The Smart Medical Practice

What Docs Need to Know About Online Patient Reviews


online patientreviewsPatients are turning to online reviews more than ever to select a physician. This is due, at least in part, to the empowerment of information and an awakening desire of the American public to take responsiblilty for their own health. And that’s a positive (caveat-emptor being the negative). Increased competition for the patient means more treatment choices, and as patients turn to the internet to research their choices, they are hoping to find a medical expert they can turn to for care. But what does this mean for you and your practice? A recent survey, found some interesting facts that reflect how consumers are finding the doctors they use, what criteria they look for when searching, and what influences their choices most.

The Most Popular Isn’t Necessarily Most Trusted

Though more people used Healthgrades to find dentists, doctors and hospitals, Yelp is the site that they trust the most when it comes to reviews. It is interesting to note that people under the age of 35 use Yelp most often and find it more trustworthy. In order to ensure that patients from all demographics can find your practice, it is important that your information is on both sites and that it is accurate.

The First Step in Finding Health Care: Online Reviews

The overwhelming majority of those consumers who used online reviews did so as the first step in finding the care provider they need. In fact, 62% of respondents stated that they did so, making the necessity of utilizing these review sites as a marketing tool crystal clear.

Patient Interests Vary

From a patient’s point of view, the most important criteria they are searching for when looking for a new health care provider is the quality of care. Many people took into consideration the ranking of the physicians by their patients when they searched. An accurate diagnosis was a key component in determining if a patient felt the health care provider delivered the expected quality of care. It is important to ask for detailed feedback from your patients that leave reviews. Be sure to address negative comments promptly and courteously.

Experience and Expertise Matter

Patients feel more confident in a health care provider’s abilities when you have more experience. The number and areas of certification are also important. Academic background and age were also noted as factors that people look at when they want to find the best doctor for their needs. Be sure to highlight these areas in your listing on review sites.

Important Administrative Considerations

While the health care provider’s knowledge and experience are highly important, a common complaint among online reviewers is the length of time they must wait. Nearly a third of those people surveyed indicated that they look for details about wait times. This figure is higher than those people who stated that information about payments and billing are most important.

Ensuring that your practice runs smoothly instills patient confidence and goodwill. Address reviews that indicate unhappiness with wait times by outlining the steps you are implementing to reduce the problem. Better yet, be proactive in this area and utilize a comprehensive practice management system that streamlines every aspect of your practice. Doing so positions your practice when it comes to putting your patients first.
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