5 Simple Ways to Maximize Your Patient Reviews For 2020
Patient Reviews & You
Patient reviews, despite their anxiety-producing nature, can facilitate an intimate relationship between patient & clinician. Clinicians should consider reviews, of any sort, to be a primary insight into how they’re performing. As it is, feedback is the norm for many medical practices, whether it’s online or in person, because it allows one to introspectively view their work ethic daily.
As you may know, the top doctor review websites - HealthGrades, Vital, or RateMDs - are the ‘go-to’ for ‘who’s who’. It’s a subtle shift from the world of referrals as the old word-of-mouth rides off into the sunset. A recent survey report has revealed the most influential aspects that patients search before entering the waiting room. Patients comment that the “number of reviews, average star rating, and convenient walk-in/appointment hours" impact whether they proceed with their preferred physician.
So how does a patient review relate to you? It correlates to your experience inside and outside of your practice. It speaks about who you are, in the way that others see you. It describes how well you communicate with another individual - as a professional and a human being. The greater details focus on how much you’re willing to share: of yourself, of your time and attention, your thoughts, and your empathy. Are you seeing your patients? Do you greet each one by name? Does your attention dart across the room? Do you address them with an understanding smile and comforting presence, or are you simply standing and talking at him/her?
You may do all of this and more but there is always further insight into the motivation behind positive and negative reviews.
Key Data on Patient Reviews
This survey features responses from about 839 people regarding their methods for finding a medical provider:
- 74.6% of the patients preemptively searched for a physician online
- 69.9% of the patients stated how crucial it was for a healthcare provider to have a positive online reputation
- 51.8% of patients who had submitted negative online reviews had not been contacted regarding their issues. Of patients 45 and older, 73.7% were not contacted either.
- Patients are immensely grateful when their dissatisfactions are addressed by the physician. The rate of patient satisfaction, after their problem was resolved, was seen to double, increasing by 99%.
In September 2017, a similar article, done by ZocDoc, examined the adjectives patients most commonly used when describing their physician in a satisfactory or unsatisfactory light. About 50% of positive reviews included the words, ‘friendly’, or ‘excellent’ to describe the physician. Negative reviews, however, frequently used the words, ‘rude’ or ‘unprofessional’, to describe logistical circumstances like waiting time, office and support staff, and insurance. These results imply that positive reviews are mainly left when describing the healthcare professional but negative reviews are made when there is a logistical error or disappointment.
Methods for Improving Patient Reviews
- 360 Degree Feedback: As we’ve established, patient reviews provide an essential form of self-analysis but what about feedback from your office staff… and what about yourself? This information will allow you to gain a deeper perspective on the subject of expectations. Maintaining a positive work environment will help prevent some of the popular complaints that are logistical: parking, waiting time, insurance, and staff professionalism.
- Get to Know Your Patients: Spend time speaking with your patients in order to normalize the experience. Friendliness, trustworthiness, and reliability all develop themselves naturally through personal connections. Listen to their issues, provide multiple options for treatment, if one isn’t suitable, and learn to convey medical information as easily as possible.
- Respond To Comments: It’s a positive development when you acknowledge an area that you may have underperformed and reassure the patient that their opinion matters. Although negative comments can be discouraging, remember to reply courteously, professionally, and gratefully. Maintain HIPAA confidentiality if responding on a site where your comments can be seen by others.
- Follow-Up: Many physicians don’t realize that their relationship with patients begins before they meet and continue after they leave the office. Physicians should focus on utilizing every point in the patient’s journey - from the first impression online to post-appointment follow up - to emphasize that they care.
- Appreciation: It’s an honor to be seen in such a respectable light. It’s a testament to your dedication when people come to you for their ills and woes. Thank your patients for allowing you to express your gifts. Matthew Bates, Managing Director of Healthcare coaching and consulting firm, Studer Group, commented that one medical group focused on incorporating this principle into every visit and was able to rise from 3-stars to 4.5-5 stars. Patients report that it differentiates them from local competition.
Managing your online reputation is necessary to stand out in today’s fast-paced and digital healthcare market. Not only do patients leave ratings and online reviews, but they make referrals on social media, which can definitely increase your clientele. Utilizing patient feedback, you can monitor online reviews and resolve issues that will motivate patients to leave an honest and positive review.
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