In today’s interconnected and social media world, consumers rely on reviews to help make informed decisions on everything from which brand of shoes to purchase to where to make dinner reservations.
It’s not just consumer goods being researched: Healthcare research and decisions are based on internet searches, online reviews and recommendations on social media.
In fact, our latest national consumer study found the internet is now the number one source of information about local doctors and hospitals, surpassing recommendations from friends and family. Almost one in three people (29 percent) say they get most of their healthcare information online, while 72 percent say they look up at least some health information on the internet. They’re not just Googling their symptoms; savvy healthcare consumers are researching reviews to determine which doctors and specialists they want make an appointment with and cost estimators to determine how much a suggested procedure will cost.
With the plethora of reviews and information online, it leads providers and health systems to ask:
- How do we cut through the noise?
- How can we be discovered?
- How should we monitor and use the feedback posted online about our practice?
It starts with excellent patient care. In addition, it’s vitally important to know where information about your practice is posted online and then engage with patients in those places. PRC is your full-service partner providing resources to help your organization provide excellent care as well as a transparency tool powered by Doctor.com
Excellent patient care
First and foremost, you have to provide great care and an excellent patient experience. A positive patient experience and effective, compassionate communication go hand in hand. When communicating effectively, one is not only carefully choosing their words, but also paying attention to nonverbal communication being exchanged–facial expressions, eye contact, posture, gestures, etc.
When patients feel listened to, cared for and a personal connection with a provider, they will want to share–whether when a friend asks for a recommendation on Facebook or with a Google review.
Online presence awareness
Where is it that your practice is mentioned online? We know that patients today are not simply taking into consideration the information on your website to make their healthcare decisions. They’re reading reviews and soliciting recommendations on social media. Therefore, it’s important to take an inventory of your online presence. Our transparency tool can help with this; but if you’re doing it yourself, a few places to start your search include:
- Google My Business
Once you have a grasp of your online footprint outside of your practice’s website, you’ll need to claim your profile, update any missing or incorrect information and address reviews.
At this point you’re ready to extend the positive patient experience outside of the clinic or hospital walls and into the online world. Keep in mind that today’s patients want a conversation–an open dialogue–in both the online and clinical setting. This goes back to the first step of providing excellent care through effective communication. However, communication online provides the added challenge of removing all the nonverbal cues. Our partner, Doctor.com provides some direction as you get started in a recent blog post The Vital Dos and Don’ts of Healthcare Reviews. For example, while you can’t be intimidated by bad reviews, you also shouldn’t ignore them.
Reputation management today is so much more than it was for previous generations of health care professionals. At the same time, there is increased opportunity for open communication with patients and a heightened awareness of health. The best way to manage your reputation is to provide excellent patient care, assess your online presence and engage in the conversation. We’re here to help by providing a customized experience to help you achieve excellence in all that you do.