Cultivating digital healthcare provider ratings is essential for practice development efforts, whether in-person, digital, or hybrid telehealth practice. Telehealth patient satisfaction is a classic topic in telehealth. More than ever, public telehealth provider ranking services are playing a pivotal role in patient and client “loyalty and acquisitions.” Research reflecting consumer preferences has surfaced for several years, such as the Press Ganey consumer report. It presents survey findings from 1,140 adult clients and patients gathered from different regions, races, ages, and classes. The report shows that digital patient experience consideration of online practitioner reviews is one of “the most important factor(s) in the decision to book an appointment with a provider.”
Consumer trends revealed that 84% of patients in the United States read online patient reviews to determine their choice of healthcare provider and 80% of these patients trust patient reviews just like personal commendations. The bottom line is that a positive online presence makes a big impact on the success and growth of any practice. If a provider is getting more positive patient reviews, more patients will be attracted to use a particular healthcare service. A negative patient review could be alarming and discourage patients from coming to practice. Therefore, attracting patients should be a major vision of healthcare organizations.
Consider Patient Satisfaction with Telehealth Provider Experience
Press Ganey’s survey found that 60% of Gen Z and millennials, along with 44% of baby boomers, research their healthcare practitioners based on positive reviews. That is an increase from just a few years ago in 2019 when only 17% of baby boomers and 47% of Gen Z or millennials conducted digital research before booking with a telehealth provider. They searched reviews from devices such as tablets or smartphones. A four to five-star rating played an important factor, as the findings revealed that “83% of patients go online to read reviews about a provider after they receive a referral”. A vast majority of “84% would not see their preferred provider if they had less than a four-star rating”. Therefore, a positive digital presence is crucial for online providers despite a patient’s age. See TBHI’s previous article, Encouraging Trust: Client & Patient Engagement, for more observations and suggestions.
7 Strategies to Creating Online Patient Ratings
- Focus on Patient or Client Experience. Offer seamless services at every step point of the care journey. Start with easy scheduling, easy check-in, and a positive professional visit. Practices can deploy technology solutions to enhance the patient experience by streamlining the booking process through the Patient Scheduling EMR Software system. Patient Portal EMR Software solutions can also facilitate seamless communication between the provider and the patient and make patients feel involved throughout their healthcare journey by easily viewing their personal information and viewing lab results in a few clicks. By improving patient experience with carefully-chosen digital technology solutions, practices can start on the right foot to improve patient reviews.
- Avoid distractions. Whether online or in-person treating, professional healthcare providers should focus on helping patients relax during all clinical encounters. To maximize the therapeutic alliance, professionals should refrain from checking their devices, answering telephones, and avoiding other environmental distractions. Everything possible should be done to help patients and clients leave clinical encounters with a sense of satisfaction.
- Engage all your team members – everyone in your healthcare organization can impact your patients and clients. It may also be important to note that in-person staff work in their environment to improve the patient experience by warmly greeting patients in the waiting room and responding to queries with reasonable solutions. Doctors, nurses, administrators, front desk staff members, and billing professionals all play an important role in providing value to patients with the right ethics, knowledge, and energy. Patients expect the best, which can be done by undivided attention and being there when the patient needs assistance. For example, medical billing members should be considerate and provide the right information about balances with patients.
- Encourage staff members to get positive patient reviews – Inspire a positive patient care approach by offering incentives such as social recognition or bonuses such as dinner if they get mentioned in positive reviews for the practice.
- Publish positive reviews on your website or social media. Depending on the nature of the work
- Encourage dissatisfied patients and clients to speak with you rather than post negative reviews.
- Avoid encouraging patients or clients to write reviews. Although many healthcare marketing companies will encourage you to ask the people you serve to write positive reviews, such requests are verboten in behavioral care, whether delivered online or in person. Asking for such reviews is unilaterally considered “exerting undue influence” and explicitly forbidden by the ethical code of behavioral associations in the United States. If you work with citizens of other countries, you may want to carefully read the ethical codes governing your work and write to the ethical boards in question before stepping into this territory. Although it has become common for patients to use websites such as ZocDoc or Healthgrades to evaluate healthcare professionals and schedule appointments, these options are not commonly available for behavioral professionals. If in doubt for your practice, ask your professional association and get a written response with a signature.
Multiple Sources When Selecting An Digital Health Provider
Study participants reportedly used multiple sites to conduct their research to select a digital health provider, including the provider’s website, Google, WebMD, Facebook, and HealthGrades. Clients and patients want to consider the best patient experience they can find. Consumers reportedly use three different sites to conduct their research, and they read a total of five reviews before selecting a practitioner. Aside from websites like Google and WebMD, consumers often search for digital health providers in their geographic proximity rather than searching for a practitioner who provides more expertise to address specific symptoms but is geographically distant. Many seek a positive digital patient experience such as a digital scheduling tool to increase efficiency and convenience for consumers and practitioners.
Importance of Positive Digital Health Patient Experience & Provider Ratings
Many patients experiencing the heavy toll of US healthcare expenses are increasingly expecting a positive digital patient experience. They seek exemplary customer service and communication from a telehealth provider. Given the dramatic increase in telehealth usage since 2019, telehealth serves many user demographics. According to Press Ganey’s senior vice president, Andrei Zimiles, “word of mouth is online now, and adopting a digital-first mindset allows organizations to monitor all interactions and encounters better.” Whether large organizations or independent practitioners, digital health providers need to factor in electronic ease of use and consistently maintain good reviews to seek new patients who can become regulars. See TBHI’s previous article, Legal & Ethical Processes for Choosing Digital Communication Tools for Healthcare, for more on this topic.