The consumerization of healthcare refers to the impact consumer-facing technologies has and will continue to have on this sector. The last 20 years has heralded a boon in technologies such as the Internet, smartphones and mobile apps. How these and similar technologies impact the nature of the healthcare sector is key to understanding how this area will evolve in the future. Smart healthcare actors will recognize this phenomenon and strive to take advantage. They will be on the right side of business history.
Today, we will touch on just one aspect of this consumerization: online reviews. These started as a way for individuals to express their opinions online on the product or service they had received from someone; they were especially popular when it came to rating restaurants and other service-based businesses. Over time, medical facilities and personnel started to receive ratings from patients. Today, a search for a doctor or practice will be sure to turn up search results that ratings from companies such as Google or Yelp as well as more specialized healthcare specific entities such as RateMD, Vitals, Healthgrades and their ilk.
Online reviews and ratings are here to stay and they play a critical role in the decision-making made by individuals as they attempt to select a provider. They (online reviews) are especially important for younger segments of the population who are digitally native and typically would not have the same loyalty to a provider that older patients may have. Statistics say approximately 45% of millennials consider the quantity and content of online reviews before they choose a doctor. At the same time, roughly 20% of Boomers also take online reviews into account when they make their choice of doctors.
So, it is indisputable. Patients use online reviews and those reviews have an impact on how you and your practice are perceived. You cannot wish them away and you really shouldn’t. More often than not, doctors focus on the negative reviews but the reality is that the overwhelming number of patients you treat will have a positive feeling after seeing you. Getting those patients to advocate for you is the right thing to do: it tells a truer story of you and your practice, it mitigates any negative reviews you may have and your patients who love you are usually eager to say that publicly!
Please contact us for how you can turn your patients into your ADVOCATES as well as other best practices on dealing with negative reviews. We have a tremendous amount of experience helping healthcare providers like you with online review management and take pride in making your online reputation reflects the real-world reputation you have,