Online reviews continue to make a big impact on service-based businesses across multiple sectors and industries. Consumers are checking reviews not merely to find restaurants and hotels; they’re also checking reviews to find doctors and make major decisions involving their health and well-being.
Findings from a new patient satisfaction survey by marketing firm Digital Assent reaffirm once again the increasing reliance of consumers on online reviews. According to survey results, a staggering 72 percent of patients say that negative reviews will likely prevent them from choosing a particular doctor. Moreover, 42 percent say that it takes only two to five bad reviews out of a hundred to discourage them from seeing a particular healthcare/medical professional.
The study, from Digital Assent’s first annual “Online Patient Review” survey, was released just shortly after another report – this time by the American Osteopathic Association – showed that approximately 33 percent use doctor ratings and consumer review sites as a main tool for finding physicians.
Popular review sites for doctors and hospitals today include Yelp, Vitals, HealthGrades, Wellness.com, and Dr. Oogle.
According to the new study, 50 percent of patients believe that positive online reviews and high ratings on any of these sites could convince them to choose a particular doctor. Only 18 percent of respondents say that reviews have no influence at all.
What does this mean for doctors, hospitals, and other health/medical professionals and institutions? The survey results imply that it is more critical than ever to build and strengthen a healthy online reputation.
You can’t argue with the data. Not only do reviews and ratings provide a reflection of actual patient satisfaction levels; they also serve as a major factor for patients’ decisions to choose – or to avoid – your practice.
Patient surveys like HCAHPS will remain important — but hospitals and healthcare marketers will have to make sure online reviews are on their radar.
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