As consumers increasingly look to the web to make their healthcare choices, it’s critical that practices pay attention to what patients are saying about them online. We spoke with Kim Mott, Physician Liaison from Florida Orthopaedic Institute, about her organization’s recent push to analyze and act on online patient reviews and survey responses.
Hi Kim, can you give us a little background on what drove the need for this initiative around reputation management?
We know that our current and prospective patients are frequently spending time online researching healthcare providers and we’ve seen a lot of reviews about our practice and physicians on third-party rating and review sites. We have a sizeable practice with 40 physicians and 10 locations, so managing these reviews became a priority. We value being patient focused and our online reputation should reflect the experience we deliver. Also, our physicians were having concerns – and a bit of anxiety – about negative reviews. We’ve even had doctors walk into our office asking if we could take down a negative review.
We realized digital marketing was coming into play and we needed a way, as I mentioned, to manage our online reputation. We also needed to update our website and create one space for patients to share their positive stories.
What steps did you take to address those needs and get this initiative going? And how did you handle any challenges you ran into along the way?
Our Marketing Director went to upper management and explained that we really needed an effective way to manage our reputation and create a better experience for our patients. We’re both from hospitality backgrounds and know that listening to our customers and providing 5-star service is important. They agreed and allowed our team to start researching solutions that could help us monitor and respond to feedback from digital patient surveys, social media and online rating and review sites. Doing this all in one platform was important. This is when we discovered Binary Fountain.
We also began making physicians and managers aware of the new processes and explained that it was a means to improve reputation and the overall patient experience. This was one of the biggest challenges of the program. We had to overcome that initial hesitation from physicians. However, they were much more favorable to it once they understood why we wanted to hear from patients. We told them we couldn’t take down negatives reviews from third-party sites, so they were eager to increase positive reviews online.
We really wanted to hear from our patients and generate more feedback from them. Surveys, like I mentioned, was one way to do this. Previously we had been asking patients to fill out paper surveys to discuss their experience, which was a very manual, time-consuming method and patients were not very elaborate in their comments. So, we worked with Binary Fountain to switch to an online survey process and implement email campaigns using their platform. We also created an awareness campaign for the surveys. We handed out brochures to patients informing them they’d receive an online survey by email after their visit asking them to rate their experience. We asked physicians and office staff to encourage patients to complete them.
Being responsive to our patients’ concerns was also important. Binary Health Analytics was really helpful here. If we received a negative survey score or comment stemming from a specific practice, we could dynamically assign the appropriate person from that office to follow up with the patient. And follow up needs to happen within 24 hours or the issue automatically gets escalated. When it was an online review, I would initially handle it and work with the appropriate person or customer service to quickly resolve the issue.
This level of responsiveness lets patients know that we really care about their experience with us and that we want to make improvements wherever possible. Customers were pleasantly surprised when we followed up with them. They love that we listen to them. For our online presence, we believe that the increased volume of online reviews we’ve received since the beginning of this program is attributed to engaging our patients. We’ve also seen several negative online posts removed after we reached out to them.
How is this initiative impacting the organization?
Due to this initiative, we’ve seen a significant increase in positive online reviews and completed patient surveys. Overall patient feedback scores have also increased.
We strive to create a great overall experience. Binary Fountain has given us an opportunity to share positive feedback and encourage staff members to enhance their performance. It’s making a huge impact on employee morale which affects patient experience. The insights gathered from the comments have also given us a way to coach and train our staff in areas needing improvement.
And finally, what has Binary Fountain’s technology platform helped you do?
Binary Fountain’s platform has allowed us to accumulate and act all of our patient voices into one dashboard. This is something that was desperately needed in our large practice and is certainly needed in healthcare.
We know more and more patients are heading online to read reviews and select their healthcare providers and we needed a way to give them answers. Binary Fountain has helped us streamline communication with our patients and show them we value their feedback. We want to let consumers know we’re listening, we care and we want them to choose us.
About the Author
Sabrina helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.