Gone are the days when the sole duty of medical doctors was to heal.
Increased regulations, paperwork associated with insurance and Medicare claims, collections and marketing – among other newly emerged challenges – have become an integral part of the medical practice and all must be taken into account to succeed and drive growth.
Understanding the influence of online patient reviews – posted on sites like Yelp, Dr. Oogle, Healthgrades, Vitals, Wellness.com, and RateMDs – is equally important for new practitioners going solo and larger, more established medical practices.
In a more connected, but less relational society, online patient reviews and doctor ratings replace traditional word of mouth referrals, making them essential to establishing relationships with new patients. As more medical practices incorporate online marketing to their overall strategy, it is very important to manage patient satisfaction effectively and learn what matters most to them.
The Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research studied over two million patient surveys and identified communication as the most important factor of the patient-doctor relationship.
Your medical credentials and licensures offer patients the comfort of knowing that you have the basic knowledge to heal. The way you communicate, on the other hand, is not subject to your capacity, but instead is a measure of your commitment to the human aspect of medical practice. Kindness always tips the scales. The medical practitioners with the best online reviews are those who work to care for the person as a whole. Leaders in medical marketing know it, and they make it a point to make changes in customer experience based on the feedback provided by patients.
So make it your goal to deliver superior medical services without setting aside the heart of medicine, which is compassion.
Physicians and those in charge of marketing their practices must take online reviews in context and with a grain of salt. It is not uncommon for patients to have unrealistic expectations of medical practitioners, specifically highly rated specialists.
While you may be an expert in your field, you are not a miracle worker, and sometimes the results of a consultation or procedure may not be aligned with the hopes and expectations of your patient. If this happens and a patient decides to post a negative online review, it is important that you take the time to engage and respond professionally and with sincere care.
When Responding to Reviews, Respect Privacy
While your patient is at full liberty to disclose as much as they wish about their condition or procedures, it is important that medical marketing teams receive appropriate legal and patient privacy training before posting responses on doctor review sites and social media channels. The privacy of your patient takes priority over your marketing and ranking efforts. If needed and deemed appropriate, pick up the phone and contact the patient to discuss the complaint and seek a resolution.
Use the Right Tools
The number of places where patients are able to voice their opinion grows by the day. Growth-oriented medical groups know that using the right set of tools is indispensable for the success of a practice. Make it a priority to establish standard operational procedures that include online review management, and find ways to use the feedback provided by your patients to improve the way you do business.
When all is said and done medical practices with a disciplined and proactive approach to online marketing and online reputation management will emerge as industry leaders. Don’t be left behind.