It happens every day: A person searches for a healthcare provider online and quickly narrows their choice to two options. What’s the determining factor? Which provider gets the appointment and the new patient?
The one with the stronger online reputation. A whopping 91 percent of patients have said the provider with better online reviews is likely to be their choice, according to Software Advice.
In markets across the nation, there’s a provider continually finishing second in that head-to-head comparison, and losing new business. With that much at stake for providers, PatientPop asked 200 healthcare practices about their approach to, and knowledge of, online reputation management, and their plans to stay ahead of their competition. The results are in.
Here’s a preview of our full report:
1. Providers feel online reputation is important, but they don’t know how to affect it.
Some 80.3 percent of survey respondents said maintaining a strong online reputation is either very or extremely important. Yet, a majority of respondents — 55.4 percent, illustrated below — do not know or aren’t sure about actions they can take to positively affect their own reputation.
2. Although patient reviews are the key to an impressive online reputation, most providers receive reviews from very few patients.
To foster a strong online reputation — and encourage a beneficial two-way connection with patients — it’s essential that providers ask patients for feedback. Our survey found that it’s not happening enough.
Whether providers aren’t asking (52 percent said they are), or the methods they’re utilizing are ineffectual, only a small percentage of patients are sharing their healthcare experiences online. In fact, 71.3 percent of providers receive reviews from 5 percent or fewer of their patients.
3. Nearly two-thirds of healthcare providers have received a negative review online.
In our survey, 62.4 percent of respondents said a patient has posted a negative review about their practice. It’s not a surprise, then, to learn that number is nearly identical to the percentage of providers who said they’re very or extremely concerned about negative reviews and the consequences that could arise.
Regardless of whether they’ve received a negative review, healthcare providers have a variety of concerns about how their practice and reputation will be perceived by prospective patients and the community at large.
4. 45.8 percent of survey respondents are already putting resources toward online reputation management in 2018.
Nearly half of the practices that took part in our survey see the need to improve or better maintain their online reputation, based on their plans to do devote more staff, time, and/or money toward that effort.
Some are looking to expand their business by gaining greater visibility in the market. Others want to focus on online patient reviews. Regardless of the reasons, more than one-third of those planning to address online reputation in 2018 will increase their resources by up to 25 percent.
But where are those resources coming from, and what’s potentially being sacrificed in the process? How are providers responding to negative feedback — and how should they, based on best practices? Which review sites are most used by patients?
Our full report, The 2018 Survey of Online Reputation Management for Healthcare Providers, answers those questions, provides deeper insights, and offers a full view of the current reputation landscape. Download your copy now.