A practice’s online reputation is becoming one of the most influential factors for patients in choosing a new provider, just as important as hanging your practice name out in front of the office. With the world at their fingertips, patients can and do search the internet before making decisions, and that includes decisions about their healthcare. With just a few taps on a smartphone, patients can see the wide variety providers in any location.
Today, 77 percent of patients use online reviews as the first step in choosing a new provider and 84 percent say they use online reviews to evaluate physicians. So, it’s safe to say that if a practice doesn’t appear in an internet search, patients probably won’t choose it. If the practice’s online reputation leaves something to be desired, they probably won’t choose that practice either.
Building an online reputation takes time and persistence but that doesn’t mean it has to be overwhelming. With just a few simple strategies, practices can build their reputation online, and in turn grow their practice.
Engage on Social Media
In 2016, patients spent an average of two hours every day on social media sites. More than one billion people worldwide are active on Facebook. Today, the top search results on Google are often social media pages. This is why it is so important to have an active business page on Facebook. To further improve ranking in searches, it is also critical to claim and update your listing on Google.
There are many other social media sites, but if a practice has to choose just one, Facebook is probably the best option. Depending on the demographics of a practice’s patients or the practice’s specialty, there may be other good choices as well. For example, a practice that caters largely to women might consider a presence on Pinterest. Or a practice that has great visual before-and-after images might consider Instagram.
Engaging on social media allows practices to maintain a consistent and active presence. Practices on DrChrono can use Solutionreach to manage their social media accounts in one platform. Posts can be scheduled ahead of time and having the latest trends or industry research can help build credibility with potential patients looking for a new provider.
Social media is also a great way to engage with current and potential patients. Responding to posts, answering questions, or running contests not only builds the loyalty of current patients, it also lets potential patients see how the provider interacts with their patients. Patients want providers who care and make an effort to build relationships. The way a practice responds to patients on social media can be used as a forecast for how people will be treated once they become patients.
Increase patient reviews
Based on the research, there is no doubt that growing patient reviews is essential. Surprisingly, the majority of patients would leave a review if asked.
Post-visit surveys can be automatically sent out that asks for feedback about the visit and for a review on sites like Facebook or Google.
An even better option is to text patients to ask for a review.It’s flexible, easy and makes it possible to quickly generate a lot of positive reviews. Capturing the patient’s feedback right after the encounter can help patients provide an accurate review.
Many practices worry that asking every patient will result in some negative reviews. That’s ok. According to one study only about seven percent of patient leave bad reviews. And most people feel like the reviews are more realistic and accurate when there is a mix of positive neutral and negative reviews. By asking every patient, the chances of drowning out bad reviews with good ones is significantly increased, and that is the best approach to dealing with bad reviews.
Don’t forget to monitor reviews
Once reviews have been posted online, practices can’t afford to ignore them. It’s important to have a process in place to respond to any reviews left about the practice.
Responding to the positive reviews is easy, but it’s beneficial to have a procedure for responding to negative reviews also. Responding promptly to all reviews with a thoughtful response will show both current and potential patients the practice values their feedback.
Negative reviews are inevitable, but responding positively and with empathy to the patient’s point of view will go a long way in increasing the practice’s reputation. Training one or a few specific individuals to respond to all reviews will help the practice maintain one voice and ensure they are dealt with appropriately.
By combining the right processes with the right technology, practices can build and maintain their online presence, making their practice more easily found by potential patients, and increasing the loyalty of their current ones.
Ready to build your online presence with DrChrono? Contact our product specialists and we’ll set you up with a demo.
Solutionreach is focused on providing the technology, and the expertise on how to effectively use it, to deliver better care and build a more profitable practice. We show practices how to improve the experience for patients and providers. To learn more, schedule a consultation now.
|Article by Lea Chatham, Director of Content Marketing, Solutionreach
Lea Chatham is the Director of Content Marketing at Solutionreach, the company that is revolutionizing the healthcare experience for providers and their patients. She is responsible for developing educational resources to help medical practices improve the patient provider relationship. Lea spent over five years leading engagement at a small integrated health system and has 15 years of experience developing educational content for leading patient relationship, practice management, and EHR companies.