Online patient reviews: A must-have tool for medical practices

Online patient reviews: A must-have tool for medical practices

by Aimee (SU)

If you’ve Googled yourself or your practice lately, you’ve probably noticed star ratings associated with your name. Reviews of businesses are now common-place and medical practices and their providers are no different. An industry report was released in November 2014 by SoftwareAdvice.com, detailing the latest trends in online patient reviews for doctors.  Highlights from the report are listed below – which one surprises you the most? 

Patients using online reviews from 2013 to 2014 increased by 68%.

The most utilized review sites in 2014 were Yelp, Healthgrades, and RateMDs. 

Number of patients who use reviews to select a new doctor: 61%.

The large majority (81%) of people would give a positive or neutral review of a doctor online, according to a university study (Hanauer, et al, JAMA, 2014). 

So what are patients looking for when they read online reviews from other patients? 

For doctors, the information most patients look for in a review is 1) quality of care; 2) patient rating scores; and 3) overall patient experience. An accurate diagnosis and a doctor’s listening skills are also top priorities. 

For the office and staff, 25% of patients think wait time is an important factor when choosing a doctor, and (in a previous report) 41% would prefer to switch doctors if it meant they would wait less.  Staff friendliness and ease of scheduling and billing/payment issues were also high on the list. 

The Software Advice report gives some great advice for physicians:

“To benefit most from this data, doctors should consider encouraging patients to rate the quality of care they receive. This can be done by sending patients email reminders with a link to the physician’s online profiles asking them to leave a review. There are also reputation management services, such as [iHealthSpot] that advise physicians on strategies to improve their online presence.”

“Physicians should also keep in mind that negative reviews are not nearly as prevalent as many think. Those that do occur, however, should be responded to very carefully in order to protect patient anonymity (and remain in compliance with HIPAA). Most reviews are positively motivated, so focusing on increasing the quality of care via improved diagnostic accuracy and listening skills is, according to our data, the best way to ensure a greater number of positive reviews.”

Online reputation management is a service we offer to iHealthSpot clients

The aim is to monitor patient reviews online, promptly address any negative or false information, encourage patients to share their positive experiences with the doctor, and promote those testimonials on social media.  Individual doctors and group practices are drawn to this service because it allows them to take full advantage of online patient reviews without doing all the work. With iHealthSpot managing your reputation online, you can focus on creating positive patient experiences that will turn into dozens of positive testimonials. 

If you are interested in our service, contact us today, toll-free at (877) 709-0999 and request a FREE consultation. We’ll evaluate your online ratings and provide a plan of action for monitoring your reviews and increasing your positive reach online.

Read the full Software Advice report here.