- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On November 6, 2015
- Online reputation management
If you don’t know what patients are saying about your hospital or health system online, you’re missing critical information that prospective patients certainly aren’t missing when they look for you online. But with more than 50 websites rating physicians, monitoring every patient review is next to impossible for most hospitals.
Making matters worse is the fact that ratings are often based on a small number of reviews, not all of which are from verified patients. Small, inaccurate samples make physicians unhappy and can even mislead patients looking for help with major health decisions.
How marketers are dealing with that problem has been one of 2015’s biggest hospital marketing stories. These three health systems are setting the trend for 2016 and beyond.
University of Utah Health Care
The list of health systems adding reviews to their own websites keeps getting longer, but the University of Utah’s health system started it all. The move to post reviews on its website in 2012 was part of an organizational commitment to improving patient satisfaction, and a year later outpatient satisfaction had risen from the 38th percentile to the 75th, with a similar rise in inpatient satisfaction.
Patients clearly appreciate the transparency, judging by physician profile traffic numbers thatnearly quadrupled in a year. More than 50,000 patients respond to the patient satisfaction surveys annually, in part due to the fact that they’re emailed instead of mailed. The high response volume means that the ratings are more accurate than those published elsewhere, making them more valuable to prospective patients. There’s also SEO value, because Google rewards reviews and ranks them more highly than third party sites that might otherwise attract much of that traffic.
The Cleveland Clinic is the best-known system to have posted satisfaction ratings on its website. It did so in April 2015 after a few years of sharing them internally in an effort to show physicians how they compare to their peers and improve the overall patient experience.
While much of the overall process is the same as the one as the University of Utah, the Cleveland Clinic is taking the idea a step further by adding ratings for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who handle many duties once limited to doctors. The Cleveland Clinic also plans to add quality information like complication and readmission rates for its physicians, increasing transparency even more and enabling patients to make the best decisions about their health.
Virginia’s Carilion Clinic isn’t one of those systems that’s published its own satisfaction ratings, but it does use new technology to track ratings on nearly a dozen third party sites in real time. Whenever a negative review is posted anywhere, the software alerts the system’s reputation management team so they can deal with it. Even though the system has more than 500 doctors, they only get around two reviews below four stars every day. Still, the monitoring strategy allows it to stay on top of emerging trends and see exactly what prospective patients will see.
Read more about online reputation management and other hospital marketing trends for 2016 in our free ebook, 13 Imperatives for Hospital Marketers from 13 Top Experts.