In case you missed it, the Forum for Healthcare Strategists hosted a webinar, “Reputation Management: From the Marketing Department to the C-Suite.” Moderated by Karen Corrigan, CEO of Corrigan Partners, the webinar featured best practices and expert insights from three leading healthcare marketers on creating a successful Reputation Management strategy for healthcare systems, hospitals, physician groups and practices.
We heard from Mike Dame, VP of Marketing and Communications at Carilion Clinic; Kate Slonaker, VP of Marketing at Privia Health; and Richard Palumbo, VP of Marketing at AMSURG. Mike, Kate and Richard each shared their organization’s marketing approach for building and managing positive online ratings and reviews, addressing service recovery, ensuring an exceptional patient experience and winning patient loyalty.
Where Are You in Your Reputation Management Journey?
The webinar kicked off with the audience being asked if Reputation Management is part of their marketing strategy. Only 35% said, “Yes, we’re using a Reputation Management solution” and another 30% responded, “Yes, but it’s a very manual process.” That left 35% without a Reputation Management game plan. If you’re unsure of your organization’s strategy, here are a few things you need to know:
Patient Engagement: Listening to Your Patients Really Matters
As informed healthcare consumers, patients know they have choices when it comes to selecting the right primary care physician, specialist or inpatient or outpatient facility. More and more, there’s no such thing as the “family doctor.” That’s where online ratings and reviews come into play. As Kate from Privia commented, “We all know how to find the best hamburger, but we don’t always know how to find the best doctor.”
Mike from Carilion Clinic warned audience participants, “If you don’t have strong online ratings and reviews, and you’re not listening to what your patients are saying about you, then you’re really missing a key part of the marketing mix. Reputation matters more in healthcare than in any other industry.”
He added that 88% of healthcare consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, and 94% of consumers choosing a healthcare facility say reputation is important.
What’s Your Digital Word of Mouth?
Applying her background in hospitality to the healthcare industry, Kate told the audience that physicians today are in a similar situation that hotels in the early 2000s found themselves: relying more and more on “digital word of mouth” to tell their story, attract new customers and keep their most valued guests coming back every year.
Your reputation on digital platforms such as RateMDs.com, Zocdoc, Yelp, Healthgrades, and even Twitter, Facebook and Google is critical today. But how are overworked, overextended practices and physicians supposed to keep an eye on everything being written about them while caring for patients and collecting reimbursement?
Managing approximately four million patients, Privia Health is a national medical group and clinically integrated network that partners with payers, and uses technology and population health management to reward independent practices for improving outcomes and reducing costs. Kate explained that Privia removes many of the administrative burdens that independent practices face with Reputation Management and, in turn, helps them:
• Acquire new patient volume and loyalty
• Engage patients in their care and increase satisfaction
• Preserve and protect their practice’s unique brand
• Maintain and grow revenue
Physician Engagement: Data is the Power that Fuels Change
From a marketing perspective, physicians can resist change. Focused on patient care, contracts, billing, emerging technologies and EMR challenges, physician practices have their hands full. In this webinar, 35% of the audience participating reported not having any kind of reputation management program in place.
Doctors are motivated by results and data. Gaining visibility into patient experience data – a factor that affects their practices – can grab their attention. Monthly reports are recommended to help providers and practice managers make better-informed decisions on what actions are needed to improve operations. Physicians are also highly competitive. More physicians are starting to request benchmark reports so they can see where they rank among their colleagues.
During the webinar, Richard described needing a way to gain insights into every step of the healthcare continuum for its 255 ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs): from identification of care needed, initial doctor visit and validation of additional steps, to day-of-care, post-care follow-up and patient satisfaction surveying.
“We knew that if we could gain insight into the collective score of both the physician and the facility where they practice,” Richard explained, “then we could cultivate a plan for continuous improvement based on actual patient experience and outcomes.” AMSURG partners with and employs over 6,500 physicians and other healthcare professionals.
As a patient- and care-centric organization, AMSURG focuses on care issues, people issues and physical concerns. For instance, if a new patient isn’t treated warmly and professionally at check-in, there’s no convenient parking or the waiting room is cluttered and uninviting, that patient’s perception of care will most likely suffer.
AMSURG is using Binary Health Analytics to provide its executives with a detailed view into all areas of the patient experience, including bedside manner, communication, wait time, access and more. Potential issues or areas for improvement are immediately flagged and forwarded to each practice manager for service recovery.
Don’t Forget Executive Support and Organizational Adoption
Carilion Clinic has established reputation management as a core component of their strategic marketing plan. Transitioning from a hospital system to a physician-led, clinic model with integrated healthcare delivery to better serve a patient population of nearly one million, Carilion realized early on that achieving executive buy-in is critical to any successful strategic plan.
Carilion’s C-level executives, including the CEO and CMO, place a high value on communication and have instilled a commitment to open, transparent dialogue throughout the Carilion culture. As active communicators, they are focused on listening to patients and engaging in two-way conversations, protecting and championing their brand and telling their story through digital media. As Mike said, “If we don’t tell our story, someone else will.”
Have questions about Reputation Management and what it can do for your organization? Contact us to learn more.
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