As we prepare for the new year, it’s time to start thinking about what resolutions you should make with regards to marketing for you and your practice. If it’s not already in your plans, you should certainly start thinking about putting focus on your reputation management. In fact, a statistic from this year showed that 94 percent of patients from a particular survey used online reviews to evaluate physicians. So, unless your focus is on the other 6%, you should certainly take the sentiment you’re giving to the public into consideration as it could dictate whether or not you receive new patients.
There are dozens of listings out there for healthcare providers and entities that may contain reviews from patients, but they’re each a bit different in how they’re managed. We’ll break down the top ones to focus on, and how you should go about the process!
In the online world, there’s very little you can do without involving Google, and reviews are no different. When someone searches either your name as a provider, your practice’s name, or even a relevant keyword, there’s a very large chance that they’re going to find your Google My Business profile first. Not only does this profile allow the user to call you or visit your site, but it also allows them to see your reviews from current or past patients. Regardless of if they’re bad or good, they’ll still be seen, so it’s important you understand just what is being said. In addition, users will be able to see your response to the reviewer, making that part of the process equally as important.
But, it gets even better…
Google knows when people are looking for the best of the best. So, if you happen to type in “best ____ near me” (with the blank being your specialty), you may show up as the image indicates. However, that’s only if you have a 4 star sentiment or above. If you don’t, you risk losing out on patients that are looking for the best possible care. Even though you know that you can provide it, how do potential patients?
The moral of the story is, put an emphasis on your Google reviews. Patients like to see positive reviews, quality responses from the location, and volume (so, the more the merrier). Keep your sentiment high and your reviews robust and you should see patients coming in the door in no time.
When referring to healthcare specific listings, healthgrades is a dominant player in the space. When searching for a practice or physician, you can almost guarantee that there will be a profile associated with each. Whether or not those profiles are filled out and optimized properly, however, is another story. If you’re actively monitoring these profiles, then you may know what your overall review sentiment here is, but if not then you may be shocked to find out! One way to check is to take a look at your Google My Business profile. You may find that healthgrades, along with a few others, are listed in the body of the listing like the image to the right.
The difference between healthgrades and Google is that healthgrades is very much focused on the healthcare element, and thus the reviews are typically much more focused on the overall standard of care. While Google may have more reviews about the actual practice itself (including the staff and facility), healthgrades may have more about the bedside manner of the doctor, or how a specific procedure went. You can certainly still push for more reviews here, but it’s not often that you’ll see the same volume as you would on Google. Regardless, it’s still important to make sure you’re actively monitoring these, and responding as needed. You can do this by making sure your listings are claimed, and gaining ownership of them.
Similar to healthgrades, Vitals and WebMD are strictly focused on the healthcare space, and are frequently found on page one of a search for a physician or practice. However, these listings will often provide much less detail that healthgrades or Google and essentially focus more on the rating of a doctor. Thus, it’s not often that you’ll see a great deal of responses on these listings from the actual providers being reviewed.
Vitals is currently undergoing a number of changes and mergers with WebMD, so there is a chance you’ll face some issues logging in or accessing the site, but it’s still important to know your overall sentiment. If your sentiment is below a 4 star, you will want to look into driving a bit more traffic to these sites to ensure that your overall sentiment stays up!
Once a very large player in the healthcare space, RateMDs has since become less of a listing that shows up on search results and more of a listing that people may, at times, sift through to find out more information on their doctor. With that said, the importance of RateMDs should not be downplayed. As with any other healthcare listing, it’s very important to make sure that you have claimed this listing and are actively monitoring it to find out what people are saying about you, or even to make sure that the reviews are for you. There have often been times that providers have received reviews for other physicians, resulting in a bit of confusion. If you claim the listing, you’ll have the ability to contact their support as needed to clear up any issues.
While it may not be necessary to drive a ton of additional reviews to this listing as it doesn’t come up near the others, it’s certainly nice to have consistency! If your other listings are 5 stars and this one sits at a 3 star, then it’s absolutely something to focus on.
Yelp is an interesting situation in the healthcare world. You cannot solicit new reviews from them via software due to their policies, so you’re basically just monitoring the listing to ensure that you’re actively responding to any negative reviews. With that said, Yelp controls what they publish and do not publish, which can be a bit cumbersome to deal with if you’re a practicing physician. If you use a reputation management software, you’ll be able to monitor these reviews instantaneously, and even potentially respond to them from one main source, making your life much easier.
Although Yelp is not something healthcare frequently pushes (it’s much more suited for restaurants and retail), it still tends to show up at the very top of search results, and is often the first thing that potential patients will check. If you notice that your sentiment is low, then there are ways you can ask people to leave a positive review on Yelp. However, because of the algorithm, you’ll want to make sure that these people are active “Yelpers” or else their review may go into a non-recommended pile and not even be seen by the public. Again, a cumbersome process, but something you’ll want to be aware of.
Anything In Between
These are the main ones to focus on, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should ignore anything else. Make sure that you know your sentiment across the board. By utilizing a software like the one Practis has to offer for reputation management, you can easily monitor this information and even have an expert help you. Contact us today to learn more and get started!