In a matter of months, a global pandemic propelled technology forward in nearly every industry by three to seven years, and the healthcare sector was no exception. Practices scrambled to provide care for patients in a way that was safe and permissible while adhering to HIPAA protocols.
Virtual appointments increased exponentially and practices of all kinds implemented telehealth services for the first time. The demand for providers to have a reputable digital presence catapulted to the forefront and there’s no turning back.
As you’ve may have realized, if you’re not on the train by now, you’ll be left behind.
The impact of digital technology on the practioner’s reputation
Beyond needing digital technology to better serve today’s patients’ health issues, practices and hospitals also need a compelling digital presence for their practitioners and services. Think it’s enough that established practices have a loyal patient base to ensure future success and generate continual revenue?
Consider the following:
- More than 80% of patients will switch providers as a result of a negative experience.
- 90% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physician reputation.
- 77% percent of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new healthcare provider.
As a healthcare enterprise, these are statistics you can’t ignore. Patients want the best overall experience from their medical practitioners including the digital experience.
Are your practices providing it from the very first contact with the office to the in-person appointment? How can you find out?
Healthcare reputation management tip 1:
Automate patient reviews
The office staff is already bogged down with COVID sanitation protocols, scheduling appointments, and focusing on providing a great patient experience for everyone in the healthcare facility. The team can’t possibly remember to ask every single patient to leave a review.
When you implement healthcare customer relationship management (CRM) software that automatically sends a text or an email to each patient within hours of their appointment, you can increase patient reviews without adding more work for your team.
Additionally, choose a CRM that automatically pushes the reviews out to the most popular healthcare review sites, including Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades.
It’s simple. After each appointment, patients receive a request from the practice to leave a review. It can be as easy as rating their experience on a scale of 1-5 stars, or the request can include a few short questions and space to leave comments.
It shouldn’t be a burden for patients to leave reviews for the practice or hospital. When it only takes a minute or two, the majority of patients are happy to click the buttons on their phones or computers to provide the necessary feedback.
Incidentally, only 1 percent of patients leave “very negative” reviews. This means the majority of patients will offer a great rating when they’re having a great patient experience.
Healthcare reputation management tip 2:
Revamp your website
It’s quite off-putting to search for a new provider, discover one with a stellar reputation, then arrive at an outdated, non-mobile-user-friendly website. To improve your reputation and digital credibility, take inventory of your website with the following criteria:
- Is your website easy to navigate?
- Is your website mobile-friendly? (More than 60 percent of patients look-up health information from their smartphones.)
- Does your website have a clean, simple, uncluttered design?
- Can patients request an appointment with the click of a button?
- Does your website clearly communicate your services and specialties?
- Does your website integrate seamlessly with your healthcare CRM?
Anything you can do to contribute to a positive patient experience from the first contact with the practice or hospital website helps boost your reputation. The goal is to get prospective patients to feel happy and satisfied with their online experience so they’re more inclined to book an appointment or schedule a consultation.
Healthcare reputation management tip 3:
Establish or improve your professional social media presence
Why do you need social media to boost your healthcare organization and physician reputations? Because that’s one of the ways today’s patients search for new healthcare providers.
If your organization is new to social media, maintaining a business page or presence can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. First, consider your patient demographics and your target audiences of current and future patients.
- As of July 2021, the largest age group of Facebook users in the United States is the 25-34 year-olds at almost 26 percent.
- Coming in at close second is a tie between users, ages 18-24 and 35-44, at just over 18 percent each.
- Combined, about 62 percent of people, ages 18-44, may be searching for a new healthcare provider online.
Furthermore, add in the 45-54 age group (almost 14 percent) and the 55 and over group (about 11 percent) and you have a target audience that covers 97 percent of the population!
If your healthcare organization doesn’t have a Facebook business page, you are losing business to competitors who are marketing to all those prospective patients in your area.
Want to focus on a target demographic of 18-34 year-old men and women? Try adding an Instagram account to your social media platform to reach nearly 60 percent of users in that age bracket.
Keep it simple. Add content relevant to your practice’s speciality once or twice a week and personalize it for your individual offices so prospective patients can get a feel for the professionalism, friendliness, and personality of the practice and providers.
Social media is all about educating patients and building relationships that directly and positively impact your professional reputation. Patients who regularly see your organization and practioners in the online spaces they spend time in will choose you when it comes time to book an appointment.
Healthcare reputation management takeaways
Get your healthcare reputation up to speed with three easy jumpstarts:
- Automate patient reviews with an advanced healthcare CRM.
- Update your website so it’s user-friendly and easy for patients to request appointments.
- Educate and build relationships through social media pages.