• Your online reviews play a prominent role in your prospective patients' decision to choose you as their physician
  • Your online reputation is visible to everyone. 94% of your prospective patients will check your reviews before making their decisions. Manage your reputation so that it reflects actual patient satisfaction, not views of a few unhappy ones.

In this Book

  • Patients have a choice
    • Perception of patients matter
    • Review sites that patients trust & visit
  • Asking patients to leave reviews
  • Why you should manage reviews

Patients have a choice.

  • With easy access to online information and reviews, patients have a lot of options to consider when choosing a hospital or healthcare provider. And you may not make it to their list.
  • Patients check online reviews to find out what other patients say about a particular hospital or doctor. Keep in mind that from your point of view, these reviews may not always portray health organizations accurately, especially if the reviews are unmanaged.
  • In a survey conducted by Software Advice in 2020, over 71% of respondents claimed that they check online for reviews for finding a new provider. And 23% of them would do it even if someone would have recommended the provider. Altogether 94% of patients are looking for you online and checking your online profiles on review sites.
  • These stats are enough reasons for you to have a robust online positive presence and build your reputation.
  • Most healthcare providers view these review sites with distrust because patients have usually left negative reviews on those profiles. And sometimes, this may be the only review that patients see on your profile, turning them off.

Perception of Patients Matter

  • According to a study, patients feel most engaged and involved when their healthcare provider treats them with respect. Patients also reported courteous behavior by nurses and other staff members as an essential part of their experience. Patients feel valued when their physicians are concerned about their health and have answered all of their questions.
  • With social training skills, this is easy to achieve once you have a process in place.
  • Prospective patients build their perception about you based on your online reviews. The data collected in the survey below suggests negative reviews do not make much impact if you have responded to them. 56% of patients will ignore negative reviews if a doctor has responded appropriately to it.

Review sites that patients trust and visit

  • A great way to improve your healthcare practice reputation is to list your practice on doctor review sites. There are many online review sites where you can register yourself or your healthcare practice. The sites get millions of visitors every month, which you can tap to be your patients. According to a recent survey, 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate doctors. If your practice has no reviews online, prospective patients would think twice before making an appointment.
  • Below are 10 top doctor review sites for healthcare providers, listed in no particular order, which can help improve your online reputation, gain trust and new patient leads.
  • #1. Healthgrades: With over 19 million visitors per month, you want your practice listed on Healthgrades. The directory has a searchable database of the hospital, dentist, doctor profiles, and reviews of the doctor. The site also posts content about specific medical conditions and issues in a section called “The Right Care.”
  • #2. Vitals: Vitals gets slightly over 3.4 million visitors a month and ranks 151 in the health category. At the directory, patients can search for practices based on name, location, specialty, patient reviews, and insurance accepted.
  • #3. RateMDs: RateMD allows patients to search for physicians by name, location, specialty, gender, and check patient reviews. The site also has a forum and blog where patients can get their health questions answered.
  • #4. WebMD: This is a health research forum with a doctor's directory. With over 2.4 million visitors a month, WebMD is one of the best physician review sites. At WebMD, patients can rate doctors based on how well they explain conditions and treatments.
  • #5. Yelp: Yelp allows users to rate local hospitals and clinics, and provides the most helpful reviews. Having great reviews on the site can lead to a stream of foot traffic to your practice
  • #6. Zocdoc: ZocDoc has an online and mobile appointment service setting and charges a listing fee. Patients can search for practices based on provider name, location, specialty, reviews, and insurance accepted.
  • #7. Google My Business: Google My Business allows you to create free profiles for your practice. The profile will appear when someone searches for you with complete information about your location, service hours, contact information, and, most important, your reviews on Google. Most of the searches for a provider starts at Google, so you must have several excellent reviews on your Google profile. Lots of good reviews on your Google profile will also result in your name showing up high for searches of your specialization in your city.
  • #8. Facebook: Millions of patients use Facebook to search for nearby clinics when they have a health problem. Having a profile on and good reviews will allow you to stay in touch with your patients and connect with new prospects.
  • #9. U.S. News Doctor Finder: In this directory, patients can search for doctors by name, location, years of experience, specialty, and gender. Physicians can update their profiles to upload photos, contact information, insurance accepted, hospital affiliation, and experience.
  • #10. CareDash: CareDash aims to make hospital and doctor information more transparent, inclusive, and accessible. The site has doctor and hospital ratings and, while relatively new, is steadily gaining more traffic.

Asking patients to leave reviews

  • Our experience with managing over 1,000 physicians' online reputation shows that a vast majority have high patient satisfaction. Still, it does not reflect on their online reviews because their few unhappy patients tend to write most of the reviews. You need a process to ask more patients to write reviews about your healthcare practice seamlessly, and you will start seeing reviews start to reflect the actual patient satisfaction of your practice.
  • It would be best if you manage your online reputation because online reviews matter.
  • Consider these statistics gathered from various sources:
    • 92 percent of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews
    • 90 percent of people say that the online reviews they read influence their decisions
    • 54 percent of people say that they typically visit a website after reading an online review
    • 88 percent of people trust online reviews written by people they don't know as much as they trust the recommendations of people they do know.
  • A study suggests that unhappy patients will complain, on average, to at least 9 (or more) people as compared to the happy patients who will share their great experience with no more than five people. Reputation is made and destroyed on the web through good and bad reviews! You can not do anything directly about unhappy patients writing harsh reviews online because they are self-motivated. So they will go to every review website (where they have accounts in their name) to show their anger. However, you can always encourage your happy patients to share their true feelings about you with others.
  • You can do it by providing them with a platform that eases the process of writing and posting reviews. That platform is a reputation management software. When you ask patients to write about their experience soon after their visit, they feel more involved and important, increasing their feeling of belongingness and, therefore, encourages them to write reviews. See? Online reviews matter, which is why you need to have a strategy for convincing your top-tier patients to provide them--without becoming a bother.

Here are 12 simple but efficient ways to elicit reviews for your healthcare practice from your patients.

  1. Just Ask Them Directly to Write a Review
  2. Link Your Online Listings from Your Website
  3. Go Old School
  4. Ask via a Personalized Email
  5. Automate the Patient Feedback Process
  6. Go Really Old School (Snail-mail)
  7. Make a Thank You Video and Include CTA
  8. Ask Patients on Social Media
  9. Make the Call
  10. Add a Little Encouragement into the Mix
  11. Make It Part of Your Routine
  12. Asking Your Patients to Write and Post Reviews with RepuGen or any other software.
  • Online reviews have become essential for both patients and physicians. Over 90% of patients use reviews as part of their healthcare provider selection process. Data shows that healthcare providers' online reviews do not correctly convey their actual patient satisfaction level since unhappy patients are the most likely to leave an online review.

Why should you manage reviews

  • When healthcare providers manage their online reputation, they can get online reviews from both happy and unhappy patients, resulting in their online reputation accurately portraying how their patients feel about them. Thus, aligning reviews with actual patient satisfaction helps patients pick the right provider when selecting a doctor based on their online reputation.
  • To better understand the importance of managing patient reviews, we analyzed our clients' data by specialty, who started managing their reviews through our online reputation management software – RepuGen.
  • Once they started using the software, their total number of reviews and average star ratings on different review sites increased. Still, we found that their overall actual patient satisfaction levels stayed around the same, as shown in the tables below.
  • The table below shows the number of online reviews each specialty had before using RepuGen, and the number of reviews that those specialties had after using RepuGen:
Specialty # of Reviews Before Using RepuGen # of Reviews After Using RepuGen
Cardiology (47 providers) 41 527
Dentist (7 providers) 112 575
Dermatology (31 providers) 338 718
Primary Care (440) 2740 14872
Urgent Care (113 providers) 233 770
Neurology (52 providers) 111 1048
Paediatrics' (40 providers) 137 766
Orthopaedics (26 providers) 55 519
Oncology (30 providers) 109 281
  • The table below shows the average review score (on a scale of 5) that each specialty had before using RepuGen, and the average online review score after using RepuGen. Please note that a patient would not consider a provider with less than 4.0 star ratings.
Specialty Review Score Before Using RepuGen Review Score After Using RepuGen
Cardiology (47 providers) 4 4.6
Dentist (7 providers) 4.3 4.4
Dermatology (31 providers) 3.4 3.7
Primary Care (440) 4 4.6
Urgent Care (113 providers) 3.8 4.1
Neurology (52 providers) 3.6 4.4
Paediatrics' (40 providers) 4.3 4.7
Orthopaedics (26 providers) 3.7 4.3
Oncology (30 providers) 3.8 4.1
  • The below table compares each specialty's average patient satisfaction score (on a scale of 10) when they started using RepuGen and their satisfaction score as of now (5/12/2020).
Specialty RepuScore (30 Days After Started Using RepuGen) RepuScore Now
Cardiology (47 providers) 9.5 9.6
Dentist (7 providers) 9.7 9.5
Dermatology (31 providers) 9.4 9.5
Primary Care (440) 9.3 9.4
Urgent Care (113 providers) 8.9 8.9
Neurology (52 providers) 9.2 9.3
Paediatrics' (40 providers) 9.3 9.3
Orthopaedics (26 providers) 9.7 9.6
Oncology (30 providers) 9.5 9.6

So What Does This Mean?

  • Managing your online reputation will give prospective patients a better understanding of how your patients genuinely feel about your practice, which will help them make a more informed decision.
  • Achieving Constructive Online Reviews
  • Physicians or health care organizations should examine patients' comments and ratings on online review sites and compare them to their actual patient satisfaction levels. They should ask patients for feedback and online reviews through automated surveys to start improving their online reputation to work towards matching it to their actual patient satisfaction.
  • Contact RepuGen for more information about managing your online reputation and taking proactive steps to align your online reviews with your actual patient satisfaction level.

Reviews If Not Managed Can Hurt Patient Acquisition Efforts

  • Patients now trust online reviews more than recommendations from family or friends. 43% of patients even go out of their insurance network to choose a provider with favorable reviews. Since many patients now use online reviews to narrow down provider choices, and since online reviews typically understate the actual patient satisfaction, online reputation not appropriately managed can hurt patient acquisition efforts.
  • We understand that most healthcare providers are patient-centric, and all they need to do to improve their online reputation is to get more of their patients to leave online reviews.
  • Additionally, with constructive reviews and patient feedback, physicians can take appropriate measures to increase their quality of care and patient satisfaction.

Reviews If Not Managed Can Prevent Patients from Making the Best Selection

  • If your online reviews do not closely match the actual level of quality care that you are providing at your practice, it can prevent potential patients from selecting you and opt for someone with a lower quality of care but better reviews. Reviews not aligned with the actual patient satisfaction results in patients not making an informed decision, thus bad for both patients and doctors.
  • Additionally, physicians or healthcare organizations need to respond publicly to reviews and rectify any mistakes or misunderstandings. At the same time, they must respond within HIPAA standards. Responding to online reviews to thank patients for feedback or addressing issues will help patients to see you care about feedback and help them to make the best selection.

The way forward

  • Physicians or health care organizations should examine patients' comments and ratings on online review sites and compare them to their actual patient satisfaction levels. They should ask patients for feedback and online reviews through automated surveys to start improving their online reputation to work towards matching it to their actual patient satisfaction.
  • Contact RepuGen for more information about managing your online reputation and proactive steps you can take to align your online reviews with your actual patient satisfaction level.
  • The lifetime health spending of a patient is about $1.4 million per individual or $4.2 million per family. Therefore, it is vital to retain patient loyalty so that this spending stays with your practice. RepuGen can help you do that at a very nominal cost.