- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On September 23, 2015
- Online reputation management
Long Island’s North Shore-LIJ is the latest health system to post physician ratings on its own website, giving patients and prospective patients another option when choosing a doctor and helping it compete with commercial sites like Yelp, ZocDoc, and Healthgrades.
While the total number of health systems to take this step is still small, North Shore-LIJ isn’t alone—the Cleveland Clinic launched hosted physician reviews earlier this year and others have done the same. With leading health systems taking matters into their own hands instead of letting third-party sites continue to dominate the marketplace, the trend is almost certain to accelerate in 2016 and beyond.
The ratings posted to North Shore-LIJ’s website are based upon surveys collected by Press Ganey, a US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-certified vendor. Patients can rate physicians on a 1–5 scale on qualities including friendliness, communication, clarity, concern, and attentiveness as well as their level of confidence and whether they’d recommend a physician to a friend or family member.
If executives at your own hospital or health system have considered following in North Shore-LIJ’s footsteps but the medical staff has reservations, here are several things to keep in mind:
- Statistically significant sample sizes: North Shore-LIJ and the Cleveland Clinic both show ratings on physician profiles only when 30 or more patients have submitted reviews, negating fears of small sample sizes skewing ratings and biasing patients.
- Verified patients: With most third-party rating sites, anyone can post a review of a doctor—whether they’ve actually seen that doctor or not. Because North Shore-LIJ and the Cleveland Clinic rely on data from certified vendors, all responses are from verified patients.
- Top physicians recognized: North Shore-LIJ isn’t just posting reviews to its website—it’s also recognizing the physicians who are rated by patients as the best in the system. Those with the top five patient scores receive Patients’ Choice Awards, giving added incentive to maximize performance and setting role models. Those who don’t fare so well can take advantage of extra education and training to improve their interactions with patients.
- Oversight and appeal: If a comment is deemed to be vulgar or a personal attack, it won’t be published on North Shore-LIJ’s website, and if a physician believes a review to be false, they’re able to appeal the rating.
Getting everyone on board may be tough, but the benefits of such a move can be huge:
- Increased transparency: Healthcare providers everywhere are trying to become more transparent in recent years. By displaying reviews right there on physician profiles on your website, you can show patients that you and your staff have nothing to hide—and that you welcome feedback as a way to continuously improve your services.
- Improved search rankings: Google loves reviews because its users love reviews. Adding physician reviews to your website could boost you over those commercial review providers, meaning your website would be the first thing prospective patients see when they’re looking for a doctor. That additional search traffic will mean more brand recognition and more conversions—and that’s one thing your physicians are sure to love.
Want to read more about taking control of your online reviews and other hospital marketing trends? Download our free ebook 13 Imperatives for Hospital Marketers from 13 Top Experts.