The wait time at your doctor’s office can cause frustration among your patients. Imagine one patient, let’s say his name is Phil, waiting for 45 minutes to see a doctor at your office even though he has an appointment. Phil is not too happy because he’s missing work for the appointment, and he’s got a huge project to finish that afternoon.
You were aware of the wait time issue, but you did not know about its full extent until you read some online reviews about your office. That’s where you looked at customer feedback posted online and finally understood the concern among patients about long wait times.
Although important to the patient experience, communication between coworkers is not all there is to successfully run a successful doctor’s office. It’s also about communication with the patient.
Monitoring Patient Feedback
While doctors say patients posting feedback online causes unnecessary prescriptions (overprescribing), and that patients do not have the accurate training to judge a doctor’s expertise, online reviews continue to increase in popularity.
“Consumers increasingly challenge the notion that doctor knows best about everything,” wrote NPR’s Charles Ornstein. “Though Yelp’s health reviews date back to 2004, more than half of them were written in the past two years. They get millions of page views every month on Yelp’s site alone. In many ways, consumers on Yelp rate health providers in the same way they do restaurants: on how they feel they’ve been treated.”
Doctors and healthcare professionals are listening more closely to patient feedback, too. Dr. David Greuner, the managing director and co-founder of NYC Surgical Associates, says he monitors and responds to patient feedback. He said NYC Surgical Associates appreciates and welcomes the reviews they receive online. (Their website even has a dedicated section incorporating patient feedback from both reviews and surveys.)
Monitoring patient feedback is also crucial in saving time and increasing efficiency in the doctor’s office. Digitally savvy doctors are already implementing review management tools so that they’re always on top of what patients are saying online. These tools also help doctors manage their online reputation as well as gain insights into the patient experience.
Online Reputation for Doctors More Crucial Than Ever
When patients review you online, they are contributing to your online reputation, which is extremely crucial to the success of your doctor’s office. Potential patients are searching for you online before they make direct contact with your office, especially those who are part of the Millennial generation.
In fact, more than 54 percent of Millennials will search for a doctor online before they walk into a doctor’s office, according to a study by Nuance, showing the need for doctors to pay more attention to patient feedback posted on the Web.
“We know a huge number of patients today are looking up symptoms and health information online, so it’s just a matter of time until they shop for physicians and communicate grievances that way, too,” said Tony Oliva, M.D., national medical director of Nuance Communications, in a press release. “These are informed healthcare consumers who, if they feel rushed, are likely to share criticism online. Healthcare organizations need to find ways to help physicians optimize time spent with their patients and to protect their reputations.”