A study shows that patients – in their role as “empowered consumers” – are relying on online review sites like Yelp and Healthgrades to find a new doctor.
In “2013 IndustryView Report” by software resource Software Advice, 62 percent of survey respondents said that they turn to online reviews (posted by other patients on doctor and medical review sites) in order to find a new doctor. Healthgrades ranked as the most used site (43 percent of respondents), while Yelp was deemed by 44 percent as the most trustworthy, ranking well above Healthgrades (31 percent), Vitals (17 percent), ZocDoc (7 percent), and WebMD.
Asked what sort of information they’re looking for exactly, 45 percent of patients said that they are looking for information about quality of care.
The study, based on a survey of over 4,500 patients in the US, demonstrates once again the growing influence of user-generated content (online reviews) on consumer behavior – in sectors that include medical services and healthcare. It also serves as a call for doctors, physicians, and other industry professionals to take on a more active role in monitoring online reviews and protecting their online reputation.
(Check out: “85 Percent of Doctors Now Actively Manage Patient Reviews”)
Healthcare tech company Digital Assent published a similar survey showing that approximately 8 out of 10 patients (82 percent) said that reviews influence their willingness to be treated by a doctor.
Addressing physicians and doctors, Software Advice wrote in its report: “With so many patients using online reviews as a means of finding a new doctor, patient review sites could be a great marketing channel for your practice, helping you attract patients who otherwise might never have found you.
“The best way to boost your online review impact is to ask your patients to leave reviews for you. Get creative: consider offering an incentive such as a giveaway for patients to leave reviews. You could also ask patients how they found you, and focus your efforts on getting those who found you through online reviews to leave reviews for you – they’re probably more likely to do so since they’re already familiar with the reviews sites. You should also make sure your information is up-to-date on review sites, and work to keep it updated over time.”
For more information, check out some of the graphics from Software Advice’s report:
(Infographic Software Advice)
Today, it has become even more important for healthcare providers to manage customer feedback and improve the patient experience. More than 80 percent of doctors monitor their ratings and reviews, according to a study by online doctor rating and review company Vitals.
A great approach to delivering care is to focus on the entire patient experience and treat patients as individuals as opposed to only treating the patient’s illness or disease, according to Ara Telbelian of Henry Ford Health System.