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March 07, 2017

Uncovering Insights in Digital Patient Feedback

By: Andrew Rainey

Patient Feedback Challenges Historically patient experience was measured solely with CAHPS surveys. Now that’s changed. Whether you work for a hospital, physician practice, ambulatory surgical center or another type of healthcare organization, patient feedback is now scattered across multiple sources including online reviews, social media, patient surveys and even call center data. The challenge is…

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Patient Feedback Challenges

Historically patient experience was measured solely with CAHPS surveys. Now that’s changed. Whether you work for a hospital, physician practice, ambulatory surgical center or another type of healthcare organization, patient feedback is now scattered across multiple sources including online reviews, social media, patient surveys and even call center data. The challenge is how do you make sense of all this information. Buried within these open-ended comments are meaningful insights that can be used to improve the patient experience and your organization’s reputation.

The evidence is there. At Binary Fountain, we’ve analyzed nearly 10 million reviews to date – and uncovered over 40 million insights – and the numbers continue to grow 44% annually, according to our internal research. The need to quickly analyze feedback at scale becomes more vital. You need to trend on this data as well as quickly drill down into the details to identify issues that need to be resolved. Even the online reviews and surveys one practice receives can be overwhelming to manage – and it can impact their business. So what’s the strategy you need to adopt to gain value from patient feedback?

Arm Yourself with Healthcare-specific NLP.

So what is natural language processing (NLP)? As scientific as it sounds, NLP uncovers meaningful insights from everyday language that can be found in millions of online reviews, surveys and other sources. Identifying and analyzing keywords and phrases in unstructured comments, along with the context of how they’re being used, can reveal useful information. NLP is one of the most powerful tools a system can use to understand and act on the patient experience.

When we evaluated the market, the NLP tools we came across were created to work across multiple industries. Patients are unique consumers so a one-size-fits all approach doesn’t work well when it comes to understanding their voice. There are valuable lessons learned from other industries, but feedback provided about a physician or specialist requires a more targeted NLP, not one that also analyzes reviews about Bob’s Auto Shop, J. Crew or McDonald’s.

We took the approach of creating a healthcare-centric NLP from the ground up to understand the nuances of healthcare language, starting with 37 patient experience categories serving as the foundation. Among these categories, insights from comments could be related to Timely Care (“waited over 30 minutes…”), Helps Patient Understand (“Doctor took time to explain new medication…”) Overall Experience (They take great care of our family…”), for example, while revealing their sentiment. It even lets you drill down into the root cause of the issue, helping make this information actionable. For a healthcare system or practice, if front desk staff is receiving bad reviews they’ll want to dig deeper to identify the issue causing it – and fix it. Ultimately, they want to know “the why” behind a three-star or five-star review, which is truly valuable.

Taking Action.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to build patient loyalty and create a better patient experience. Engaging your patients online or offline is key. Timely service recovery on a patient complaint could turn a bad review into a better one. It can also be a learning moment, helping you identify where you need to improve. Healthcare organizations like Carilion Clinic and Signature Medical Group are exemplary when it comes to making this data actionable, and their patient experience scores and reputation management programs have improved as a result.

Online Reviews Correlate to HCAHPS.

What we have learned along the way is the value of online reviews. We recently performed a study of 105 hospitals across 19 states and discovered a strong, positive correlation (0.54 coefficient) between patient feedback scores calculated from unstructured online reviews and HCAHPS Top Box scores (overall rating domain).

Understand What’s Important to Your Patients.

The answers toward improving the patient experience are in front of you. You already have a wealth of patient feedback, and as I mentioned before, you need to make sense of it. It’s about taking the next step, and you need tools created specifically for the healthcare environment to have a positive, meaningful impact on the patient experience. Having a comprehensive view of patient metrics and insights can help you achieve valuable competitive advantages. Many healthcare organizations are already benchmarking their performance against other healthcare organizations. Healthcare is trending toward the consumer experience and the health systems that embrace this shift will find themselves winning new patients and building long-term loyalty.

Interested in finding out how to optimize – or initialize – your online reputation management or patient experience analytics program?
Contact Binary Fountain today to request a personalized demonstration of our comprehensive reputation management platform.

About the Author

Andrew Rainey
EVP of Strategy & Corporate Development

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March 03, 2017

Snapshot of Jarrard Inc.’s Critical Patient Experience Research

By: George LaDue

With digital consumerism disrupting healthcare, the patient experience is expanding past the walls of care. Online reviews by patients have been increasing 44% annually according to our own data and 84% of consumers are using this information to help select their provider. Consequently, health systems across the U.S. are under increasing pressure to improve the…

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With digital consumerism disrupting healthcare, the patient experience is expanding past the walls of care. Online reviews by patients have been increasing 44% annually according to our own data and 84% of consumers are using this information to help select their provider. Consequently, health systems across the U.S. are under increasing pressure to improve the experience they provide patients.

As a result, Jarrard Inc. and the Phillips Cate & Hancock firm set out to do some research. The healthcare strategic communications and engagement firm recently released their latest findings on patient experience in healthcare, titled Patient Experience 2.0: Expanding Your Horizons. In their national research project, the firm explored the patient experience and satisfaction at some of the country’s top hospitals and health systems.

Patient experience is certainly at the forefront when it comes to how hospitals are addressing changes in how care is being delivered. Jarrard’s research showed that 85 percent of healthcare systems believe that patient experience is one of the top three priorities for their organization. And 64 percent of organizations reported seeing an increase in patient acquisition since starting patient experience initiatives. However, only 35 percent of healthcare practices are publishing patient reviews on their websites. It is clear that becoming more transparent could be the starting point for a patient experience initiative and one of the best ways for organizations to increase patient satisfaction.

The study also made it exceedingly clear that improving HCAHPS scores alone won’t cut it anymore. Healthcare systems that don’t adopt a consumer-driven mindset are likely already behind the curve and may fall behind on loyalty and acquisition of new patients. They must develop custom strategies that fit their organization’s and patients’ needs and values.

About the Author

George LaDue
Sales Director

George helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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February 28, 2017

Webinar Review: How to Make an Online Physician Ratings & Review Program a Reality

By: Brian Williams

Recently, Karina Jennings, AVP Marketing, and Sunita Mishra, MD, Medical Director, Clinical Innovation at Providence Health and Services (PH&S), presented a webinar entitled, “How to Make an Online Physician Ratings & Review Program a Reality.” In case you missed it, here’s part of what we learned from Karina and Sunita: PH&S is the fourth largest…

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Recently, Karina Jennings, AVP Marketing, and Sunita Mishra, MD, Medical Director, Clinical Innovation at Providence Health and Services (PH&S), presented a webinar entitled, “How to Make an Online Physician Ratings & Review Program a Reality.” In case you missed it, here’s part of what we learned from Karina and Sunita:

PH&S is the fourth largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. In 2014, the organization partnered with Binary Fountain to develop an online physician ratings and review program, and launched a pilot in two markets in January 2015. Today, the program is deployed across the PH&S system over five states and four brands, providing patients with information on more than 1,800 physicians and generating approximately 5,500 comments per month.

With the help of Binary Fountain, PH&S gathers Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG CAHPS) data from Press Ganey surveys, and aggregates ratings from the previous 12 months for providers with a minimum of 30 ratings. Here’s a high-level overview of PH&S manages its publishing of online ratings and reviews:

  1. Press Ganey collects verified patient survey data;
  2. Binary Fountain pulls monthly data from Press Ganey;
  3. The Binary Fountain platform generates physician star ratings;
  4. Reviewers access Binary Fountain to approve, edit or reject comments; and
  5. Physician profiles are updated from the Binary Fountain platform into PH&S’s content management system.

While PH&S attempts to post all patient comments regardless of sentiment, including written remarks, the team edits for inappropriate language and Protected Health Information (PHI) to protect patient privacy. This system has been proven to boost Google search results over Healthgrades and Vitals, increase online physician profile traffic, and even generate more positive physician reviews.

Generating System-wide Support and Expansion

The marketing team at PH&S understood that healthcare consumers are doing more of their own research when selecting a provider and that complete transparency is key. They used this knowledge as they expanded their online physician ratings and review program. The team also realized that they had no control over what patients post on third-party sites, and that partnering with Binary Fountain to publish Press Ganey survey data would help amplify positive reviews and search optimization. On average, third-party sites have fewer reviews and lower star ratings than CG CAHPS data, and Press Ganey ensures that all reviewers are verified patients.

PH&S included every physician in their ratings and review program without exception. However, only those with at least 30 ratings had their ratings and reviews posted on their physician profile. To help alleviate concerns and encourage physician engagement, the team provided a forum to let doctors ask questions and preview what the system would look like prior to going live.

Today, almost 82 percent of provider directory website traffic originates from organic search, and PH&S’s search optimization strategy has increased its online presence. Furthermore, rankings, ratings and comments have increased click-through rates by 98 percent.

After launching the program, the average increase in page views for physicians without reviews was five percent, but those with star ratings saw an increase in page views by 25 to 29 percent respectively for general practitioners and specialists.

To learn more, listen to the recorded version of this webinar or read the case study.

Contact a Binary Fountain expert today to request a personalized demonstration of Binary Fountain’s reputation management and transparency solutions.

About the Author

Brian Williams
Engagement Manager

Brian helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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February 16, 2017

Striving Toward a World Class Patient Experience with Digital Patient Feedback

By: Sabrina Egan

Insights from digital patient surveys can help healthcare organizations plan their next moves in the journey towards creating a world-class patient experience. This month, we spoke with Nick LaRosa, Director of Sales and Marketing at Kure Pain Management, about the organization’s recent push to get patient feedback via surveys using the Binary Health Analytics platform….

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Insights from digital patient surveys can help healthcare organizations plan their next moves in the journey towards creating a world-class patient experience.

This month, we spoke with Nick LaRosa, Director of Sales and Marketing at Kure Pain Management, about the organization’s recent push to get patient feedback via surveys using the Binary Health Analytics platform. Here, Nick gives us insights into the initial challenges they faced and what they’ve since been able to successfully accomplish.

Hi Nick, can you give us a little background on what drove the need for this initiative around patient feedback? 

We knew we wanted to deliver excellent customer service across our seven healthcare centers but we didn’t have an effective way to measure patient experience. We had no idea how our customer service processes were performing and we believed we were at risk of losing a large number of patients. So we sought out a solution to help us better understand how we were performing and what specific changes we needed to make to become a world-class organization.

What steps did you take to address those needs and get this initiative going?

Once we identified the Binary Health Analytics platform, we immediately saw it as a crucial tool to helping us gain patient feedback, benchmark and track progress.

We had previously been using iPads to conduct post-care patient surveys, and this was a very time-consuming process. So, we began the initiative by switching to digital patient surveys through email campaigns with Binary Health Analytics, which greatly improved time management with office staff. And once the data and feedback started coming in, we uncovered significant patient concerns and immediately began addressing them.

What challenges did you face along the way? How did you address them?

There was some initial pushback from physicians and others throughout Kure. They didn’t think there were any issues, and they assumed the organization was doing a great job at patient satisfaction. However, to our good fortune, using Binary Fountain’s platform helped us reveal and share insights on how patients were really feeling. It was a definite eye-opener.

To address adoption, I started forwarding the negative surveys to highlight what pain points the organization or specific physicians needed to tackle. At that point, everyone in the organization agreed there were indeed issues that needed to be addressed. Moving forward, we celebrated positive reviews together and held staff accountable for negative reviews, while motivating them to improve.

How is this initiative impacting the organization?

This initiative has brought about positive results for our organization. It has helped us greatly improve customer service by educating staff members and introducing better-quality processes. This has significantly increased patient satisfaction and loyalty.

Measurable data is really giving us the drive and baseline to improve the customer lifecycle. For instance, one physician really wanted to see his patient experience scores and feedback. He was a brilliant doctor, but his scores didn’t fare so well in the customer service category. Once he was aware of the areas he needed to improve upon, he went from the lowest scoring physician at the practice to the top scoring doctor by implementing personal changes.

The fact that surveys and scores are being circulated throughout the organization keeps physicians accountable and creates a friendly competition to be the best.

What have the outcomes been to date?

Since implementing this initiative over nine months ago, the digital patient surveys have helped to significantly improve our online reviews and scores by about 95 percent. Kure Pain Management’s Yelp review score went up 110 percent for example, and our GooglePlus score increased by 314 percent.

All in all, positive online reviews have increased over 30 percent, while negative reviews have gone down by more than 60 percent. We’ve also seen a huge increase in patient experience scores, where patient loyalty went up about 35 percent and timely care scores soared over 100 percent.

And finally, what has Binary Fountain’s technology platform helped you do?

The Binary Health Analytics platform has allowed us to measure how we do as a business and provides precise direction on how we can successfully continue forward. We’ve been able to track performance with automated reports, communicate internally and develop our staff. It’s also helped improve staff time management, decrease patient wait times and even reduce spending across the organization. We’re striving to become world class and Binary Health Analytics is helping us get there.

The platform has helped us improve our reputation and the brand image of Kure Pain Management by increasing transparency throughout the organization as well as with our patients.

To learn more about how Binary Health Analytics can help improve your organization, contact us at marketing@binaryfountain.com.

About the Author

Sabrina Egan
Engagement Manager

Sabrina helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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February 09, 2017

Reputation Management Best Practices – Digital Surveys & Negative Reviews

By: Zargham Ghani

In Part 1 of our Reputation Management Best Practices interview we spoke with Kait Phillips and Aksana Koch, from Binary Fountain’s Customer Success team, about what advice they would give on engaging online reviews as a part of a successful healthcare reputation management strategy. In Part 2, they go a little further into best practices,…

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In Part 1 of our Reputation Management Best Practices interview we spoke with Kait Phillips and Aksana Koch, from Binary Fountain’s Customer Success team, about what advice they would give on engaging online reviews as a part of a successful healthcare reputation management strategy.

In Part 2, they go a little further into best practices, giving us their expert tips on digital healthcare surveys, expanding on strategies for responding to extremely negative reviews, and sharing how to begin your own reputation management program.

Q: In Part 1, you gave us your recommendations for responding to negative and positive reviews. What do you recommend doing when a patient posts a review with possible legal implications, for example?

Kait: For reviews that have legal implications, such as containing PHI, libel, we advise engaging the legal department immediately. They can provide instruction on how to proceed, reach out to the patient about their issue and request the comment be removed. It’s important to address the issue promptly and take the conversation with the patient offline.

Aksana: We also recommend our clients set up notifications for these type of reviews, based on keywords. So if someone threatens legal action against a physician in a review, the practices’ legal department will be notified immediately.

Q: The Binary Health Analytics Platform provides healthcare providers a complete view into managing patient feedback, not only on online reviews and ratings, but surveys as well. Why and when should a healthcare organization use surveys?

Aksana: Healthcare surveys are essential in helping organizations understand the elements of care that patients value. A well-crafted patient survey can thoroughly assess the patient’s experience and provide solid, accurate data to be used in development of change initiatives. Ultimately, a questionnaire can improve the quality of treatment while simultaneously increasing the financial profitability of the hospital.

The standard government mandated HCAHPS and CG-CAHPS surveys ask a series of questions that cover everything from access, communication quality from the doctor, environment of care, nurse care, medication teaching quality, to discharge instruction, and beyond. They are distributed by a patient experience advisory company like Press Ganey, the top survey providers in the healthcare industry. They manage the entire process from reaching out to the hospital to have the survey done to collecting the data and reporting back it to the hospital. That information is then reported to the government for the 2 percent reimbursement that is tied to the surveys.

Kait: With the Binary Health Analytics platform, our clients can run campaigns and surveys to help them understand their strengths and where they need to improve. If a patient is filling out one of the platform’s surveys and they rate their experience between a nine or ten, it will instantly direct the patient and request them to post a review online. However, if they give their experience a lower score, the intelligent platform continues with the survey questions in order for the organization to better understand how they can improve in the future. If the score goes below an acceptable rating, the practice manager, patient experience or marketing professional can immediately be notified so they can quickly follow up and perform service recovery.

Q: Finally, do you have any advice for practices that are beginning their own reputation management program?

Aksana: Certainly! Start promoting your online presence to patients and encourage them to engage with your practice on social media. We always recommend for our clients to claim their pages, such as their Yelp, and ask customers to leave reviews on them. It’s vital that healthcare organization take control of these. Definitely reach out to your loyal, happy patients! It can help build your brand and your healthcare organization.

Kait: I recommend auditing your current reputation when you start. The old saying you can’t manage what you can’t measure applies here. And there’s increasing demand on marketing to show ROI. Establishing a baseline will help you understand where you stand, how you’re improving over time, and serves as a source to prove success as you work toward managing your reputation.

Binary Fountain’s leading technology platform helps healthcare organizations to create a profitable patient experience for their organization by spearheading the online reputation management movement through patient feedback from online ratings, reviews, social media and surveys.

If you have any questions for Kait and Aksana, please send your questions to marketing@binaryfountain.com.

About the Author

Zargham Ghani
Engagement Manager

Zargham help healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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February 07, 2017

Building a Reputation Management Program at Carilion Clinic

By: George LaDue

Recently, we spoke with Christopher Turnbull, MSc, public relations manager at Carilion Clinic. Serving one million residents in western Virginia, Carilion has embraced online reputation management as a key component of its marketing strategy, launching Binary Health Analytics in 2014 to help manage the program. Here’s part of our conversation: How did your reputation management…

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Recently, we spoke with Christopher Turnbull, MSc, public relations manager at Carilion Clinic. Serving one million residents in western Virginia, Carilion has embraced online reputation management as a key component of its marketing strategy, launching Binary Health Analytics in 2014 to help manage the program. Here’s part of our conversation:

How did your reputation management program get started?

At Carilion, we’re fortunate that our senior executives understand the importance of reputation management, and have identified it as a key metric to monitor. We started by pulling data from public review websites like Zocdoc, Vitals and Yelp. But that only gave us part of the story, and we knew we needed to get direct feedback from our patients about their Carilion experience. We implemented an 11-question survey aimed at patients who actively engage with our EMR’s patient portal, Epic® MyChart™.

Almost immediately, we began receiving 250-350 patient experience surveys per week, and because they were coming in relatively soon after a patient’s encounter, we were able to quickly analyze feedback and perform service recovery if there was a patient concern or negative review. Our practice managers really value this. We also brought in our Patient Experience and Patient Advocacy teams (because they hear from patients on a daily basis) to coordinate information and responses more quickly and effectively. Right now, our overall patient experience score has increased from 3.7 to 4.5 on a 5.0 scale across the Carilion health system. That is a significant improvement. Binary Health Analytics was key to helping us manage online reviews and surveys, from uncovering insights to helping us engage patients and identify where we can improve the patient experience.

We started slowly and rolled out our reputation management program in stages. We didn’t try to do everything at once, and we’re always adding new features and functionality. For instance, we’re in the process of integrating our Press Ganey surveys, and Binary Fountain is helping us incorporate Better Business Bureau results into our dashboard. Very soon, we hope to add Binary Star Ratings to our online physician directory.

Did anything in particular drive the need for a reputation management solution?

There was no seminal event that made us say, “Oh wow, we really need to start thinking about this,” but our physicians would come to us and ask us to “fix” their negative reviews. As I mentioned, it’s top-of-mind and forward thinking on the part of our executive team to make reputation management an essential part of our marketing strategy because, let’s face it, if you’re not reviewing your reputation all the time, you’ll quickly get left behind.

Whenever we go to industry conferences, we’re always looking to see what our peers are doing. For us, that means places like Duke University and Carolinas Healthcare, and those organizations are certainly paying close attention to reputation. Carilion is also somewhat unique in that, not only are we the largest healthcare provider in our region, we’re also the largest private employer west of Richmond in the state of Virginia, so our reputation really does matter. That’s a significant responsibility, and it guides how we strive to improve the health of the communities we serve. To provide visibility into our reputation, I send a weekly report to our C-level executives that includes our patient experience score, earned media and social media activity. We plan to include a metric soon to gauge our “internal reputation” – how staff feel about us.

How important is physician and staff engagement?

For us, our reputation management strategy began as a marketing initiative and we knew we needed to get physician buy-in and alleviate their concerns about online patient reviews. In fact, we demonstrated that soliciting patient feedback really highlights the good work our physicians do on a daily basis.
As we discovered, more than 92 percent of patients have a very positive encounter with their physician. The upside about negative physician reviews we have received is they provide an opportunity to identify and correct missteps we may not have known about, address patient concerns proactively and improve the patient experience.

What advice can you give a health system or provider who is considering adopting a reputation management strategy?

1. Start having conversations with your executives, physicians and practice managers to gauge their level of support. Be ready to share a few best practices.
2. Don’t try to do everything all at once. Start incrementally and tackle one step at a time.
3. Continue to build trust, not only with your patients and community, but with your coworkers and colleagues as well.

If you’re looking for help initializing or optimizing your organization’s online reputation management program, contact Binary Fountain today to request a personalized demonstration of our comprehensive platform of solutions.

About the Author

George LaDue
Sales Director

George helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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January 31, 2017

Reputation Management Best Practices – Responding to Reviews

By: John McFeely

In the healthcare industry, the need for reputation management is steadily growing. Healthcare consumers are increasingly writing online reviews about their patient experiences as well as looking to others’ reviews to guide their own physician choices. We recently spoke with Kait Phillips and Aksana Koch from Binary Fountain’s customer success team, who’ve been guiding clients…

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In the healthcare industry, the need for reputation management is steadily growing. Healthcare consumers are increasingly writing online reviews about their patient experiences as well as looking to others’ reviews to guide their own physician choices.

We recently spoke with Kait Phillips and Aksana Koch from Binary Fountain’s customer success team, who’ve been guiding clients through implementing and managing our reputation management solution, Binary Health Analytics, about the best practices for healthcare organizations when implementing a successful reputation management strategy.

Q: Hi Kait and Aksana. Could you please give us a little overview about the patterns you’ve seen in healthcare patient reviews?

Aksana: We’ve found that people usually post positive reviews within a couple days of their visit. However, negative reviews vary much more in timing. They might be submitted by a patient while he or she is experiencing a long wait at their physician’s office or weeks later when a billing issue arises.

Kait: Another trend we’ve seen is that reviews continue to increase in number particularly when the practice regularly engages and responds to patient feedback. When prospective patients see that the practice is listening to feedback and responding, it encourages further customer engagement.

Q: Who typically responds to patient reviews on physician online ratings and reviews sites?

Aksana: For hospitals or practices we usually recommend finding a practice manager or a marketing manager to oversee all of the incoming reviews and respond to them online.

Kait: Yes, and for smaller clients it’s commonly a more centralized approach, where someone from the corporate marketing department will respond to patient reviews.

Q: What are your recommendations for responding to reviews?

Kait: We definitely recommend responding to both positive and negative reviews within two to three business days. If the review is negative, it’s best to reach out to the patient and provide them a way to contact the patient relations specialist or practice manager rather than resolving the issue publicly online. This avoids engaging in public conversations that could reveal Protected Health Information (PHI), or draw unwanted attention to the issue before you have a chance to seek resolution with your patient.

In the Binary Health Analytics platform, our clients can set up templated responses for different types of reviews. You don’t want to be seen always writing the same responses word for word to every customer, but you also want to keep them relatively generic. Again, carefully prepared, non-specific responses protect against revealing PHI, helping mitigate risk and respecting the patient. Corporate and legal teams can help to decide how the marketing department or assigned respondent should reply to negative and positive comments and what type of language should be used.

Aksana: Some practices may only respond if the rating given is under three stars, however we suggest acknowledging all reviews. You should even engage with patients who leave glowing, positive reviews and thank them for choosing your practice.

Q: Why is it so important to engage with online reviews?

Aksana: It’s very important for prospective patients to see that the practice is responding to patient reviews, both positive and negative ones. It shines a better light on that practice if potential customers can see that someone is reading the reviews and is concerned about patients’ experiences.

Kait: Yes, it’s important to be accessible and encourage an environment of openness and transparency with clients.

Also, when a patient leaves a negative review, the marketing manager or patient experience manager can address the concern and reach out to the patient in order to turn a negative experience into a positive one. In cases like this, we frequently see patients come back to the negative review they previously left, and update it with a positive response indicating that their issue had been resolved and praising the practice for their customer service. Prospective patients will see these exchanges and appreciate that your practice is patient-centered and concerned about their well-being, as well as their satisfaction.

If you have any questions for Kait and Aksana, please send them to marketing@binaryfountain.com.

About the Author

John McFeely
Sales Director

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January 27, 2017

Webinar Recap: The Impact of First Impressions on Patient Acquisition and Revenue

By: Andrew Rainey

Recently, Carrie Liken, Head of Industry Healthcare at Yext, and I co-presented on the impact of first impressions on patient acquisition and revenue. In case you missed it, here are some tips for understanding the importance of online data, and ratings and reviews on the patient journey. Create an Online Strategy to Improve Patient Acquisition…

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Recently, Carrie Liken, Head of Industry Healthcare at Yext, and I co-presented on the impact of first impressions on patient acquisition and revenue. In case you missed it, here are some tips for understanding the importance of online data, and ratings and reviews on the patient journey.

Create an Online Strategy to Improve Patient Acquisition

As John Weston, former chief marketing officer of the Mayo Clinic, commented “The consumer-to-patient journey is largely a digital journey at their moment of need.”  So paying attention to first online impressions is crucial. When patients “meet you” for the first time online, they’re assessing your practice and your doctors. That information can influence their decision to pick up the phone and make an appointment with you, or keep searching. Keep in mind, they’re just as likely to find out about you from a third-party website as they are from your own profile pages, so you need to stay on top of patient reviews and the accuracy of information affecting your brand wherever it exists.

How’s this affecting physician choice? We’re starting to hear from clients who tell us that patients are not always ready to take their doctor’s first referral to a specialist. With rising health insurance premiums, patients are shopping for plans that provide the most value and are becoming better-educated consumers. They’re doing much of their own research online when selecting a new provider, and they have more choices today than ever before. What are they looking for when selecting a provider? They want to know if the provider is nearby, takes their insurance, specializes in their medical need and is recommended by other patients.

Engage Patients Through Transparency

Inaction is no longer an acceptable alternative to a solid reputation management strategy. You need to own and control your practice or health system brand on and off your online properties (this includes search engines, maps, social media and review sites). You also want to create a baseline for your online reputation—e.g., where do you stand today so you can gauge and measure where you stand six months or a year from now?

To boost your online presence, don’t forget to turn your CAHPS surveys into online ratings and reviews. You’re already collecting this information, so transform it into star ratings after you’ve approved the comments—the negatives as well as the positives—and you’ll see an immediate impact on your online presence and reputation. This allows you to take control and gives your listings a better chance to rank number one in a patient’s search results.

One of our clients reported a 25 percent increase in page views for their primary care providers with star ratings, and a 29 percent increase in page views for specialty care providers with star ratings. Plus, insights from online reviews help improve the patient experience – 85 percent of this provider’s patients found comments shared by other patients to be helpful.

The Power of Accurate Data

When patients uncover inaccurate information about a provider – the office has moved or a particular physician no longer practices there – they often blame the provider instead of the website where they found the information, even if it’s not your site. Yes, it’s a challenge to manage everything that’s being said about you on every third-party website, but there are potentially huge consequences if you don’t.

When Yext visited a health system recently, they reviewed the system’s location data to see if patients could find their cardiology practice. The information they found on Google and Yahoo, for example, showed that cardiology practice two-and-a-half miles away from the actual location.

Let’s say that cardiology practice charges $100 per patient visit (and probably a lot more), and suppose they have two patient no-shows per day because of that inaccurate location information. The lost revenue to that health system is a minimum of $50,000 per year.

Through a robust strategy that aims for transparency, rich listings and accurate data, your practices will make a much stronger first impression. In the age of healthcare consumerism, these initiatives will help your practices drive more acquisitions, improve patient experience and nurture a better bottom line.

To receive a full recording of this webinar, or for a personal demonstration of our online reputation management solutions, contact a Binary Fountain expert today.

About the Author

Andrew Rainey
EVP of Strategy & Corporate Development

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January 25, 2017

Healthcare Trends and Outlook on Reputation Management for 2017

By: Andrew Rainey

Talk to nearly any healthcare marketer today and the topic of “healthcare consumerism” almost always comes up. Patients know they have choices when it comes to selecting the right primary care physician, specialist or inpatient/outpatient facility. Armed with powerful search engines, ratings and reviews, and dozens of targeted articles and blogs, they’re more likely to…

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Talk to nearly any healthcare marketer today and the topic of “healthcare consumerism” almost always comes up. Patients know they have choices when it comes to selecting the right primary care physician, specialist or inpatient/outpatient facility. Armed with powerful search engines, ratings and reviews, and dozens of targeted articles and blogs, they’re more likely to shop around for a provider who meets their specific needs.

To meet that demand for selecting a doctor, most providers we meet with have added, or are in the process of adding “Find a Doc” search functionality to their provider pages that feature: a physician’s credentials, where he or she did their residency, special areas of study, published papers and more. We’ve found the most effective approach to giving consumers the insights they are looking for, however, is by tailoring that search experience to meet patient concerns, not simply highlighting the doctor’s bona fides.

A doctor’s credentials are essential, of course, but a wide range of questions are left unaddressed in that silo of information. For instance, what’s the perceived quality of care from one person to the next? Convenient parking might be a must-have for one person, but it’s irrelevant to a patient taking public transportation. A doctor’s bedside manner is relevant to everyone, but how does that compare to whether the treatment was effective or not? The range of customer-relevant data points are expanding rather than contracting, increasing the challenge of engaging patients in the consumer space. There is hope in addressing these challenges, however.

With Star Ratings, for example, a patient can quickly and easily sort through ratings and peer reviews on a practice’s own website to help them make a more informed decision about selecting a doctor. Having a consumer-focused web presence with features like online scheduling, star ratings, and comments, for instance, is becoming increasingly important. Ahead we’ll give you a look at critical areas where you need to improve efforts to manage one of the most precious commodities healthcare providers have: their reputation.

Important Marketing Trends for 2017

1. Adopt a full transparency review. This goes along with controlling the content on your website and guiding the digital patient journey. Publishing both positive and negative comments and ratings — most of which are positive – helps you build trust with your patients and can sway decisions in your favor. But remember, in addition to your own site, you also have to manage a positive online reputation across all third-party sites like Yelp , Vitals and others.

2. Pay attention to consumerism in healthcare. Health systems are becoming more comfortable engaging with their patients on social media platforms, many who are posting comments and feedback on their patient experience. In fact, patients – as informed healthcare decision makers – are starting to expect the same kind of interaction they receive from hotels or their favorite retail account. For instance, if a patient tweets a negative comment from your waiting room, you may have the opportunity to resolve the issue immediately. Again, this helps create online and on-site service recovery and ultimately helps build loyalty with your brand.

3. Focus on marketing your physicians. Patients want a doctor they can trust. I’d argue that physicians are starting to represent their practice’s brand more than the practice itself. The stats tell the story: 76% of patients searching online for a provider focus on physicians, compared to only 30% for facilities.

4. Engage in standardized ratings. Publishing ratings is important, but there are as many rating systems out there as there are third-party rating sites. Establishing standardized rating methods will become increasingly important, alongside the growth of tools like Star Ratings.

5. Keep an eye on bonuses tied to online feedback. We’re starting to see healthcare providers use online feedback and scoring as a component of physician bonuses. This is validating the importance of online feedback. Healthcare organizations know it can impact patient acquisition and loyalty so it’s being taken seriously.

6. The amount of online feedback will only continue to grow. At Binary Fountain, we’ve seen a 50 percent increase in online reviews just in the last year for our clients. When selecting a provider, patients often value a peer review more than, say, a physician who is mentioned in a recent article. Consumers have already become more accustomed to searching for feedback and ratings on provider and third-party sites, and they will start leaving more of their own comments moving forward.

Interested in finding out how to optimize – or initialize – your online reputation management program for 2017? Contact Binary Fountain today to request a personalized demonstration of our comprehensive reputation management platform.

About the Author

Andrew Rainey
EVP of Strategy & Corporate Development

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January 23, 2017

The Power of Digital Patient Feedback Q&A

By: Sabrina Egan

We recently spoke with Signature Medical Group’s Director of Quality, Don Foster, and Melissa Gall, their Digital Marketing Strategist, to get insights into Signature’s recent effort to better understand patient experience across the organization’s more than 25 practices and 50 offices. To do this, they launched a two-pronged initiative using digital patient feedback and Binary…

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We recently spoke with Signature Medical Group’s Director of Quality, Don Foster, and Melissa Gall, their Digital Marketing Strategist, to get insights into Signature’s recent effort to better understand patient experience across the organization’s more than 25 practices and 50 offices. To do this, they launched a two-pronged initiative using digital patient feedback and Binary Fountain’s technology platform to help manage and improve operations across each facility as well as to better inform patients researching their physicians online.

Here, Don and Melissa share lessons learned as well as their process for capturing post-care online feedback, implementing timely service recovery and using data analytics as a springboard for activating improvement initiatives across their practices and increasing physician engagement.

Q: Can you give us a little background on what drove the need for this initiative around patient feedback? 

Melissa: We work with 150 doctors, so there is a lot being said about them online, on a regular basis. And unfortunately, we weren’t always able to keep up with all of the reviews coming in and respond to them as quickly as we would have liked to. We really wanted to get on top of reputation management in our organization.

Don: We determined that we wanted to get more information from our physician’s patients because we didn’t really know how they were performing from the patient experience standpoint.

Q: What steps did you take to address those needs and get this initiative going?

Melissa: It started off as a marketing initiative, and when we went to seek approval it turned out that there was a lot of opportunity to utilize surveys to our advantage, and for cross-functional teams to really make a difference. That meant working with a variety of practices and departments, from marketing to operations.

Don: To address these needs we started looking at the possibility of doing surveys and tying them to third-party review sites. We found opportunities to start surveying patients, which we had never done before, and began to discover patient experience issues that had remained hidden. We used the baseline data we received to start putting teams together and work with operations staff.

We also looked for best practices, and shared feedback about individual practices that were high scoring for all of our physicians. They have been very helpful in generating productive communication and operational improvements.

Q: What challenges did you face along the way? How did you address them?

Melissa: I often work with a lot of doctors who are just beginning their practice and building a patient base. Most of the younger doctors understand the tremendous value of analyzing digital patient feedback, while more veteran doctors don’t always appreciate the value in the same way because they have a more established patient base.

Don: It was definitely a challenge rolling out this initiative with so many practices. The biggest obstacle I had in getting started was the data itself. How do we gather all of this patient data in a meaningful way? We initially had to rely on office managers to do this, but today I can pull that information myself.

Office managers need to take ownership in making changes when opportunities are identified. Physicians are getting more involved in the process, which is what I have been trying to make happen. Although some accept these new methods more readily than others, I work with them to see the value in it—it’s an ongoing process.

Q: What has your patient feedback initiative allowed you to do?

Melissa: Patient reviews are impactful, and with them we’ve been able to pinpoint where to focus our energy. On the marketing side, we ran email campaigns with quotes from patient surveys. We also created videos by recording certain patient success stories. From those efforts we saw a considerable jump in referrals to our site from physician ratings sites. We would have never had those stories without the surveys. The initiative also helped us learn more about our physicians and which ones need help with collateral; their patients may not feel like they know enough before or after seeing a doctor.

Don: The patient feedback effort has allowed me to look at data trends so I could make improvements and manage issues in real time. For example, if a patient writes a negative comment, I can follow-up with the office manager of that practice and together we reach out to the patient and address the issue or concerns. This helps us provide the patient with a better experience—turning a negative into a positive.

Q: How is this initiative impacting the organization?

Don: It helped us to build the Signature Medical Group brand and increase the popularity of Signature practices. Because many practices were very individualized and not necessarily presenting the Signature Medical Group tagline or logo, that’s one of the things we’ve added to the surveys; this, in turn, strengthened our brand presence.

Signature Medical GroupWe also added Signature’s logo to emails and physician websites to drive people to our website. Patients can now easily go from one practice to another within the Signature group for different concerns because they know they can expect a great experience from practices within our organization.

Melissa: All in all, this meant we had a stronger reputation that could elevate our business and create more appointments. I also think it has broken down many barriers between practices and departments. We’ve seen a huge jump in referrals and in the future, we would like to include questions in the surveys asking how patients first heard about Signature Medical Group, and help us further derive ROI. 

Q: What have the outcomes been to date?

Don: We’ve seen a tremendous increase in patient experience scores since we began this initiative. As I’ve talked with other practices, numbers and reviews have increased dramatically.  Before we started this process our overall organization score in Binary Fountain was 3.4.  Our current score has increased to 4.1.  This increase is a result of the work of our entire team.

For instance, at one of the orthopedic practices, our scores have seen significant growth. Our first quarter average scores were in the mid-70s and went up to about 80 percent in the second quarter. Today, scores are in the mid-90s. We also identified that we did not have a high capture rate for our patients’ email addresses.  A focus on this at one practice helped increase our email capture rates from about 50 percent to 90 percent.

The insights from the surveys has allowed us to pinpoint where we can make improvements.  In one case, we identified there were issues with making appointments at one of our practices. We were able to dig deeper and discovered that the issue was the routing of calls in our phone room. We resolved that issue and now our patient experience scores have improved to over 90 percent.

We’ve seen that this gives doctors incentive to perform better as well. I use Binary Fountain’s ranking reports to rank the physicians within the practices and share it with the group. And nobody wants to be at the bottom of the reviews page with the lowest score, so there’s added motivation to make changes for the better. Doctors as well as office staff have already begun setting new performance expectations.

Melissa: We’ve had a big increase in traffic to online ratings sites. Practices are building patients and creating new revenue. Together, patients and physicians clearly see Signature Medical Group as a valuable brand.

Q: What has Binary Fountain’s technology platform helped you do?

Melissa: Binary Fountain’s products and services have helped our organization become more transparent in our advertising, both between practices and with each other. We’re able to talk to our patients and let them know what to expect when they see a Signature doctor. It’s really been phenomenal.

Don: I certainly agree with Melissa. Being able to pull the data in real time when surveys or comments come in has been very effective. It allows us to engage in conversations as soon as feedback arrives. It has also let us keep everything in one place and gives a quick snapshot of how we’re performing on a day to day basis. Because of this, the Binary Fountain platform has been incredibly impactful to our organization.

About the Author

Sabrina Egan
Engagement Manager

Sabrina helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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