When selecting a new restaurant most consumers lean heavily on onlie review sites like Yelp to provide reliable recommendations about the best restaurants in their location. Yet, when it comes to making a selection for more important services like healthcare, dental or chiropractic services, most of us are okay with the recommendation of a sole friend or a quick browse on a directory site. Review websites such as Healthgrades, RateMDs.com and Vitals are working on changing the game for medical professional by allowing patients to rate physicians the same way they would rate a local restaurant.
According to a recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 25% of U.S. adults consulted online physician-rating sites. Even more noteworthy is the fact that one third of those adults selected or avoided a physician based on the reviews.
And while most physicians and dentists are still reluctant to embraceonline reviews about their practice, the few who have are noticing some surprising returns. Dr. Pasternak, a Reno physician, found constructive reviews helpful to his practice. As a result of a patient left a review online commenting that Dr. Pasternak spent too much time jotting notes on his tablet, Dr. Pasternak now attempts to make better eye contact and appear more attentive when with a patient.
Yes, negative reviews can have an impact on your reputation but not all reviews are negative. Many are positive or provide helpful comments on aspects of your practice that you could improve upon. By utilizing these reviews to improve your patient experience you will naturally generate increased positive reviews in the future.
And when you do receive negative reviews, embrace them and see them as opportunities for your practice. Dr. Gregg DeNicola, chief executive of Caduceus Medical, admits that inititally he did what most would when it came to their negative reviews – he ignored them. But after noticing that new patients were cancelling appointments due to the reviews he decided to change his approach by embracing the online reviews. Now his staff monitors review sites daily, responds to negative reviews, and invites patients to leave positive reviews about the practice. Dr. DeNicola has seen an increase in new patients because of the positive online reviewsand he states that “when we decided to quit ignoring it and embraced it, it totally changed the game.”
Dr. DeNicola provides a fantastic example of how embracing online reviews, whether positive or negative, can increase new patients for your practice. As an owner of a medical or dental practice, you can continue being “wary” of online reviews or you can embrace them. However, ignoring your online reviews is not going to cause them to cease to exist.
Medical review sites are already initiating the change for your practice. Embrace the change by actively monitor these medical review sites, responding to negative reviews in real-time, and by inviting your patients to leave honest feedback about your practice on them. It is the perfect opportunity to generate more new patients and enhance your patient experience.
How have you used patient reviews and review sites to improve your practice?
About Alan Moore: Alan started his career in 1999 as an Marketing Consultant and is the owner of www.ExtraPatients.com. Over the years, he has migrated his focus of expertise to everything digital. His mission is to help you increase your revenues and decrease unproductive advertising expenses through proven, online marketing strategies. He manages over $3,600,000 in yearly marketing budgets and has worked with local businesses, agencies and the US government. Give him a call to schedule a Free Online Marketing Consultation for your practice.
To read more of the article that inspired this blog, please visit:http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304422704579571940584035918