Online reviews have become an essential part of the patients’ decisions when selecting a new healthcare provider. Our analysis of over 1,500 physicians suggests that, unless managed, online reviews mostly reflect the outlooks of a few unhappy patients, not the actual patient satisfaction. Given that online reviews are a significant factor in the decision process when selecting a provider, managing an online reputation is highly essential.
The RepuGen Patient Review Survey provides deep insight into:
We conducted a survey in July 2020, among 1431 people, across the U.S., aged 18 and above and asked them a series of questions to understand their online behavior and review habits. Read on to find out what factors patients consider while selecting a healthcare provider.
The key findings show that most patients are checking online reviews of healthcare providers before deciding to schedule an appointment with them. With so much information available online, patients are making well informed decisions about their healthcare options.
We were not surprised by the drop in the importance of reviews among the patient population over the age of 60 since they are more likely to be using the same healthcare providers for a longer period of time and remain satisfied with their experience.
The data reiterates the importance of online reputation management for healthcare providers, since when reviews are left unmanaged, the actual patient satisfaction level reflected by the reviews is generally skewed by a handful of unsatisfied patients.
The significant implications of this finding for healthcare providers are
Since 79% of the population rely on reviews of healthcare providers during their selection process, the review-site trustworthiness findings suggest that
A cursory check of reviews on different platforms for almost any healthcare provider will show a lack of recency on many review platforms. The data above shows that not all patients check all relevant review platforms, which means a provider runs the risk of a prospective patient checking a review site with stale data and getting rejected. Healthcare providers should compile reviews on all relevant sites, display it by recency, and make sure that patients find the compiled version on their website and Google search for keywords like "Dr. xxx reviews”.
These findings came as a surprise because it shows that patients are more accepting of older reviews than other business segments like restaurants, etc., where consumers tend to ignore reviews over three months old. Patients appear not to expect a drastic change in healthcare providers' services over time.
The recency of reviews is still essential because the smaller percentage of patients still only trust recent reviews. The more recent the review, the better! Healthcare providers should work on strategies to get reviews on a regular basis.
The suggested solution above about compiling all reviews in one place by recency would mitigate the need to generate recent reviews on all platforms.
The need for at least ten reviews on all platforms makes it imperative for healthcare providers to have a strategy that works on acquiring more reviews regarding their services and the quality of care they provide on all platforms regularly.
If a healthcare provider compiles all reviews in one place and makes it easy for patients to find the compiled version, the patient requirement will be addressed.
Since referrals and the reputation of a healthcare provider are the dominant factors, providers should create an effective reputation management strategy to have a stellar online reputation and a marketing program for generating referrals from happy patients. Specialist providers should develop and execute a plan for acquiring referrals from the referring physicians.
The findings show that healthcare providers cannot solely rely on their insurance networks to maximize patient acquisition. They need to improve their reputation because their prospective patients will compare their online reputation with their peers in the network. A focused plan to improve patient satisfaction to generate more referrals from them and managing their online reviews diligently is required to retain and acquire more patients.
This data shows that the lifetime value of new patients for dentists is enormous, especially since a satisfied new patient is likely to bring their family members and recommend their dental services to their friends. Dentists need a strategy to attract new patients consisting of tracking and improving patient satisfaction, managing their online reputation by getting regular reviews from all patients on all relevant review-platforms, and getting a robust Google presence.
As is the case with dentists, medical healthcare providers can retain a higher percentage of their patients and generate a steady flow of new patients to their practices. Whether you are a private practice, an urgent care center, surgical centers, specialty hospitals, or a large institute, execute a strategy of consistent patient satisfaction tracking, accumulate new reviews on all relevant platforms, and ensure a robust online presence.
Contact us for more details regarding this study. There are numerous amounts of data which include the breakdown by gender, income group, geographical regions, etc. We would be more than happy to share this data since it could help you recognize the value of managing online reviews by physicians. It is not fair for either patients or healthcare providers if their online ratings do not reflect their actual patient satisfaction. Patients could end up making a sub-optimal selection of a provider, and patient-centric providers may miss out on new patients because of poor reviews by a handful of their unsatisfied patients.
Product Marketing Manager