Practices must do better responding to online reviews

July 23, 2019

Many physician practices ignore online reviews-especially when they are negative, a new survey found.

A majority of physicians and healthcare providers are concerned with maintaining a quality patient connection, yet nearly one third of practices do not spend the time or resources to achieve this, according to a newly released survey.

A recent survey of 233 healthcare providers conducted by the online management vendor PatientPop, found that most practices and providers think a positive online reputation is the key to optimal patient-practice communication, yet too few prioritize digital patient feedback from online reviews.

One of the contributing factors is the lack of knowledge when it comes to management of online reputations.

“To present an exemplary first impression online, practices need a method to manage online reputation tasks, from asking for feedback and responding to patients to tracking online reviews,” the survey authors write.

According to the survey, nine out of 10 providers have seen reviews of their practice online, but they don’t always respond to them. Fifty-two percent of providers who don’t respond believe it won’t make a difference. This is true especially if they are negative-nearly one in five practices don’t respond to negative patient feedback at all, the survey says.

There have been some improvements since PatientPop’s previous survey in 2018. Practices in the study reported a 17.5 percent increase in their online presence.

“With the 2019 report, we see more healthcare providers focused on the prover and patient connection, the core of a strong online reputation,” says Luke Kervin, PatientPop co-founder and co-CEO, in a news release. “But our data also show that even with that improvement, too few providers prioritize patient feedback and online reputation, an oversight that will hinder practice growth.”

Going forward, research shows that practices will have to adapt in order to stay in business. This means strengthening provider-patient communication with techniques such as follow-up calls and appointment reminders in addition to responding to online reviews.

“Based on their responses, a greater percentage of providers understand online reputation management,” the survey authors say. “But a sizeable amount of inactivity or lack of planning is still present. These passive healthcare practices will find themselves at a disadvantage as others actively take control of the online reputation.”