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Healthcare marketing strategy3 min read How important are online physician reviews and ratings?

7 strategies to improve online reviews.

June 1, 2021The Coffey Team

Let's face it, word-of-mouth has caught up with the digital revolution. Yesterday's "ask your neighbor" is today's Google search. So when consumers use information they find online to make important decisions about their healthcare, they are likely accessing sites with physician ratings and reviews.

According to a 2021 Healthcare Reputation Report, when people look for a physician, they're more likely to use the internet as their starting point more than any other source, with the exception of insurance portals and recommendations from family and friends.

The report also shows:

  • 68% of the population say that they went online to find information about a healthcare provider in 2020.
  • 51% said they've selected a doctor over another based on reviews.
  • 48% ages 27 to 34 rely on Google for ratings and reviews.
  • 39% of patients consider ratings and reviews when choosing a healthcare location online.

Trends leading to increasing reviews

The increased importance of physician ratings can be attributed to these trends:

  • It's easy. Technology makes it convenient for people to leave reviews. Smartphones allow consumers to quickly and easily look up reviews and post their own.
  • Younger healthcare consumers. Millennials, who are becoming a larger healthcare consumer group, are more likely than older consumers to turn to social media and online consumer reviews when choosing healthcare.
  • Higher healthcare costs. Increased cost-sharing in the form of deductibles, co-payments and higher premiums means that patients are more likely to shop around for care and demand a better patient experience.
  • Quick access to decision-making information. When more information on a physician is available online, such as ratings, years of experience and which insurances are accepted, consumers tend to choose one physician over another based on these criteria.

So what does this mean?

With consumers increasingly searching online to make healthcare decisions, it is more important than ever to know your online ratings and address poor reviews quickly.

Here are 7 things you can do to improve physician reviews:

  • Create your own content. Use blogs, social media and online listings to control your name in more locations online.
  • Keep up social media presence. Establish your reputation on social media through regular posts and interaction with your followers.
  • Respond to reviews quickly. Among those who often use provider ratings, 57% chose not to see a provider because of poor reviews, according to the University of Michigan's National Poll on Healthy Aging.
  • Identify unhappy patients sooner. Prevent negative reviews by responding to patients' concerns as soon as possible. Make sure they are happy with their care before they leave their provider's office.
  • Feature high ratings on your site. Share your high ratings on your website and in your online physician directory to assure consumers that you are a provider of choice.
  • Encourage patient reviews. Use marketing tools such as publications and collateral, as well as posters and on-site marketing, to remind patients to post reviews. Ask patients to share their positive experiences online, especially immediately after an appointment.
  • Conduct your own surveys. You can better control what type of feedback you want to glean from patients with your own surveys. Make sure your strategy involves follow-up and problem solving.

A custom provider directory

With the right strategies in place, you should be able to stay on top of online physician reviews and make sure the good outshines the bad. We can help.

At Coffey, we developed a custom provider directory with enhanced filtering that gives consumers the ability to narrow their search based on the provider's location, specialty, language, medical group and whether they're accepting new patients. And we can integrate with a third-party vendor to include star ratings and reviews within physician profiles. This information creates a sense of transparency and can help healthcare marketers with their overall reputation management and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

We'd love to hear about your plans and look for ways we can help. Just contact us to get the conversation started.