Providing exceptional, personalized service is the first step to increasing patient retention and new visits. But it means nothing if you aren’t internet-verified. An extremely vocal, disgruntled patient can spread contention online and suddenly new patients are hard to come by.
Online reviews have made millions of businesses… and broken countless others. A recent survey noted that 94 percent of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians. Reputation management companies have noticed a growing trend of patients comparing reviews across multiple review sites.
Consider how your practice will be viewed by patients. Many reviews cover the following areas:
- Communication (physician takes time to explain conditions and treatment)
- Effectiveness of the treatment and/or appointment
- Involvement in the decision making process
- Waiting room and office environment (includes noise and comfort levels)
Influential Patient Review Sites
The following are commonly searched sites. Google, Healthgrades, RateMDs and Yelp tend to be the most popular, but the list continues to shift and grow. It’s a good idea to first focus on the most popular review sites, and then expand your monitoring over time. You can also ask your patients where they find their information to help you target.
Be aware, some sites allow paid advertising. Some of the ranking sites also reward physicians for customizing their profile, replying to reviews, and/or publishing.
- Google – Often the first stop on the physician search, this search giant offers tips on claiming listings and responding to reviews.
- Healthgrades – Beyond its one to five-star ratings, Healthgrades recognizes facilities and programs for top-performing patient safety and excellence.
- RateMDs – The site notes it has more than 2 million reviews.
- Yelp – Originally viewed as a retail-driven rating platform, today patients are using Yelp to rate or air their grievances.
- Angie’s List – Reviews are based on an A-F rankings.
- CareDash – A one to five-star review system.
- Facebook – Patients review individuals and facilities. Administrators decide whether to allow the reviews to be visible on their sites.
- Local Magazines/Newspapers – Many large cities have local rankings of Best/Top Doctors that are influenced by patient reviews and physician surveys.
- U.S. News & World Report – All health rankings, including best programs and hospitals, are based on peer reviews.
- Vitals – Typical one to five-star ratings.
- WebMD – One of the most popular medical search tools by patients, this also features a one to five-star rating.
- ZocDoc – Beyond the traditional rating criteria, ZocDoc’s rankings focus on patient’s view of the physician’s bedside manner and wait time.
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