Expand Your Patient Base and Safeguard Your Online Reputation
No matter if anyone believes they are Internet savvy or not, more and more patients are turning online for accessing providers for potential health care. When in need of information for health care, four out of five users on the Internet check the Internet, and each of these searches are for specific providers. Additionally, three out of four searchers utilize reviews on the web as their form of recommendations received through word-of-mouth.
Reviews on the web impact businesses in a major way which frightens many owners. However, online reviews are two-fold: either patients will be driven away or they will become a tool that is powerful for advertising. The principles below are to ensure your practice’s reviews online are working for you and not against you.
Risk Increases With Low Volume
Health care professionals and physicians often approach reputation management websites regarding online reviews and request that they somehow extract their review from the web. While this can’t happen, even if it could, it isn’t helpful. It is significantly riskier to have no reviews than it is to have a large quantity of them.
When taking into consideration a hypothetical doctor, like John Doe, M.D., for example, with three reviews online with an average rating of 4.2 out of possible 5 stars. This above-average rating shows searchers immediately that Dr. Doe is trustworthy and competent upon their first impression. Furthermore, because most ratings are embedded directly within search listings, most all patients will view this result. There is vulnerability to this good score, however. Only two one-star reviews could move this rating to a 2.9, which is below-average. Let’s change these reviews to twenty instead of three, though, with the same 4.2 rating. His reputation scoring would see much greater safety due to the fact that many more negative reviews would have to change the average.
When There is High Volume There is a Higher Score
When analyzing reputation management databases, this information shows a solid link between an extensive review quantity and a score that is positive. When your physicians and practice obtains more reviews, there is a greater chance there will be positive scores on average. Therefore, when encouraging reviews by patients, average ratings will improve and a reduction in the chances of a few disgruntled patients sabotaging your practice will occur.
The relevance of your practice within review sites, as well as search results, is another key importance of a large volume of reviews because it becomes increased. When visiting sites like “Yelp” and searching for “ophthalmologist” within your city, you will immediately see a large number of reviews with highly rated practices alongside.
Risk is Decreased by Spreading Reviews Across Multiple Sites
When attempting to obtain a large number of reviews, these reviews should also be spread across a large number of sites. Upon searching for your practice online, prospective patients will likely find preliminary listings for your business, your website, and numerous reviews. If they visit one site and see three bad reviews out of four, they may search out to see another review site and see another site where all the reviews are positive.
It is a great idea for the patient to perform more research because they will uncover more good reviews than bad. Unfortunately, most patients will not make this attempt. It is easier for them to take a quick look at the search listing, see yellow stars and make their judgments based upon the ratings overall.
Operational Improvement Occurs Through Negative Reviews
When negative reviews occur, this is a great opportunity for you to make improvements within your practice. It is important for you to read and evaluate each of these negative reviews on a regular basis.
Negative reviews are a great source of insight into areas where you could improve your practice. It is important to make it a priority to evaluate and read negative reviews on a routine basis. The themes or trends are recurring could point toward problems that are systematic that are important to address.
A good example is when there are reviews citing problems with billing, this is an opportunity for you to review your front-office staff protocols or offer additional billing procedural training. Another example if a specific physician is singled out on numerous occasions for a bedside manner that is poor, you may need to bring this issue to their attention or provide them with a CME course that is appropriate for interacting with patients. Negative reviews help practices decide where focus should be placed with regards to major issues with their operations.
Respond Properly for a Better Reputation
Upon receiving negative reviews, respond quickly and appropriately in order to mitigate the situation. If a patient complains about the rudeness of a physician, respond with an apology and ask them if they would like to discuss the experience in further detail so your practice can investigate the situation.
This is a dual impact to this response. First, it allow your practice another chance to win the patient back by allowing them to choose a different physician. Second, when other prospects read the negative review, they will notice the practice attempting to resolve the situation in a positive manner. No one expects perfect situations. Everyone makes mistakes, and patients know this. It is how practices recover from these mistakes is what matters.
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