- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On November 2, 2015
- Online reputation management
Reputation management for hospitals and health systems is a lot like the Wild West. Many different websites compete for consumers’ attention, often reviewing hundreds of doctors at each location, and the fact that healthcare as a whole lags behind other industries in digital innovation means that many hospitals and health systems are still trying to figure out what to do about it. The situ
A number of major health systems have tried to restore order by posting reviews on their websites, but no matter where prospective patients read reviews, they’re going to be swayed towards competing hospitals and physicians if they see a lot of dissatisfied patients. How you deal with negative reviews could have a serious effect on how many prospective patients you convert online and help you get fewer in the future.
Think like a patient
Hospitals that monitor their reviews closely have discovered that there can be quite the disconnectbetween patients and physicians when it comes to what makes a good visit. Doctors expect to be graded on clinical outcomes, but more often than not patients care more about kindness and convenience.
Put another way, your hospital could boast the finest physicians in the region and still suffer negative reviews online if their bedside manner is less than optimal. Factors such as wait time and the amount of time doctors spend with patients could also be driving ratings down no matter how well your medical staff is performing.
Isolate the problem
By thinking how your patients think, you can identify what’s really causing them to post negative reviews. Correcting the problem could mean providing additional training to help doctors improve their bedside manner or changing the way appointments are scheduled so patients spend more time meeting with their doctors and less sitting in waiting rooms.
Don’t ignore the rest of your staff
Your physicians aren’t the only ones getting reviewed online. A negative rating on one of their profiles could be not about the listed physician at all but about one of their nurses or receptionists. If the first person patients see when they enter an office makes a bad impression, it casts a pallor over the entire appointment, making them more likely to leave negative feedback online and visit another doctor in the future.
Solicit positive reviews
The vast majority of patients could be leaving your offices perfectly satisfied, but prospective patients reading comments online won’t know that if the happy patients don’t submit reviews. Platforms that follow up with patients and ask them how their appointment went can refer them to third-party rating sites if they’re satisfied or provide them with a way to submit feedback privately if not. Do this long enough and you’ll be able to surround negative reviews with many more positive ones.
Don’t sweat the occasional bad review
Savvy Internet users have come to recognize that universal praise isn’t always a good thing. While there’s nothing wrong with striving for perfection, the occasional negative review mixed in with a large number of positive ones makes the whole group look more real and more credible. Negative reviews are a problem when they’re the only reviews (or a sizable percentage) or when they point to larger problems with personnel or organization.