With a surge of patients relying on the internet to choose healthcare providers, staying up to speed with review sites and processes is absolutely essential to business in healthcare today. According to a recent Gartner report, “consumers trust insights from their peers more than any other source; 78% of Americans say they trust their peers, versus just 40% who trust corporations.” Even to the point of consulting peer reviews before buying a product or making important decisions relating to their health.
The report continues, “ratings and reviews play a critical role in conversion. 60% of consumers have consulted reviews prior to making a purchase in the past 12 months.” Knowing this, how are you making the most of your online reviews?
If you’re ready to generate more patient reviews and acquire new patients, here is a checklist to help you get started.
1. Become familiar with review sites.
There are a host of patient review sites out there, usually compiled with public information from the government National Provider Identifier (NPI) Registry. Some review sites are industry specific, like Psychology Today for mental health professionals or Dentistry.com for dentists. Other sites congregate all kinds of medical reviews and are sorted out by your profession, location, and types of insurance accepted.
The review sites you choose to incorporate and manage might vary based on the type of your healthcare practice. But some common sites to be familiar with might include
- Rate MDs
- Web MD
- Google My Business
Each review site has different categories for patient evaluation and a varying rating system. In addition to checking out example profiles and patient reviews, you might read up on the best practices for each site to learn how you can optimize your listing. The help/support center usually has guidelines to help you get started. Read about specifically targeting reviews on HealthGrades here.
2. Claim your Business on review sites
Once you are aware of the review sites out there, the next step is to actually claim your healthcare business on each site.
Because your listing is compiled from public information, patients are already leaving reviews of your practice whether you’re aware of it or not. Claiming your business on each review site enables you to add in helpful information like your specialties, a unique bio, your philosophy to patient care, the types of insurance you accept, a profile picture, and more.
After your listing is claimed, your profile will be verified and you can respond to patient reviews. This is a great way to engage with patients, let them know how much you value their feedback, and also appear in more searches.
3. Ask for reviews via text
No matter what review site you are wanting to boost your reputation on, asking for patient reviews via text message is the optimal way to generate more reviews. Text messages have a 98% open rate and 95% are opened and responded to within three minutes of being delivered. And 9 out of 10 customers prefer to interact with a business via text message anyway.
You can have staff explain to patients in person how the reviews work, how they help you, and that they can anticipate a review request via text message. Or you can opt for digital messaging solutions through the whole process. Regardless, patients are ready to hear from healthcare systems via text.
In Monument Healthcare’s case, implementing a text-based approach to review requests helped them connect with more patients, collect more reviews, and show up better online. In just eight months they doubled their five-star review rate, increased average review ratings by 26.4%, and received 6.5x more reviews per month. They also saw an 8% increase in calls coming in directly from their Google My Business listing.
4. Ask for reviews via email
Emails may have a lower open rate than text messages, but it’s still a digital solution that patients crave over traditional methods of communication. Almost half of all emails opened are opened on a mobile device. And 66% of people check their phones 160 times a day. Email is a platform people are familiar with, can navigate easily, and can follow through with the links and calls to action. And since 77% of people are willing to leave a review if asked, it’s always worth asking.
5. Link to your online listing from your website
You can also include a link to your online reviews from your website. Once your healthcare business is claimed, most sites give the option to add a badge or widget to your website. When patients or potential patients visit your website, they’ll see that you value patient satisfaction and are on top of managing reviews. This will help you rank well in search engine results and acquire new patients as your reputation grows.
6. Automate the patient feedback process
Timing matters in the ask for patient reviews. Review requests are the most effective post-appointment when the patient experience is still fresh. Automating texts or emails directly to the patient to ask for feedback and/or a review keeps the process simple and straightforward for patients and staff.
An automated text or email can be an important touchpoint in patient engagement and customer communications. And 73% of patients want to be asked for feedback a few minutes to a few hours after a care event anyway.
Even after becoming familiar with review sites, reputation management and patient communications can still seem a daunting task for enterprise health systems.
Gartner research recommends Podium as a dedicated platform “to aggregate feeds from multiple review sites or to provide a deeper analysis of review content, review cultivation capabilities or location management (such as Google My Business reviews).”
We can’t help but agree. To see how Podium can help you manage your online reviews across multiple sites, automate your requests, and acquire new patients, check out a free Podium Reviews Demo.