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People today are bringing their technology-fueled expectations to the patient experience. It all starts with how they choose and search for providers.

According to research, 68 percent of consumers turn to online reviews, social media, and health research sites to find a new doctor, make a decision about hospitals, and read information about quality of care.

And in terms of factors that influence the healthcare consumer’s behavior, online reviews, customer sentiment, and patient feedback on sites like Yelp, Vitals, Google, and RateMDs play a bigger role than ever.

Customer experience management should therefore be a top priority for healthcare organizations and industry executives. By managing patient feedback and creating a strong patient experience, providers can improve patient acquisition, drive engagement, and build a brand that delivers on its promise.

Henry Ford Health System: Leveraging Feedback to Improve the Patient Experience

One organization that’s doing it right is Henry Ford Health System, which has put in place a process for monitoring and responding to patient feedback and comments. This allows the company to effectively manage high-impact trends and issues affecting the patient experience.

“We also have a bi-annual newsletter that goes out to all of the Henry Ford Medical Group patients,” said Ara Telbelian, director of marketing and brand management.

The newsletter provides an opportunity for patients to share their feedback, ideas, and suggestions directly to the CEO of Henry Ford Health System. As a result, the company — starting with the leadership team — is able to understand patient needs and expectations better, and therefore improve the way care is managed and delivered.

‘All For You’

Henry Ford Health System’s tagline is “All For You.” According to Telbelian, this is meant to reflect how the staff at Henry Ford takes a holistic approach to delivering care, focusing on the entire patient experience across the continuum of care instead of just treating disease or illness.

He said, “It’s really based on our understanding of how the right kind of treatment is never one-size-fits-all.”

Telbelian gave the example of a patient who was experiencing a kind of discomfort in the emergency room. The nurses took the time to understand what was going on with the patient, and they discovered that the patient was worried about his dog being left alone at home. The staff then made arrangements for a specialist to care for his dog, causing the patient to feel more comfortable.

“(The nurses) went the extra mile of understanding why he still had concerns, and it turned out it had nothing to do with his health condition,” Telbelian said.

A Strong Patient Experience Starts With Embracing And Managing Patient Feedback

Many healthcare organizations with a commitment to delivering a strong patient experience have embraced customer feedback and are very active in monitoring and managing what patients are saying online and on their preferred channels.

Just getting started with managing patient feedback? Here are industry best practices to help your organization stay on top of what’s being said:

Build credibility

When patients speak and share their experiences, they want to feel heard, be acknowledged individually, and be addressed personally.

The best way to build credibility is to show that you’re listening. Claim your listing and build your brand presence on social media and online review sites. Enter up-to-date business information. Respond to reviews and resolve any issues raised by the patient. Only when you build credibility through patient feedback management will you be able to foster trust among healthcare consumers. .

Respond to reviews

According to research:

  • 78 percent of consumers say that seeing management respond to online reviews makes them believe that the business cares more about them.
  • In terms of factors that influence patient satisfaction levels, healthcare consumers care more about customer service and bedside manner than level of medical skill.

There’s no doubt that patients will notice if you respond or not to reviews. Your responses will show patients that you are hearing them out and are focused on delivering a great patient experience.

Your responses to reviews can also can also help boost your search engine performance, helping your brand rank higher on relevant search results.

Catch ReviewTrackers at the 2017 SHSMD Connections

Customer-centric healthcare brands are using ReviewTrackers as a patient feedback management tool to drive patient experience and bottom line impact.

ReviewTrackers is a software platform that elevates the voice of the patient and enables brands to innovate based on customer feedback. It helps healthcare organizations track, manage, and analyze online reviews and ratings to improve the patient experience.

Want to find out more? Say hello to the ReviewTrackers team (Booth 815) at the 2017 Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) Connections conference, which takes place September 24 to 27, 2017 at the Marriott World Center Orlando. 

Megan Wenzl

Megan is the Associate Editor for ReviewTrackers. She's a writer who is committed to finding useful information to help your business succeed. Megan holds an M.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.