In the healthcare industry, the need for reputation management is steadily growing. Healthcare consumers are increasingly writing online reviews about their patient experiences as well as looking to others’ reviews to guide their own physician choices.
We recently spoke with Kait Phillips and Aksana Koch from Binary Fountain’s customer success team, who’ve been guiding clients through implementing and managing our reputation management solution, Binary Health Analytics, about the best practices for healthcare organizations when implementing a successful reputation management strategy.
Q: Hi Kait and Aksana. Could you please give us a little overview about the patterns you’ve seen in healthcare patient reviews?
Aksana: We’ve found that people usually post positive reviews within a couple days of their visit. However, negative reviews vary much more in timing. They might be submitted by a patient while he or she is experiencing a long wait at their physician’s office or weeks later when a billing issue arises.
Kait: Another trend we’ve seen is that reviews continue to increase in number particularly when the practice regularly engages and responds to patient feedback. When prospective patients see that the practice is listening to feedback and responding, it encourages further customer engagement.
Q: Who typically responds to patient reviews on physician online ratings and reviews sites?
Aksana: For hospitals or practices we usually recommend finding a practice manager or a marketing manager to oversee all of the incoming reviews and respond to them online.
Kait: Yes, and for smaller clients it’s commonly a more centralized approach, where someone from the corporate marketing department will respond to patient reviews.
Q: What are your recommendations for responding to reviews?
Kait: We definitely recommend responding to both positive and negative reviews within two to three business days. If the review is negative, it’s best to reach out to the patient and provide them a way to contact the patient relations specialist or practice manager rather than resolving the issue publicly online. This avoids engaging in public conversations that could reveal Protected Health Information (PHI), or draw unwanted attention to the issue before you have a chance to seek resolution with your patient.
In the Binary Health Analytics platform, our clients can set up templated responses for different types of reviews. You don’t want to be seen always writing the same responses word for word to every customer, but you also want to keep them relatively generic. Again, carefully prepared, non-specific responses protect against revealing PHI, helping mitigate risk and respecting the patient. Corporate and legal teams can help to decide how the marketing department or assigned respondent should reply to negative and positive comments and what type of language should be used.
Aksana: Some practices may only respond if the rating given is under three stars, however we suggest acknowledging all reviews. You should even engage with patients who leave glowing, positive reviews and thank them for choosing your practice.
Q: Why is it so important to engage with online reviews?
Aksana: It’s very important for prospective patients to see that the practice is responding to patient reviews, both positive and negative ones. It shines a better light on that practice if potential customers can see that someone is reading the reviews and is concerned about patients’ experiences.
Kait: Yes, it’s important to be accessible and encourage an environment of openness and transparency with clients.
Also, when a patient leaves a negative review, the marketing manager or patient experience manager can address the concern and reach out to the patient in order to turn a negative experience into a positive one. In cases like this, we frequently see patients come back to the negative review they previously left, and update it with a positive response indicating that their issue had been resolved and praising the practice for their customer service. Prospective patients will see these exchanges and appreciate that your practice is patient-centered and concerned about their well-being, as well as their satisfaction.
If you have any questions for Kait and Aksana, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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