The Growing Importance of Online Reviews in Healthcare

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Online reviews are now a part of virtually all industries, from restaurants to retail and everything in between. It’s not surprising, then, that the healthcare industry is not immune to this growing trend. Whether you’re a small business or a large hospital system, online reviews are going to affect your reputation and ultimately your bottom line. In fact, nearly 80 percent of people of all ages now rely on online reviews and physician ratings before choosing a new doctor [1].

“Nearly 80 percent of people of all ages now rely on online reviews and physician ratings before choosing a new doctor.”

With this in mind, it’s important to understand how online reviews could affect a healthcare system or physician’s overall reputation, as well as how online review platforms can be used more effectively for the purpose of hospital growth and development.

How Do Online Healthcare Reviews Work?

Just as a diner at a restaurant might log on to a review site and post his or her experience, whether positive or negative, to help other people make a decision about where to eat, so can a patient who’s seen a particular doctor or had a recent hospital stay. A patient might leave an online review outlining wonderful care, communication, and follow-up at this facility, while another may choose to leave comments about where the hospital or doctor’s office could improve.

Then, when other people who are looking for a new doctor need a little help making a decision, it’s now more likely than ever that they’ll look online to read these types of comments before making a choice.

“Young Millennials— aged 18 to 24—are more than twice as likely to trust the recommendations of others before choosing a new doctor than are people 55 and older.”

According to a 2015 survey, young Millennials— aged 18 to 24—are more than twice as likely to trust the recommendations of others before choosing a new doctor than are people 55 and older [2]. This shows a trend, especially in younger generations, to ask around and check online before making healthcare decisions—something that wasn’t necessarily available to past generations.

Benefits of Reviews and Honest Feedback from Patients

The idea behind online hospital reviews isn’t to create a stressful environment for healthcare workers. In fact, the goal is just the opposite. With honest, constructive feedback from patients, hospitals and its staff members can take the right steps to increase patient care and satisfaction. When patient satisfaction increases, the reputation of the hospital and physicians organically increase as well, which can ultimately lead to higher revenue and more new patients.

Another piece of the puzzle has to do with government funding for Medicare. The higher the patient satisfaction rating of a particular hospital, the higher the Medicare payment can be. Conversely, very low satisfaction ratings and complaints could cause a healthcare system to lose up to two percent of if its Medicare payments [3].

Finally, with large pools of data and feedback from patients, hospitals have the ability to adapt to changing healthcare needs and trends, build trust and lasting relationships with patients and their families, and continue to offer the highest level of care possible.

Optimizing Online Reviews of Your Facility

One of the biggest concerns that hospitals have regarding online reviews is how to handle the inevitable negative comment in a sea of positive ones. The truth is, however, that you can easily combat the few negative reviews that are bound to spring up here and there by increasing the number of patients from whom you obtain a review. With a larger number of total reviews, you can increase your overall rating and decrease the percentage of negative reviews.

“One way to increase the likelihood that a patient will provide feedback is to utilize an automated messaging system such as the Tine Health Patient Relationship Management Platform.”

One way to increase the likelihood that a patient will provide feedback is to utilize an automated messaging system such as the Tine Health Patient Relationship Management Platform. This system is an end-to-end communication tool that allows doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff members to more effectively communicate with their patients using automated appointment reminders, video tutorials, aftercare recovery instructions, follow-up messages, and answers to common questions.

Along the way, Tine collects vital information and survey feedback from your patients to accomplish several end goals. The first is to highlight the areas in which your patients had a positive experience versus areas that could be improved upon. Secondly, Tine uses that information to understand exactly which patients had an overwhelmingly positive experience and who would be the most likely to leave a stellar review for your hospital. Lastly, Tine encourages those patients to leave feedback based on their experience, which can help to drive new patients to you through great online reviews and word-of-mouth referrals.

The Bottom Line

Hospitals, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers shouldn’t shy away from online reviews and building their online reputation. The reality is that our fast-paced, high-tech world is now moving in the direction of instant online communication, making it impossible to run a successful business without participating in online reviews, referrals, and reputation-building.

Taking advantage of online review sites and honest patient feedback can be hugely beneficial for any healthcare organization. If you’d like more information about how the Tine Health Patient Relationship Management Platform might be able to help you increase patient satisfaction and attract additional positive reviews and referrals, take a look at our FAQ page, or schedule a demo today.

 

[1] Becker’s Hospital Review

[2] MobiHealthNews

[3] Harvard Business Review

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