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September 17, 2018

Reputation Management for Optometrists

By: Brian Williams

Optometrists and ophthalmologists may be wondering if a reputation management program is cost effective. Want to find out quickly? Google “eye doctors near me.” Look at the online reviews for your practice and for those of competing specialists. For most people this answers YES to the question: Do I really need reputation management? It sounds like…

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Optometrists and ophthalmologists may be wondering if a reputation management program is cost effective. Want to find out quickly? Google “eye doctors near me.” Look at the online reviews for your practice and for those of competing specialists. For most people this answers YES to the question: Do I really need reputation management?

It sounds like a lot of work, identifying and monitoring your online reviews. But a few years ago, only the giants in healthcare could justify a web site that was more functional than just a digital version of a paper brochure. Today, a web presence is much more affordable, and everyone knows they need an online presence – ideally with appointment setting, a patient log-in system, bill pay and more. According to SoftwareAdvice.com, statistics show that more than 70 percent of potential patients search online before making an appointment with a provider.Optometrist with iPad

As the cost of an online presence has dropped, so has the cost of building and protecting your online reputation. There’s a rapidly-expanding universe of sites with online reviews, from Google and Facebook to doctor-rating sites like Healthgrades and Vitals. And, people pay attention: some 85 percent of respondents trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, according to a 2017 survey by BrightLocal. Eye care providers who want to excel in this environment must implement a practical program for managing their online reputation. Here are three strategies that can help:

Online Reputation Management Includes Asking for Reviews

We recommend you begin building your reputation by asking patients after their visit if they would be willing to provide feedback. Create an automated text message or email to reach patients soon after their visit, with direct links to popular rating and review sites: e.g., Google, Facebook and Healthgrades. By asking permission and making it convenient for patients to post online reviews, you’ll likely get higher response rates.

Consider using signage and handouts in your waiting room that explain how to post an online review. Invite patients to “Share Your Experience Online,” reiterate your commitment to the highest standards, and let patients know their opinion can inform others seeking eye care. When your practice impresses visitors as truly interested and responsive to their opinions, you earn the trust of current patients, and the interest of prospective patients. BrightLocal’s Consumer Review Survey 2017 show that new patients are nearly as likely to trust online reviews as much as referrals from people they know.

How Optometrists can Handle Online Reviews

Negative online reviews are enough to make you wince. Your ophthalmology practice works hard to deliver quality care. How could it be that a patient is outspokenly unsatisfied? Most online reviews, especially those posted soon after the appointment, are positive. But negative reviews happen. So, it’s important to be vigilant about monitoring your online reputation.

In a way, a negative review is a customer service call. Your patient believes there is a legitimate issue. Not responding to an online complaint is like not answering or not returning a phone call. By taking unfavorable online reviews seriously but not personally, you demonstrate that you are listening, and that you truly care about patient concerns.

Dealing with negative reviews

Think through these questions:

  • What’s the best way to respond?
  • What can you do to resolve the issue?
  • What can you learn from it?

First, decide who will monitor and who will respond to reviews, what the initial response message will be, and who will be the point of contact for resolution and service recovery. We recommend responding promptly to all unfavorable reviews, thanking the poster online for their feedback and offering to further discuss the issue offline. Give the patient either a phone number or email address and the name or title of a person to contact at your office. This helps prevent the complaint from escalating online in view of potential customers, and reduces the chance of HIPAA rules.

Addressing negative comments in a timely manner helps the patient and the practice see eye to eye. We often hear from clients about patients who change their negative review into a positive response after the practice quickly resolved the problem. Both the individual who posts the review and the next visitors to your review section will appreciate your caring attitude toward patient concerns.

By approaching them calmly, you and your staff can come to see negative reviews as learning moments on how to improve service. Everyone on the team wants the practice to succeed, so addressing and resolving issues can help prevent the loss of current and potential patients.

What About Positive Reviews?

What’s better than receiving a positive online review? Responding to one. Send a quick note to thank the patient for their feedback and restate your commitment as an optometrist to world class eye care. Prospective patients will notice. And, sharing and celebrating positive feedback with staff is a great way to build morale.

Take a Time-Effective Approach

Owners of smaller practices may believe there isn’t time for reputation management. Where do you start, you might be wondering, and can you even make a difference with a small staff? These time-saving tactics can help manage your online reputation, with the help of some technology.

First, assign ownership to online reputation management tasks. It’s recommended that the owner-senior optometrist be the owner of the program, but notthe person who responds to online reviews. This divide and conquer approach distributes the time needed to manage your online reputation.

Know What to Say

We recommend creating templates for soliciting online reviews, and for responding to them, good or bad. This will save you from reinventing the wheel with every patient interaction. You should add a brief personal comment to responses, so they don’t all sound the same.

Consider Automated Monitoring and Alerts

Managing online reviews can be like herding cattle – or cats. It can be time-consuming to check every review site. You need a centralized solution that can pull in these reviews for you to read and respond. A reputation management solution can help here.

Also consider setting email notifications to come to you when any review – negative or positive – is posted. This will save you even more time. We further recommend prioritizing which online review sites make sense for you to manage. Another Google search can give you an idea of where to start, and you can add more as you go on.

In conclusion, your practice is your business. Your online reputation is the way current and prospective patients perceive your practice and decide whether you’ll get their business. You need to take ownership and figure out the best way to manage it. The know-how and technology is available, and practices across the country use it to manage their reputations.

Is the picture clearer now? Today is the best time to focus on reputation management.

Want to learn more about reputation management best practices? Download our ebook, Building a Healthier Online Reputation.

About the Author

Brian Williams
Sales Executive

Brian helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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September 11, 2018

Healthcare Consumers’ Five Demands

By: Chris Huang

It’s no surprise that many healthcare consumers don’t get excited about visiting a doctor or medical facility. It isn’t so much the time spent face-to-face with the physician. It’s the experiences around the edges of the appointment – from finding the office, to parking, to dealing with busy, preoccupied staff, to time spent in the…

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It’s no surprise that many healthcare consumers don’t get excited about visiting a doctor or medical facility. It isn’t so much the time spent face-to-face with the physician. It’s the experiences around the edges of the appointment – from finding the office, to parking, to dealing with busy, preoccupied staff, to time spent in the waiting room. After the appointment, many patients encounter annoyance in follow-up instructions, billing tangles, and the hassles of dealing with provider and health insurance staff to clear them up. If you’ve ever looked at health provider rating and review sites, you know that a problem with any of these elements can inspire a negative review – and hurt your online reputation.

Key Healthcare Consumer Expectations.

If patient engagement and conscientious online reputation management is your objective, you may be wondering what healthcare consumers want from encounters with healthcare providers.

In our recent E-Book, The Seven Essential Habits of Successful Online Reputation Management in Healthcare, we list five characteristics that consumers want from their healthcare interactions:

  1. They want it to be personal. A friendly greeting, a helpful attitude and a sincere “how are you today” are essential. The patient needs to know from the behavior of staffers – at the desk, in the waiting room and in the exam room – that they are regarded as a person, and not merely the 15th patient who has walked in since opening time.
  2. Women using iPhone and chatbot for healthcareThey want it to be simple, seamless and efficient. Healthcare consumers are becoming increasingly digital and are becoming accustomed to receiving timely services. Take advantage of available online tools for streamlining appointment setting, communicating test results and other tasks.
  3. They want to feel like their time is valued. Binary Fountain’s recent consumer survey finds that 48 percent of people aged 25 and above rank wait times as the most frustrating thing about visiting the doctor. A survey from Vitals® reveals that 20 percent of people have changed doctors because of wait times. If something out of the ordinary interrupts the schedule and patients will need to wait, proactively communicate this to them and provide them with options if they need to reschedule.
  4. They want transparency. Patients want details, and they want to know all their options. Most importantly, they want and deserve simple explanations of everything about their condition, their treatment choices, their follow-up, and want to know about all costs upfront.
  5. They want their information to be secure. Healthcare consumers want to trust that every detail they share with their provider will be safe and secure. They want confidence that you have firm control over who has access to their most personal information.

As we know, current online reviews are a very important component of research for your potential future patients. Assess your online reviews and comments. Are any of these concerns showing up as trouble spots? If so, you should take steps to identify and correct the issues that trigger frustration for current patients, and begin earning positive reviews.

About the Author

Chris Huang

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August 31, 2018

What to do When Your Online Reputation Gets “Red Henned”

By: Kenneth Brooks

As Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s Senior VP of Marketing observes, not many health organizations will experience a crazy viral social media campaign of negatives like one small Virginia restaurant did earlier this summer. Still, what would you do if your online reputation has a crisis moment? What happened to the Red Hen? The Red Hen…

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As Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s Senior VP of Marketing observes, not many health organizations will experience a crazy viral social media campaign of negatives like one small Virginia restaurant did earlier this summer. Still, what would you do if your online reputation has a crisis moment?

What happened to the Red Hen?

The Red Hen in Lexington became famous after kicking out White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Deserved or not, the restaurant became a target for both positive and negative reviews from people who had never once eaten at the restaurant.

In other words, a tidal wave of fake reviews.

Since the incident, Yelp has posted an “Active Cleanup Alert.” This action prevents users from leaving reviews and redirects users to share their thoughts on “Yelp Talk”, Yelp’s open discussion forum, until suspicious activity has passed.

While it is highly unlikely this will happen to your business or practice, the potential is always there, which is why you need a plan.

Are Fake Reviews Common?

Luckily, most reviews are genuine and consumer feedback should be taken seriously.

Fake reviews can happen, but they are rarely seen on a national scale like we saw with the Red Hen. The good news is many sites and apps that house ratings are actively cracking down on review spam.

How to Deal with Fake Reviews

How should you respond if you notice a surge in bad reviews about wait times, or rude front-office staff members, or a physician’s dismissive attitude? Suddenly the reputation you have worked hard to build is on the line, and you know it’s imperative to do something. But what is the best approach?

Here are a few quick tips for managing fake reviews:

Keep Calm

Take a breath. Then take another one. You have options here. A thoughtful, sympathetic response is a course of action that will help and not harm your reputation. If the review has legal implications or violates an online rating and review site’s terms of service, the other option may be not to respond at all.

Plan on Responding?

If you do respond, you should already have a plan in place, as we discussed a while back, in a blog entitled 5 Mistakes That Can Seriously Damage Your Reputation – and What You Can Do to Avoid Them: “Timely, effective response depends on your staff knowing who is assigned to monitor reviews, what pitfalls to look for, who will respond and how the response will be tailored.

A thorough, well-rounded policy with response templates offers confidence that every review will receive a prompt and appropriate answer.” If you don’t have a detailed plan, today is the day to start assembling one.

Know Rating and Review Platforms’ Rules on “Questionable” Reviews

Online reviews are overwhelmingly genuine and should be treated professionally. But what if a review smells a little shady?

Chances are someone on your staff will be able to recall the interaction that prompted a negative review. So, make sure the unsatisfied reviewer is really talking about your practice, and contact the reviewer if it’s there by mistake.

Before you ever confront a fake evaluation, you should understand how the review sites define ‘fake’ and how you can challenge one. By knowing the rules of third party websites when it comes to user contributed content, you might be able to get a fake review removed.

Many review sites will let you flag questionable reviews. If a review is blatantly made up, you can flag the response for review.

You can check the website where the review is posted for rules on how businesses should handle questionable reviews.

How Binary Fountain can Help

Our new eBook, The Healthcare Marketer’s Guide to Managing Review Platforms states Google’s policy for user-contributed content: “Your content should reflect your genuine experience at the location and should not be posted just to manipulate a place’s ratings. Do not post fake content, do not post the same content multiple times, and do not post content for the same place from multiple accounts.”

Here are a few tips from the eBook on spotting a fake review:

  • It offers a phone number or web address and a call to action unrelated to your business
  • It suggests an alternative product or service
  • The reviewer uses avatars with vague images or stock photos (a clue the account was created for dishonest purposes)
  • The review includes incorrect grammar or multiple spelling errors

All these are grounds for Google to remove a review. Looking for more advice on managing online review platforms – and their rules on how to handle questionable reviews? Get our new ebook today.

 

About the Author

Kenneth Brooks

Kenneth Brooks serves as Binary Fountain’s senior director of marketing. He brings more than 15 years of high-tech marketing experience, including 7 years in healthcare technology, to the company. In his role, he manages brand awareness and demand generation programs.

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July 27, 2018

Do You Know How Your Practice Looks Online?

By: Sabrina Egan

One vital factor in reputation management is to regularly assess the impression your practice makes online. You won’t be pleased with everything you see, but the path to improvement begins with a clear-eyed appraisal. Here are some steps to assessing your online image: Audit your online footprint. Make sure people see an accurate picture of the…

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One vital factor in reputation management is to regularly assess the impression your practice makes online. You won’t be pleased with everything you see, but the path to improvement begins with a clear-eyed appraisal. Here are some steps to assessing your online image:

Audit your online footprint. Make sure people see an accurate picture of the practice. Check your Google business listing, and make corrections and updates. One eye-opening example: HCA shared in a webinar how they analyzed their physician practices’ online presence and discovered that their Tri-Star Spring Hill ER address, which is very close to the nearest interstate exit, showed up on Google Street View as located on an empty lot on a dead end street, with no buildings in sight. HCA took steps to correct this through listings management.

Also, try a “doctor near me” search. Seventy-two percent of potential patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor. You need to know how your practice ranks versus competing practices.

Prioritize Reputation Management

In a recent survey by SoftwareAdvice.com, 82 percent of patients who responded said they visited a review website to view or post online reviews about healthcare staff. As the report puts it, “A healthy online presence is essential.” So, do not settle for being a little better than other providers in your market – be the exceptionally good one.

Monitor and respond to third party reviews. 85% of respondents will trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, according to a 2017 BrightLocal consumer survey. Binary Fountain’s partner providers use its proprietary Natural Language Processing feature to learn what patients say in their online reviews. They can also set up alerts to flag negative reviews, allowing them to respond promptly and effectively.

Emphasize Patient Experience

Collect and post patient surveys.The best time to get a patient review of your practice is now. By prompting patients to participate in an online survey or post a review, you can increase your online presence and capture patient feedback that can be used to deliver service recovery and improve the patient experience.

Respond to all reviews. Research from the Harvard Business Review indicates that people who read online reviews are impressed by the reviewed business’ response, whether it is a “thank you” for a good review or a sincere apology and an offer of direct offline contact to discuss a bad one. It shows that the responder cares enough to acknowledge the reviewer. The HBR report  reasons that a person who might have been inclined to post a complaint could change their mind, if they see that similar complaints are addressed promptly, respectfully, and constructively.

Do you have a success patient experience story to share? Let us know here.

About the Author

Sabrina Egan
Engagement Manager

Sabrina helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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July 18, 2018

Responding to Negative Online Reviews About Wait Times

By: Mike Belvedere

When patients post online reviews of visits with healthcare providers, it is common to see negative remarks about non-medical aspects of the appointment. Complaints range from directions and parking to waiting room comfort, staff attitudes, excessive paperwork and billing snafus. Long wait times – between arrival and actually seeing the doctor – is an especially…

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When patients post online reviews of visits with healthcare providers, it is common to see negative remarks about non-medical aspects of the appointment. Complaints range from directions and parking to waiting room comfort, staff attitudes, excessive paperwork and billing snafus. Long wait times – between arrival and actually seeing the doctor – is an especially sore topic. In Binary Fountain’s Healthcare Consumer Insight & Digital Engagement survey, 48 percent of people aged 25 and above selected “wait time” as the most frustrating thing about visiting the doctor.

Doctor's Office Waiting RoomThe most recent survey from Vitals® finds that 84 percent of respondents regard wait time as “somewhat important” or “very important.” The survey reports that close to a third of people have actually walked out on an appointment because of long wait times, and 20 percent have changed doctors over the issue of wait time.

The Vitals survey also reports a correlation between waiting time and the doctor’s average star rating: Five star-rated physicians have an average wait time of 13 minutes, 17 seconds, while one star-rated doctors averaged 34 minutes, 10 seconds.  There’s no avoiding the conclusion that wait times matter. And, while providers may put a lot of effort and expense into efficient, timely scheduling, there are times when systems and staff fall short.

Responding to Long Wait Time Complaints

The best approach to a waiting-time complaint is to be prompt about responding. Practices that use in-office patient experience surveys can flag a negative review, which offers a way to quickly catch and address a wait time complaint. Spartanburg Regional Medical Center implemented automated alerts to flag patient reviews that scored a 2.5 or below so they could quickly initiate service recovery. They also analyzed patient experience data across their 96 practice locations and discovered that an overwhelming percent of feedback was about getting timely care. They used the data to determine what locations were top scoring in this category and plan to apply their best practices across their physician practices.

If an infrequent reason for a delay does happen – a cardiologist must attend to a heart attack patient, for example, or an OB is called out to deliver a baby – it is very important to immediately let patients know about the situation and offer to reset the visit.

Remembering that the subtext of many negative reviews is “What are you going to do about this,” the best response to online wait time complaints is one that arrives quickly. Offer sympathy, and a sincere apology. Some practices send a gift card or a fruit basket with their apology. Be sure to acknowledge the patient’s dissatisfaction, and demonstrate that the practice does care. Make sure your response conveys the message that your practice regards every comment and review as an opportunity to do better.

Do you have a story of a successful response to a wait time complaint? Let us know.

About the Author

Mike Belvedere

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July 10, 2018

Does responding promptly to all reviews – negative and positive – help overall reputation?

By: Chris Huang

It is a widely accepted principle in today’s healthcare marketing environment: reputation management requires monitoring reviews and comments about your practice. A simple notion, really: you have to know what patients say about their experience in order to make improvements to your service delivery and to stand out in a competitive marketplace. Marketers may feel…

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It is a widely accepted principle in today’s healthcare marketing environment: reputation management requires monitoring reviews and comments about your practice. A simple notion, really: you have to know what patients say about their experience in order to make improvements to your service delivery and to stand out in a competitive marketplace.

Marketers may feel that healthcare operates on a different playing field than online and big box commerce or hospitality sites.  Your visitors are much less inclined to consider differences.  As a recent McKinsey study observes, consumers expect the same qualities in healthcare companies that they value in non-healthcare settings.

Responding to ReviewsIn this environment, responding to reviews is vital to reputation management. The purpose of responding is not to defend your institution, but to demonstrate your commitment to improving patient experience. Nick La Rosa of KureSmart made the point in our recent MGMA webinar on reputation management: In every online interaction, the patient, and the visitor who reads the patient’s review, should receive this message from the provider: “We take everything you say seriously, and we are driven to improve.” Whether positive or negative, the response to every review should translate to “Thank you, your comments are making us better.”

The prominence of third-party review sites can make it feel that providers have no control over their online reputation. In a this reputation-sensitive environment, reputation managers give responding to negative reviews a higher priority. It is only natural: an unfavorable review that goes without response sends the message that you do not care.

But a recent study, described in the Harvard Business Review, reports this: “when managers respond to positive reviews, it has the same benefits as when they respond to negative reviews.”

The reason starts with the commitment described above, to take every review seriously. The patient who posts an unfavorable review is to some extent asking “What are you going to do about this?”

Your consistently responsive stance helps build trust. If a customer or patient has a small complaint, but sees that both large and small concerns are addressed promptly and respectfully, they may choose not to complain.

The HBR study focused on reviews posted at Trip Advisor, so its quantitative conclusions may not translate directly to healthcare. But, there is certainly something to be gained by treating patients as guests, and by responding in terms that a guest would appreciate. As we have reported here and here, Florida Orthopedic Institute has seen measurable improvement in reviews and in patient loyalty by bringing a hospitality-based approach to reputation management.

Do you respond as quickly and thoroughly to favorable reviews as to unfavorable ones? Let us know if you are seeing positive effects in your reputation management program.

About the Author

Chris Huang

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June 29, 2018

When Providers Take Ownership Of Their Online Reputation

By: John McFeely

Physician buy-in can be one of the more complicated aspects of a successful reputation management program. Some of our customers say that physicians they work with can be reluctant at first to embrace online reviews and ratings, whether positive or negative. Many physicians have been at odds with reviews. A recent study published in the…

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Physician buy-in can be one of the more complicated aspects of a successful reputation management program. Some of our customers say that physicians they work with can be reluctant at first to embrace online reviews and ratings, whether positive or negative.

Many physicians have been at odds with reviews. A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine revealed that 78 percent of providers said that online physician reviews cause them stress. Physicians may be concerned that their ratings could be influenced by factors unrelated to the actual patient interaction. Some doctors hold the attitude that they will not change the way they practice medicine because of an unfavorable review. One physician even sued a patient over allegations posted in a negative review.

As part of a recent Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit presentation on Engagement-Driven Reputation Management, Elizabeth Davis, Reputation Manager for HCA, pointed out that provider concerns about online reviews can result in requests to take down negative reviews.

Speaking with Sarah Heath of Patient Engagement HIT, Davis said, “What matters is that patient comments are out there, so no matter how outdated the comment is or how irrelevant it appears, patients are still making decisions based on it.”

What do we recommend? Make the case with providers for online reputation management. As Davis stated, they need to know that their reputation is already online and consumers are increasingly using online ratings and reviews to select a provider. Back it up with telling healthcare consumer stats and show reviews about the providers. The next message that needs to be communicated: Physicians can take ownership of their online reputation. Educate them on the online reputation management program and what they can do to help with their own reputation. Whether it is cultivating a patient-centered environment at a practice, generating more reviews, or participating in service recovery when needed, providers can make a difference in their own online reputation.

Davis also observes that executive sponsorship can go a long way toward inspiring staff and provider buy-in. Reputation management and patient engagement work best when patient feedback is used as a training tool with staffers and physicians and as a way to celebrate successes based on positive reviews.

When reputation managers understand that physicians are often competitive, results-oriented and data-driven by personality and training, it is easier to inspire them to take a positive approach toward reviews, and an active role in managing their online reputation.

At a recent Binary Fountain webinar hosted by MGMA, KureSmart Pain Management VP of Operations Britni Cullen described a highly capable physician who had great outcomes but received low star ratings in patient communication and bedside manner.

After the KureSmart reputation management team reviewed the direct patient feedback with him, this very competitive individual ended up becoming Kure Smart’s highest ranked physician because he adjusted his behavior based on patient feedback.

When providers embrace reputation management and patient engagement, patients and potential patients take notice, and this shows in the number of reviews, in new patient volume, and ultimately in corporate revenue.

About the Author

John McFeely
Sales Director

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June 13, 2018

Manage Online Reputation to Impact Revenue and Patient Experience Four Takeaways from Our Webinar

By: Sabrina Egan

Our recent MGMA-sponsored webinar on Online Reputation Management covered trends in online consumer behavior and how they are affecting physician practices. KureSmart Pain Management shared how it manages online reviews and patient experience survey data to increase revenue and patient loyalty. Here are four takeaways from the webinar: ONE: Reviews matter, more now than ever…

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Our recent MGMA-sponsored webinar on Online Reputation Management covered trends in online consumer behavior and how they are affecting physician practices. KureSmart Pain Management shared how it manages online reviews and patient experience survey data to increase revenue and patient loyalty. Here are four takeaways from the webinar:

ONE: Reviews matter, more now than ever

Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s SVP of Marketing, discussed patient experience-driven healthcare, offering some stats on reviews.

A recent Binary Fountain study shows that 75 percent of Americans say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when selecting a physician. In BrightLocal’s 2017 annual survey, 85% of people said they trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, and that percentage is trending higher from year to year. And, a survey by Software Advice found that 47% of people would consider choosing an out-of-network provider with more favorable reviews, over an in-network doctor.

Reviews impact revenue. An HCA study of 50 practices showed a 17% increase in average monthly patient volume when a practice had 90-100% positive reviews. Practices with below 80% positive reviews recorded only a 2% increase in average monthly volume.

TWO: Responding to reviews is no longer optional

Many negative reviews are really asking “What are you going to do about this?” People reading reviews, whether positive or negative, want the confidence of knowing someone is listening, and is committed to improving patient experience. Aaron’s advice on reviews:

  • Treat online reviews like they were given face to face
  • Responding shows patients and prospects that you care about their experience
  • Not responding is like not answering a customer service call
  • Practices are noticing an increase in online reviews when they respond

Nick LaRosa, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, KureSmart Pain Management, said that how you respond to a negative online review could overshadow the original complaint. In every online interaction, the patient, and the visitor who reads the review, should hear this message: “We take everything you say seriously, and we are driven to improve.” Whether positive or negative, the response should translate to “Thank you, your comments are making us better.”

THREE: Buy-in is crucial

Britni Cullen, Vice President of Business Operations, KureSmart Pain Management, outlined how resistance turned to buy-in at KureSmart. At first, staffers felt they did not have time to encourage surveys and respond to reviews. Initial goals were set to be achievable, and managers helped staffers find enthusiasm for expanding their efforts. Today, it is standard practice to publicly celebrate positive reviews at quarterly staff lunch meetings.

She related ways that patient feedback can change corporate practice. KureSmart noticed complaints about billing that revealed dissatisfaction with patient deductibles. The company started to help patients understand, before the procedure, where their deductible stands and what would be their obligation. With complaints noticed and problem addressed, complaints reduced in number.

Britni also described a physician who had great outcomes but received low star ratings on patient communication and bedside manner. After the team reviewed direct patient feedback with him, this very competitive individual adjusted his behavior and became KureSmart’s highest rated doctor.

FOUR: A commitment to exceptional patient experience yields bottom-line results

Nick LaRosa said that turning toward being driven by patient engagement has reshaped the entire company. Here is how success looks at KureSmart:

  • Patient experience increased 68%
  • Patient loyalty increased 52%
  • Physicians’ rating increased 59%
  • Positive online reviews increased 52%
  • 29% growth rate nearly doubled the number of new patients

There is much more useful information, insight and actionable advice in the webinar and the Q & A that followed. Sign in here to listen on demand.

About the Author

Sabrina Egan
Engagement Manager

Sabrina helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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May 22, 2018

What’s Your Hospital’s Digital Front Door Strategy

By: John McFeely

There’s a lot of discussion these days about the Digital Front Door, and how it informs the experience hospitals and medical practices offer healthcare consumers. As you consider ways to improve online patient experience, here are a few big factors to consider: Consumers want the same experience with healthcare companies that they value in non-healthcare…

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There’s a lot of discussion these days about the Digital Front Door, and how it informs the experience hospitals and medical practices offer healthcare consumers.

As you consider ways to improve online patient experience, here are a few big factors to consider:

Consumers want the same experience with healthcare companies that they value in non-healthcare settings

When they arrive at your digital front door, visitors expect convenience, ease of use and accessibility on a par with the best. That doesn’t mean merely being better than your healthcare competition. Consumer expectations for online experience and engagement are now set and constantly raised by mega-retailers like Amazon, as well as banks and other service related industries. As marketers we might focus on the things that differentiate healthcare from leading online and big box commerce sites.  Your visitors care much less about those differences – if they can’t quickly see a path to the answers they seek, you have missed an opportunity to connect and engage.
 
Wanted: Convenience, Clarity and Usability

Just as hospitals are adopting wayfinding solutions to help  people navigate their maze of hallways, hospital web sites need to adapt to healthcare consumers seeking information. Your digital front door must welcome the visitor. Whether finding the right provider for their medical issue, getting hold of test results, or paying a bill, it’s imperative to help them find what they need quickly.

It’s not just the homepage

The Digital Front Door is more than just the hospital home page and search window. Dayton Children’s Hospital, for example, identifies some 80 ‘microments’ in the consumer healthcare journey, progressing from Discovery to Exploration to Evaluation to Engagement and Experience. This analysis brings Nurse Chat, ED and Urgent Care check-ins and patient portal into their front door strategy, along with social media, star ratings and local listings.

Designing a Digital Front Door Strategy

Fairview Health Services of Minneapolis identified critical thresholds along the path to purchase, and considered the impact of influencers from physicians to family members to physical location. The next step was to audit and improve touchpoints around the digital front door, including provider profiles, location directories, and online appointment scheduling, among others. These have a measurable impact on top patient experience priorities like researching, choosing and making an appointment with the right doctor for the patient’s medical need.

Take one bite at a time

Where budget or staffing won’t support a top-to-bottom remodel of your digital front door, it might make sense to carve out a piece of the strategy to concentrate on. Madison, Wisconsin-based Unity Point Health, which operates in 10 cities in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois, decided a top priority for 2018 is connecting consumers with available providers. UnityPoint leveraged PPC, serving up doctors located nearby the prospective patient who started the search. To provide the immediacy and trust that patients demand, the campaign promotes providers who offer 5-day new patient access, and have a star rating of 4 or higher.

Listen to the webinar

For much more on the digital front door, check out the SHSMD hosted webinar called Defining the New Digital Front Door. You’ll get insight on top-of-the-funnel consumer entry paths like organic and paid search, local listings, and third-party reviews, plus advice on avoiding common pitfalls. Also covered are the very important metrics you need to help measure the progress of your program.

Introduced by Binary Fountain’s own Aaron Clifford, three panelists offer great ideas and real world experience in improving patient engagement:

Chris Boyer, host of the Touchpoint Podcast and
Director, Digital Strategy and Analytics
Fairview Health Services

Blake Long
Director, Marketing Technology and Strategy
UnityPoint Health

Grace Jones
Consumer Brand Manager
Dayton Children’s Hospital

About the Author

John McFeely
Sales Director

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May 10, 2018

Our Thoughts on Mayo Clinic’s Study on Negative Online Physician Reviews

By: Aaron Clifford

Last month, Becker’s Spine Review and several other healthcare news outlets reported on a study of online reviews by the Mayo Clinic. Researchers used Google alerts and searches to track negative online reviews of Mayo Clinic physicians for several months back in late 2014. Next, the researchers compared these doctors’ Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey…

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Last month, Becker’s Spine Review and several other healthcare news outlets reported on a study of online reviews by the Mayo Clinic. Researchers used Google alerts and searches to track negative online reviews of Mayo Clinic physicians for several months back in late 2014. Next, the researchers compared these doctors’ Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey scores with those of other Mayo Clinic physicians who did not receive negative online reviews. The comparison revealed no statistical differences between overall scores or patient communication scores, leading to the conclusion in the Becker’s headline that negative online reviews of doctors do not affect patient satisfaction surveys. The article goes on to describe how a negative review of a physician might be influenced by events beyond the doctor’s control: staff interaction, waiting room time, billing issues and even directions and office parking are underlying factors in some complaints.

We at Binary Fountain welcome this study, and all similar research. It broaches the need for a conversation around the value of the patient voice, whether it’s expressed online or through a survey, and how we can better evaluate their online ratings.

Reading the Mayo study, yes you can say there is a difference between how patient experience survey data and online reviews are captured. Patient satisfaction surveys are delivered in a more formal, structured format where patient feedback is sought out and rigorously analyzed by a provider of patient experience measurement solutions, like Press Ganey.  With online reviews, the feedback is unprompted. The patient or caregiver went out of their way to share their experience. In both cases, the patient believes their experience matters and is worth being voiced. That is powerful and should be taken seriously, no matter through which medium it’s delivered.

In cases where there are less online reviews than patient survey responses for a provider, there is the chance that an online rating may increase or decrease more than a survey’s rating scores.  Our customers are seeing that the more online reviews generated for providers, the closer the online reviews/ratings match the patient experience survey scores. The Mayo study also remarks that online reviews provide an “incomplete depiction of the physician’s reputation and his or her true commitment to and expertise in patient care.” Taking the approach of increasing patient feedback, from both online reviews and surveys, will help provide a more comprehensive picture of physicians.

With all the back and forth about online ratings and reviews, there is one thing to keep in mind: ratings and reviews are not going away. Our own survey, released late last year, reveals that 30 percent of consumers share their healthcare experiences online, via ratings and review sites and social media. 95 percent of our survey respondents regard online ratings and reviews as “somewhat” to “very” reliable, and 75 percent said that online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when choosing a physician.

With the popularity of online ratings and reviews, it is important for providers and consumers to undertstand “the why” behind a star rating. Online feedback needs to be rigorously analyzed.  That’s one reason why we built Provider Social Index® (PSI), which aggregates online patient feedback about physicians and then uses our proprietary Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine to extract insights and derive a rating related to 10 patient experience metrics. It excludes all non-provider categories like front desk staff, wait time and billing. This makes online reviews useful to providers and patients in the same way that survey results are. On the provider side, the insights helps identify where a physician is doing well, and where improvements can be made. Consumers looking for a new provider benefit from a comprehensive, clearer view into a physician’s reputation.  This is what our industry should be striving to deliver. Binary Fountain works to make online reviews work for all of us.

We are proud of our new partnership with US News & World Report as the provider of physician ratings displayed on US News’ doctor profile pages. One reason US News chooses to work with Binary Fountain is that our NLP’s formula/algorithm is scientifically developed and published in a peer-reviewed journal. Another is that we don’t display ratings if there aren’t enough reviews of a particular physician to be statistically useful. The richness and recency of reviews are also accounted for when analyzing reviews.

The Mayo study emphasizes physicians need to be aware of their reputation both online and in-person and recommends using their patient satisfaction surveys scores to:

“build and manage their online reputation, which in this day and age is crucial for public perception. Physicians could also take this opportunity to use social media to underscore these formal PSS (patient satisfaction surveys) reviews, counteract negative open source reviews, and help ensure a positive online presence. Furthermore, physicians and their institutions in a more appropriate setting can proactively manage any negative formal patient reviews and prevent having physicians’ reputation negatively affected across the World Wide Web.”

We couldn’t agree more. Our solutions take this approach, helping providers manage online reputation and publishing patient experience survey data. Binary Star Rating helps healthcare organizations, like Providence St. Joseph Health, Unity Point and Dayton Children’s Hospital, publish patitent experience survey coments and star ratings to their physician profile pages. Our strategic partnership with Press Ganey provides health systems with the guidance and support they need as they go down this path to taking control of their online reputation. We also provide a centralized healthcare-specific online reputation management platform, Binary Health Analytics, that helps organizations proactively analyze and act on all patient online ratings and reviews as well as patient experience surveys. Many health systems and practices are now engaging with their patients online and gaining insights into how where they can improve the patient experience.

So, let’s encourage more research on how to make the voice of the patient a driving factor in our efforts to improve patient experience, and how to publish online ratings and reviews that are accurate and reliable.

About the Author

Aaron Clifford
SVP of Marketing

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