Just as consumers look to online reviews to decide where they’ll go for dinner or purchase a new product, they also look to online reviews and ratings to select their healthcare providers.
In a Podium-sponsored virtual session at Becker’s Hospital Review 11th Annual Meeting, Bryan Oram, AVP of Strategic Healthcare Sales at Podium, discussed the influence of online reviews for prospective patients and described what healthcare organizations can do to improve their online ratings.
Here are the four key takeaways from Bryan’s session:
1. Online reviews are influencing how patients search for care.
“Consumers are looking at what other consumers are saying,” said Bryan. And it’s that third-party validation that influences 88% of consumers’ healthcare provider selection. Over 30% of patients say online reviews pay a big role in choosing their care while over 50% say they’re willing to travel farther and pay more in order to patronize a practice with higher reviews.” Online reviews are quickly becoming the first stop for consumers as they search for care.
2. Consumers are looking beyond the five-star rating.
While high average star ratings are still the baseline for consumer trust, patients often look beyond just the five-star rating. The number of reviews, the recency of the reviews, and the location of the business also affect whether a patient considers a healthcare provider, as well as the order in which third-party sites, like Google, display the practice. Higher ranked search results garner more of the clicks, no matter the industry.
3. Responding to online reviews can impact a patient’s perspective.
As prospective patients review online reviews, they also pay attention to service recovery—whether or not a business responds to a negative review and the message that’s conveyed in that response. The how and what of those messages influence consumer opinion. In fact, “56% of patients say that a practice’s response to reviews has changed their perspective on the practice,” said Bryan. If your practice isn’t reviewing and responding to reviews for your business, consumers are taking note.
4. Healthcare organizations need a review collection strategy.
Disgruntled patients are more likely to post reviews online compared to patients that have a positive experience. If your practice is waiting for more patients to write reviews organically, without getting asked, you likely won’t see the results you want.
A review strategy, especially one that uses post-visit text messages to ask patients to leave a review, increases the number of reviews, the recency of those reviews, and the average rating (especially because happy patients are the ones leaving reviews). Include a link to the review site in your text to patients post-visit. It makes it quick and easy for them to visit the review site directly from their mobile device. “When prompted, those who have had a good experience are likely to leave a review, especially if you remove a lot of the barriers,” said Bryan.
To learn more and listen to the entire session, click here.