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Facilitating Online Reviews – Encouraging Happy Patients to Go Public

Facilitating Online Reviews
Patient review sites are increasingly important to healthcare consumers. These sites are convenient to use and offer current information for those seeking a practitioner or a second opinion, and they provide information beyond the basics included in physician directories.

More is better because most patient feedback will be positive reviews, and more positive reviews will dilute the impact that negative reviews can have—assuming the negative comments are few and far between. A University of Michigan study found that 81% of respondents typically gave positive or neutral reviews of doctors online.

Unfortunately, dissatisfied patients might start writing a bad review even before they leave your office, whereas satisfied patients may not post online reviews unless asked to do so. And many physicians aren’t comfortable asking patients to provide positive online feedback. Here are some tips for garnering online accolades from satisfied patients:

Make it easy. Many practices make laptops available to patients before they leave the office, enabling them to post while their medical experience is still fresh in their mind, without taking time away from their daily routine. Other practices send a post-visit email that includes a link to the physician’s online profile, asking patients to leave a review.

Ask for support. This can be tricky, and downright unpalatable to some, but physicians who receive a really bad rating online can ask other patients to respond to the flames or leave a comment on the website.

Know which review sites to use. In 2014, Yelp was the most-used site for patient reviews, with 27% of respondents saying they posted reviews there, according to a survey by Software Advice. Yelp edged out Healthgrades and RateMDs, which were each used by 26% of survey respondents.

Use all the features of these sites. Complete online profiles on healthcare provider-specific review sites. This will maximize the chances that patients will find your practice using various types of search results, and what they see will include content you’ve provided.

Invest in reputation management tools. Some practices might get a better return on investment by using reputation management software. These programs enable a practice to proactively seek patient feedback and generate reports, vet reviewers’ accuracy, and enable the practice to rapidly respond to negative feedback, address patient concerns, and (possibly) convince them to remove negative posts.

Keeping your customers satisfied is never easy, but it’s going to be ever-more important to your patient count and your bottom line. Fortunately, most patients are willing to give you a good review. All you have to do is ask.

  1. The Healthcare Blog.
  2. Journal of the American Medical Association, Research Letter, February 19, 2014, “Public Awareness, Perception, and Use of Online Physician Rating Sites,” by David A. Hanauer, MD, MS, et al.
  3. Medscape, July 14, 2017, “The Worst Types of Online Reviews,” by Madeleine Beckman,
  4. Software Advice website, “Patient Use of Online Reviews–2014,” by John Leslie,
  5. Physicians Practice website, November 13, 2015, “Five Online Reputation Management Strategies for Physicians,” by Tod Baker,

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