simply asking patients to leave an online review will remind patients to share their great experiences with the practice.

2. Build A Team Of Staff Members To Manage Reviews

Divide tasks and responsibilities among staff who will be in charge of frequently checking and replying to reviews.

3. Develop A Plan For Reading And Replying To Reviews

Sketch out a framework of how to reply to both positive and negative reviews. Consistent and kind answers can go a long way toward building a healthy reputation, showing the quality patient care that doctors provide, and building trust with patients.

4. Gather Actionable Insights

Review what patients are saying about the practice to gather insights about anything that needs to change in order to increase patient satisfaction. 

How To Ask Patients For Reviews

Encouraging patients to leave reviews is important for boosting your online reputation. Since unhappy patients may be more likely to share their negative experience while happy patients continue on with their days, the simple act of asking patients for a review can help your practice acquire more online reviews.

Here are five simple ways to encourage patients to leave a positive review for a healthcare practice:

1. Link To Your Online Listings On Your Website

By placing Google, Healthgrades, Facebook and other review site links on your website, you can direct your patients to check out your online reviews and share their positive feedback. 

2. Hand Out Instructions

If patients are not familiar with how to leave an online review, hand out printed instructions to help them through the process.

3. Send Automated Emails

Set up an automated post-visit email to help to encourage patients to spread the word by leaving a review. 

4. Send Postcards

In my experience, people still enjoy getting personalized postcards. Try mailing out a post-visit “thank you” postcard with a note asking them to leave a review.

Because many patients base their choice of a new healthcare provider on patient reviews, the effort you put into acquiring and managing reviews can lead to acquiring and retaining more patients as well as bringing overall business growth to your healthcare practice.