Now, more than ever before, patients are turning to online reviews to find new healthcare providers. And doctors and healthcare practices with more reviews are reaping the rewards. In this era where patients are more focused on convenience than relationship, a positive patient experience and a great recommendation matters. 

During an online webinar on October 20th, Craig Kartchner, associate vice president of marketing and customer experience at HonorHealth, and Trevor Cox, director at customer messaging platform Podium, unpacked HonorHealth’s experience with Podium and the best practices they’ve followed for boosting online reviews. 

Here are a few of the key highlights: 

Online reviews are often the first step in finding a doctor

Online reviews are critical to overall patient growth. Professional and personal referrals are still valid, but patients are increasingly relying on the wisdom of the crowd. In fact, 77% use online reviews as the first step in finding a new doctor. An astonishing 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians and 80% trust online reviews as much as friend and family recommendations. 

If a physician doesn’t have a critical mass of high star and current reviews, patients will typically keep looking for a provider that matches new online reputation expectations. 

HCAHPS is seen as biased

Data taken from patient satisfaction surveys (mandated by CMS and known as HCAHPS—the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), is seen by patients as biased. The reason? The government-supported data is posted on providers’ websites. A third-party review site offers more transparency and trust to modern-day patients. 

Most consumers turn to a Google My Business (GMB) listing to find reviews and other critical information about providers—phone numbers, addresses, website links, and more. Plus, from the provider’s standpoint, GMB offers tracking and analytics to help healthcare practices measure engagement. 

It’s okay to ask for reviews

Without a direct ask, the patients that leave reviews are typically disgruntled, leaving reviews only when they have a negative experience with a specific physician or at a specific healthcare practice. 

But as consumers of other industries—retail, food, home services, and more—patients are more familiar with review requests than you might think. So much so, in fact, that 70% will write a review when asked. Asking for more reviews results in more reviews for your practice. And with higher review counts and a higher average star rating, your Google My Business listing will rank higher in search results—exactly where new patients are looking for a new provider or healthcare practice. 

Patients like texting

Don’t ask your patients for reviews via phone call. According to Podium’s recent study, while 60% of businesses believe that customers prefer phone calls, the reality is much different. Nearly 90% of consumers prefer texting with a business. And it’s no surprise—texting is convenient, more effective, and preferred by all generations. Plus, most text messages are opened, boasting an incredible lead on email open rates (98% vs. 20%). 

Reviews can improve the patient experience

Ultimately, reviews should do more than drive new patients to the site. They should be used to shape the patient experience. Use negative reviews to inform physicians and the rest of the practice what needs to be improved and what patients expect from their healthcare experience. 

To hear more insights from the webinar and watch it on demand, click here.

Raechel Duplain
Raechel Duplain Group Manager, Solutions Marketing

Raechel Duplain is an experienced content, marketing, and business professional at Podium, the leader in Interaction Management solutions for local businesses.

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