If you read part one in this series, you know how important it is for a healthcare review to be fair and credible. After all, these are the online reviews people read when they are at their most vulnerable. Luckily for the majority of people researching their care, there’s no shortage of healthcare reviews; many people love nothing more than sharing their opinions online. As part of this camp, I can attest that the world of online reviews seems to be custom made just for my compulsion to tell everyone what I thought of an experience. However, just as with reading online healthcare reviews, I’m extraordinarily careful in how I write them. I want my reader to be as informed as possible and therefore put much more care into these reviews than I do into my thoughts on a new restaurant.
Remember that reviewing a physician or an institution will influence how other people seek healthcare—a much bigger responsibility than a restaurant review which helps strangers choose a local steakhouse. If you don’t have genuine and objective insight into how they practice medicine, it may be best to forgo a Yelp or Google review this time. Instead, if you’re selected, consider responding to the survey the provider shares, either online or via a phone call. These surveys are conducted by a third-party organization (like us!) and share results with the federal government to help build a fair and accurate database of patient experience information.
If, however, you think you have good insight and the time to share it thoughtfully, many potential patients will be happy to read a review of your healthcare experience. After all, the 2019 PRC National Consumer Study showed that over half of people read and consider reviews when selecting a provider. With that in mind, consider the following tips for writing a helpful, credible online healthcare review.
Weigh both sides. Detailing both the pros and cons will not only help provide more information for the reader, but will also help to give your review credibility—clearly you aren’t just someone with an ax to grind. A gushing review that has nothing critical to say may also seem like it’s written by someone with a personal relationship with the physician or hospital.
Concision is key. Nobody wants to read a long paragraph detailing your conversation with the receptionist, even if she was rude. A simple “the receptionist snapped at me when I asked about wait time” is much better than relaying the whole exchange for your reader.
Break your thoughts up into short, skimmable paragraphs. Much like this blog is easier to read because of these short lists, your reader will appreciate a review written the same way. Let each point be a paragraph and don’t worry if your review doesn’t look substantial enough.
Check your bias. It’s easy to let a subconscious bias influence your perception of care, but noting things like the caregiver’s race, appearance, gender, or religion is murky territory and unhelpful for readers. It’s best to simply refer to hospital staff by their title and avoid further descriptors.
Ixnay the Exaggeration. Using phrases like “the rudest nurse ever” and “the world’s smartest doctor” may seem like they paint a colorful picture. In reality, however, they simply undermine your credibility as a reviewer and frustrate the reader who is looking for facts, not your exaggerated assessments. Leave them out of your review.
NO SHOUTY CAPITALS. Online readers no longer associate ALL CAPS or lots of exclamation points with emphasis. Instead, many savvy readers interpret these uses as being written by someone with poor computer literacy, so remember not to yell at your reader!!!
Don’t defame yourself or your provider. It may go without saying, but be sure to write the truth, especially since making false claims about poor care can end in lawsuits and costly troubles. When in doubt, leave out information or details you think could raise a red flag further down the road.
Overall, healthcare reviews are an important part of 21st century medicine, but just because they’re inevitable doesn’t mean they should be unreadable. By writing measured, thoughtful reviews, you might just help someone else have an excellent patient experience.
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