As healthcare becomes more consumer-centric, online reviews carry added weight. Negative reviews on sites like Yelp and others can drive patients to other providers, hurting bottom lines and damaging provider/hospital reputations.
But there's something doctors can do about it: address the negative reviews.
A new Patientpop survey of 839 patients found that patients like it when their doctors respond directly to their negative online reviews and can increase patient satisfaction rates by almost double. The rate of dissatisfaction can drop as much as 59 percent.
Addressing negative reviews can not only salvage a provider's brand reputation, but it can increase reimbursement, since reimbursement is increasingly tied to patient satisfaction metrics.
And patients are turning to the internet more and more to get information on providers. The survey showed that 75 percent of respondents have gone online to get information on their doctor.
The number jumps to 86 percent when focusing on patients between the ages of 30-44. And in that group, 65 percent check online reviews while 40 percent said they post their own.
The most popular website for posting and viewing reviews was Google, followed by the practice's own website, then Yelp and Facebook. More than half of patients, 52 percent, said they had written a negative review online and had not been contacted by the practice to address their grievances.
When choosing a provider, nearly 70 percent of respondents said they consider a positive online reputation to be very or extremely important.
In 2018, an analysis showed that of nearly 2,700 online reviews of the nation's top 20 hospitals as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, almost two out of three reviewers gave the facilities a mediocre to poor rating on Yelp.
Hospital executives wondering how to approach online reputation management should consider these findings when crafting that strategy or advising staffers who do so.
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