A report by Software Advice indicates that 82% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians and 72% use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor. Just how important are on-line reviews — 48% of the respondents indicated they may go out-of-network to see a provider with favorable on-line reviews.
Internet review sites such as Yelp, Vitals, and HealthGrades have a direct impact on revenue and the ability to attract new patients. According to a study by Athena Health, dismissing patient’s online rants jeopardizes the online reputation. The good news is, online rating sites can provide a valid source of patient referrals.
The bottom-line: Positive on-line reviews will attract new patients and support revenue growth, while negative reviews will dissuade new patients and lessen revenue growth.
Effectively Manage Online Reviews — 3 Major Considerations
- Online Patient Engagement
Central to an effective on-line presence is the willingness of the practice to embrace a culture that engages in consistent, timely communication with patients via on-line websites. Adopt an engagement strategy where the key focus is to deliver professional, customized replies to all online comments and reviews. Demonstrating to your patients — and prospective new patients — that your practice is willing to engage patients on-line encourages trust and credibility. Thank patients for every positive review, and respond to negative reviews in a professional, empathetic, and factual manner.
- Be proactive
Online reviews often times represent the first exposure of your practice to a prospective new patient. Type your practice’s name in a search engine and review the results. Is the first page of the search results covered with positive reviews? If so, great, if not, there are solutions that will help (more about that right below).
Responding to negative reviews: Being proactive and empathetic is important. Regardless of how bad a negative comment may be — always respond. Failure to respond, at best, may be interpreted as being indifferent, and at worse, misinterpreted as “guilty” of the disgruntled patient’s allegation.
- Use on-line reviews as a catalyst for positive change
Online reviews offer physicians important information regarding the patient’s perception of quality of care and level of service. Reviewing every patient review will sometimes uncover potential areas for service improvement, particularly when service failure trends are apparent.
The Solution: Choose a patient feedback software that incorporates both internal and external patient feedback. M3-Patient Experience® when coupled with M3-Advocate® is unique in that aspect.
M3-Advocate, MedicalGPS’ patent pending physician reputation management software allows physician practices to increase social media reviews AND improve social media ratings. M3-Advocate obtains and evaluates patient feedback from M3-Patient Experience®, continuously. As patients provide same-day or next-day feedback regarding their most recent office experience, an analysis of the patient experience is performed using M3-Advocate algorithms, resulting in an Advocacy Quotient – a measure of the patient’s level of loyalty to the provider and practice. Patients that qualify as ‘advocate-loyal’ are identified, sent a warm expression of appreciation, and invited to leave a review of their most recent office experience on major social media sites such as HealthGrades, Vitals, Google+ and others.
Once set in place, M3-Advocate runs continuously, automatically, behind the scenes, ensuring a steady steam of very happy patients are always leaving 5-star reviews for your practice on-line.
M3-Advocate is currently being utilized by thousands of physicians across the country, giving them a unique, powerful advantage when it comes to attracting new patients via on-line reviews. Contact MedicalGPS today and let us help with building and managing your online presence.