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January 10, 2017

Interview with Carrie Liken, Head of Industry Healthcare at Yext

By: George LaDue

In October 2016, Binary Fountain and Yext announced a partnership to help hospitals, health systems and physicians practices enhance patient acquisition and loyalty. Today, we’re happy to talk with Carrie Liken, Head of Healthcare at Yext, to learn more and get her insight into how accurate physician data is critical to the patient’s journey. Hi,…

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In October 2016, Binary Fountain and Yext announced a partnership to help hospitals, health systems and physicians practices enhance patient acquisition and loyalty. Today, we’re happy to talk with Carrie Liken, Head of Healthcare at Yext, to learn more and get her insight into how accurate physician data is critical to the patient’s journey.

Hi, Carrie. Can you give us a brief overview of Yext, how you work in the healthcare industry and how our new strategic partnership can help improve the patient experience?

Carrie: Yext is a software as a service technology platform, and our software allows providers and health systems to manage location data about their physicians and facilities. Yext has developed relationships with over 100 of the leading maps, apps, and search engines where we publish our clients’ location data to ensure that whenever someone is searching for a particular restaurant, hotel, boutique retail store, ATM, voting location, etc. that information they find is accurate and up-to-date on all of those websites.

About a year ago, we started noticing an interesting trend. We were receiving an increasing amount of interest from healthcare organizations. We soon realized that healthcare had a major problem with managing location data, both physical locations as well as physician-specific information.

Let’s say you do a search for Dr. Smith. There’s a high probability you’re going to find a wrong phone number, wrong address or realize that Dr. Smith actually moved five years ago from one health system to another and he’s still showing up as a member of his old health system.

We started talking to healthcare publishers like Vitals and Wellness.com, and tried to understand if there are specific things people are searching for when trying to find a hospital or physician that’s unique to the industry.  It turns out that the public does search differently when looking for healthcare services, particularly when they’re trying to decide what doctor to see or where they want to go for their treatment when visiting these publisher sites. Yext knew then that we needed to establish an entirely new vertical platform that focused on the needs of healthcare consumers.

Healthcare consumers are increasingly recognizing that they have choices when it comes to selecting a provider and ensuring a positive experience. How did Yext target your location management software to this field?

Carrie: Our Healthcare Location Cloud has different fields and different attributes, specific to healthcare, but it’s still software. Health systems, physician practices and even independent doctors use our platform to house their location information, then we publish that data to healthcare publishers across the internet to make sure it’s correct when patients are searching for it. I used to be on the healthcare team at Google and I can tell you that the way patients search for care has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Mobile technology itself has changed the patient’s journey, and physician and healthcare searches have become much more local.

During my extensive tenure at Google, I followed the patient journey. It almost always starts with a symptom. Someone researches a particular symptom and decides that they actually need to seek treatment. They read about a doctor or a couple of different doctors, but they’re unsure about which one is right for them. Does this doctor accept my insurance? Does this doctor have the experience I need? We also started seeing patient using reviews and ratings which, of course, is where Binary Fountain comes in. When we combine accurate physician data and location information with timely, positive patient reviews, we have the opportunity to inform every point of care along the patient’s journey – from discovery and selection to point of care and feedback.

In terms of the patient experience, what are some of the challenges that Yext helps to solve?

Carrie: We’ve found that approximately 50% of physician and provider location data is incorrect or missing online. During the discovery phase, patients are finding blogs and reading news articles, and identifying what they may need for treatment. Once they have decided to seek help, they’re really looking for four things in a physician:

  1. Does he or she accept my insurance?
  2. Are he or she located near me?
  3. Does  he or she have the relevant expertise to treat my condition?
  4. How does he or she rate based on experiences from other patients?

Circling back to the Dr. Smith example, one of the biggest problems we see is when physicians are either not listed with the right facility, or not listed at all. A doctor may practice out of one hospital, but a search might show him at a hospital five miles away. The phone number or street address could be wrong, too. Physicians move across the hall, across town or across the country all the time. Because of this, health systems face a constant challenge to monitor and manage their physician information, and Yext helps alleviate that pressure.

We’ve been talking about the challenge of monitoring and managing online physician data. In terms of patient acquisition, is this a potential lost opportunity for hospitals and health systems?

Carrie: Yes, there’s a huge lost opportunity here. Today, healthcare consumers perform much of their own research prior to committing to a particular provider. Not too long ago, you would have a family doctor who you would go to about your condition. He or she would say, “Here’s the specialist you need to see,” and you would do what you were told. Now, with access to the internet, mobile technology and all of the health information and reviews that exist online, patients are empowered to make many of their own decisions when it comes to their health.

Hospitals and health systems could miss attracting and acquiring new patients if the information about their physicians is presented incorrectly on websites they don’t own or manage. We want to make sure that anytime a patient or family member is searching for a specific physician or physical location that the information they find is as accurate as possible. They can say, “Oh wow, that’s near me,” and be able to make a new appointment because the phone number is correct.

Health systems realize that their physicians are representations of their brand. They can fix incorrect information on their own website, but the wrong information can also pop up on other sites. I’ve actually heard this in meetings referred to as a game of “Whack-a-mole.” Yext helps solve this by being the source of record for the data internally, making sure it’s correct, then publishing all of that accurate data out into the internet ecosystem.

Why should this matter to a healthcare marketing executive at a hospital, health system or practice?

Carrie: Health system executives are thinking about marketing not just in a digital context but in terms of, “How do I touch the patient and influence their perspective of their experience at every single encounter?” They’re spending a lot of money to build awareness around what their health system does, what it stands for, what service lines it provides, as well as awards, recognition and any element that can boost their awareness in the community. That kind of activity feeds patient acquisition.

In addition to traditional and digital marketing, including social media, health systems need to start rethinking their local marketing strategy if they want to capitalize on the investment they’re making in acquiring patients. You can certainly spend a lot of money at the upper part of the marketing funnel to drive awareness. But if you have, say, the top cardiology department in the city or state where you’re located, how do you ensure that if somebody has a heart condition they opt for you and not some other health system, particularly if you’re in a competitive market?

If you haven’t maximized that local piece, you’ve wasted the money you spent at the top of your funnel to help people find the right doctor, the right service line and even the right system. You could lose that patient to another health system that has a much more robust local presence.

Do you find that physicians, practices and hospitals are aware of the importance of their brand from a marketing perspective?

Carrie: Yes. When we talk to marketing teams, that’s one of their biggest objectives. They recognize that their brand is not just the name of the health system. It’s every interaction that somebody has with the system – from finding the right phone number on Google to making an appointment to having a positive administrative experience at check-in. The appointment could go smoothly and the physician might exceed their expectations, but the patient is likely to write about all of the other touch points in their post-care online review.

I’ve visited with 75 different health systems in the past six months, and location data management is a big challenge across the board. Many providers don’t understand how to get control of their online reviews, physician information and physical location data. They may have recruited a top-performing physician from a competing health system, but internet searches still have him affiliated with the previous system. Together, Yext and Binary Fountain help solve a lot of those important brand issues.

From the patient’s perspective, they have the right information at their fingertips to help them feel confident when they select the proper doctor to take care of themselves or a family member. From the hospital’s or health system’s perspective – the marketing, patient experience and IT professionals – knowing that their online data is accurate allows them to focus on their jobs, build more programs and attract more healthcare consumers.

Thank you, Carrie!

Carrie Liken Carrie Liken joined Yext from Google, where she spent 8.5 years on the healthcare team. She holds a degree in public policy and political science from Duke University and a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she focused on health policy.

 

 

If you have questions about Reputation Management and what it can do for your organization, contact us to learn more.

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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December 29, 2016

The Journey to Transparency: Overcoming the Challenges of Transparency Q&A

By: Zargham Ghani

In our last Journey to Transparency blog post, we spoke with two of our Binary Fountain experts, Senior Onboarding Specialist Carrie Gardner and Senior Account Manager Kait Phillips, about what they’re seeing in the marketplace firsthand and why some healthcare organizations have been slow to adopt transparency. In Part II, Carrie and Kait take us a little…

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In our last Journey to Transparency blog post, we spoke with two of our Binary Fountain experts, Senior Onboarding Specialist Carrie Gardner and Senior Account Manager Kait Phillips, about what they’re seeing in the marketplace firsthand and why some healthcare organizations have been slow to adopt transparency.

In Part II, Carrie and Kait take us a little deeper into the process and tell us just how to overcome the challenges of transparency. They also give us the best practices for implementing and managing a transparency solution such as Binary Fountain’s Binary Star Ratings.

Q: What are the best practices for publishing patient comments on the organization’s website?

Carrie Gardner: We definitely recommend for clients to openly display comments. Now and then we’ll speak to a client who thinks that they only want to show ratings on their provider pages, but it is certainly more valuable to the consumer to see the comments and ratings.

We suggest providing some information about where the ratings and comments are coming from and noting that the organization is committed to full transparency. We also have some defaults and recommendations around comments per page for page load performance. We typically suggest 20 comments per page, so that the page doesn’t fail to load due to time-out issues. However, the overall style and set up of the webpages is really up to the client and their personal preference.

Q. Say a practice has a large amount of survey data. What are the best practices for reviewing and managing that data? 

CG: Well, the initial review period can take some time. Generally speaking, if it’s a large organization with a lot of data, and they’re utilizing the centralized model with two or three people at most reviewing the comments, they can still get through their historical data within a month. Going forward, we receive data from most survey providers at least monthly, if not more frequently. After the initial review of historical data, it’s best to go in and review new comments on a monthly basis.

It can sound daunting at first, but once we’ve discussed the review method and the organization has set up a review process, people generally feel a lot more comfortable with it. It’s really not as time consuming as one might think!

Q. What advice would you give someone who is looking to adopt transparency? How should they prepare? 

Kait Phillips: Be prepared to sift through a substantial amount of historical survey data in preparation for going live. I recommend doing a soft launch to give doctors a chance to see what will be published online and also to reassure them that most of the feedback is usually positive. A soft launch enables all the active providers access to the tool itself, allowing them to go in at a read-only level in order to see what kind of comments and ratings are being imported.

In addition, we suggest following best practice guidelines for comment approval criteria – which messages will be approved and which won’t. A transparent policy will prevent confusion and will usually assuage any apprehension on behalf of the physicians.

Q. What are some of the pitfalls you often see clients running into? 

KP: The biggest pitfall I’ve seen clients run into is trying to get around transparency. We always take the time to educate new clients on our best practices and recommendations up front, but some do decide to implement their own guidelines concerning comments. However, the star ratings will always go through and can’t be edited. It is very rare for any client to completely reject all comments that are negative as long as they are not offensive or inappropriate.

Q. What is the best approach you have seen by a client when implementing transparency?

CG: Usually the smoothest implementations are with clients that have already been engaging with their providers about the initiative. For example, one new client I’ve been speaking with started sending providers a report of their ratings and comments using the Press Ganey reporting tool. They’re involving their providers ahead of going live on their external site, which is always a more successful approach. As a result, their implementation process has been smoother.

Another thing I’ve seen is clients that understand that there are different roles people in their organization need to play in implementing transparency and that they need a certain amount of time to commit to it. When there is one person who really drives the initiative and makes it known to the people who are going to be taking on a lot of the implementation tasks, everything tends to run a lot smoother. And when those people feel invested in the initiative and have the time to accommodate it, it’s definitely going to be a more successful approach, as opposed to someone just trying to wing it or do it with limited time.

Q. Who in each organization needs to be involved to make sure this initiative is successful?

KP: The web developer implements the stars and places them in the correct place on the site while the heads of the digital marketing team are usually the main points of contact on the client side.

CG: Patient experience groups are also involved. There might also be a main provider champion who is often a part of the review committee as well. However, most often it is a Director of Clinical Data, Director of Patient Experience or a Digital Marketing Director that is heavily involved on the client side. On the call, we also need whoever will be responsible for implementing the ratings and comments on their provider pages, or their web services contact.

Q. What are the best practices for displaying star ratings? How do your clients calculate star ratings?

CG: Star ratings are calculated by taking the mean average of a set number of questions. In terms of the questions that are used for that average, the best practice is to use those that are specific to the care provider. Depending on the survey, those questions will be different, but in general there’s a care provider section or there are specific CG-CAHPS queries related to each care provider. So, we recommend always using a mean average of the questions in the survey that are specific to the physician such as their communication style, bedside manner, etc.

In terms of visual display, the most common approach is to show the average individual rating of the care provider with patient ratings listed below. The second most common method offers a little more. It also displays the overall rating and comments with individual ratings, but it displays an average of the individual questions that make up that overall rating, too.

Q. What is the baseline number of reviews a physician should have before ratings are displayed next to their profile and why?

CG: We always recommend a minimum of 30 ratings over 365 days for our clients. The default is 30 ratings, but this is configurable in the system. We recommend a minimum of 30 ratings because that number has been shown to be statistically relevant. It’s generally a magic number where you won’t see as much movement in the star ratings overtime. For example, if you were only displaying about 20 ratings and comments and you received one awful survey, it could greatly impact the overall rating on your page. However, if you’re using the minimum of 30 ratings, one additional negative survey is not as likely to have a great sway in your overall valuation.

Transparency is vital for both healthcare providers and consumers. It helps build trust with prospective patients, improve acquisition and strengthen brand image. It is an essential step to create a better consumer and patient experience.

Binary Star Ratings, helps healthcare organizations leverage existing surveys and turn responses into reviews and ratings for publishing onto online physician directory pages, helping clients demonstrate their commitment to transparency.

Got questions for Carrie and Kait? 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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December 27, 2016

Reputation Management: From the Marketing Department to the C-Suite, Part II

By: Brian Williams

In our recent blog about the webinar, “Reputation Management: From the Marketing Department to the C-Suite, Part I,” we learned about organizational approaches and best practices in managing a reputation management program from three VPs of Marketing: Mike Dame, VP of Marketing and Communications at Carilion Clinic; Kate Slonaker, VP of Marketing at Privia Health; and Richard Palumbo,…

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In our recent blog about the webinar, “Reputation Management: From the Marketing Department to the C-Suite, Part I,” we learned about organizational approaches and best practices in managing a reputation management program from three VPs of Marketing: Mike Dame, VP of Marketing and Communications at Carilion Clinic; Kate Slonaker, VP of Marketing at Privia Health; and Richard Palumbo, VP of Marketing at AMSURG.

This week, we’ll share their lessons learned in what it takes to get physicians and executive leaders fully engaged in reputation management. As it turns out, data is the key. Here’s what you can learn:

Physician Engagement: Data is the Power that Fuels Change

From a marketing perspective, physicians can resist change. Focused on patient care, contracts, billing, emerging technologies and EMR challenges, physician practices have their hands full. In this webinar, 35% of the audience participating reported not having any kind of reputation management program in place.

Doctors are motivated by results and data. Gaining visibility into patient experience data – a factor that affects their practices – can grab their attention. Monthly reports are recommended to help providers and practice managers make better-informed decisions on what actions are needed to improve operations. Physicians are also highly competitive. More physicians are starting to request benchmark reports so they can see where they rank among their colleagues.

During the webinar, Richard described needing a way to gain insights into every step of the healthcare continuum for its 255 ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs): from identification of care needed, initial doctor visit and validation of additional steps, to day-of-care, post-care follow-up and patient satisfaction surveying.

“We knew that if we could gain insight into the collective score of both the physician and the facility where they practice,” Richard explained, “then we could cultivate a plan for continuous improvement based on actual patient experience and outcomes.” AMSURG partners with and employs over 6,500 physicians and other healthcare professionals.

As a patient- and care-centric organization, AMSURG focuses on care issues, people issues and physical concerns. For instance, if a new patient isn’t treated warmly and professionally at check-in, there’s no convenient parking or the waiting room is cluttered and uninviting, that patient’s perception of care will most likely suffer.

AMSURG is using Binary Health Analytics to provide its executives with a detailed view into all areas of the patient experience, including bedside manner, communication, wait time, access and more. Potential issues or areas for improvement are immediately flagged and forwarded to each practice manager for service recovery.

Don’t Forget Executive Support and Organizational Adoption

Carilion Clinic has established reputation management as a core component of their strategic marketing plan. Transitioning from a hospital system to a physician-led, clinic model with integrated healthcare delivery to better serve a patient population of nearly one million, Carilion realized early on that achieving executive buy-in is critical to any successful strategic plan.

Carilion’s C-level executives, including the CEO and CMO, place a high value on communication and have instilled a commitment to open, transparent dialogue throughout the Carilion culture. As active communicators, they are focused on listening to patients and engaging in two-way conversations, protecting and championing their brand and telling their story through digital media. As Mike said, “If we don’t tell our story, someone else will.”

Have questions about reputation management and what it can do for your organization? Contact us to learn more.

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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December 22, 2016

Journey to Transparency: Healthcare Marketplace Observations Q&A

By: Zargham Ghani

Patients are online more than ever, using patient feedback from rating and review sites to choose their provider. Recognizing this trend, many healthcare organizations are starting to publish ratings and comments on their individual providers’ web pages. What’s setting these organizations apart is how they’re taking authentic and verified feedback from targeted and sometimes mandated…

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Patients are online more than ever, using patient feedback from rating and review sites to choose their provider. Recognizing this trend, many healthcare organizations are starting to publish ratings and comments on their individual providers’ web pages. What’s setting these organizations apart is how they’re taking authentic and verified feedback from targeted and sometimes mandated patient surveys and sharing those insights in a transparent manner.

We recently spoke to Carrie Gardner and Kait Phillips from the Binary Fountain Customer Success teams, who’ve guided clients through implementing and managing our transparency solution, Binary Star Ratings, about what they’re seeing in the marketplace firsthand and the concerns healthcare organizations have about adopting transparency.

Q. Why do you think hospitals are adopting transparency? 

Kait Phillips: Many of us have been there as a patient; we come down with a symptom and start our research online for a provider who can help. Our health is so personal and choosing a provider is one of the most important health decisions we can make. We are looking for information we can trust when selecting a provider. Hospitals are striving to be that trusted voice in the provider selection process. It’s a great opportunity for them on so many levels. They already have a great source for ratings and reviews – their patient experience surveys. It’s a wealth of feedback about their providers. Typically, its way more feedback than you’d see on sites like Yelp, Vitals and other similar sources. What’s great about the feedback is the survey data comes from verified patients and many provide detailed comments on their patient experience. That’s one of the concerns physicians had about third party rating sites: “Was that review really from a patient of mine?” What makes this transparent for the healthcare consumer, is hospitals are publishing all patient survey ratings and comments, with a couple reasonable caveats such as not publishing PHI or libelous comments. This circles back to what patients want: health information and a provider they can trust.

And from a competition standpoint and a branding standpoint, implementing a transparency solution can give them an advantage against other hospitals and practices in their market. Think of it this way: patients are going to shop like they do for other consumer services. Why not offer something that can influence their decision making – information they can trust.

Carrie Gardner: I agree with Kait. And to add on to what she said, I think that outside of generally trying to promote transparency with reviews and ratings, hospitals are also trying to improve operational performance.

I often hear from clients that they’re interested in getting their providers to be a little bit more involved with the comments that they’re seeing on surveys and the subsequent ratings from them. Now that ratings and comments are available on provider’s pages, it gives them an incentive to improve things like communication styles or bedside manner. So I think, organizationally, it’s about using transparency to increase traffic to particular providers, increase brand awareness as well as to increase accountability concerning patient experience measures.

Q. What are the challenges to adopting transparency? 

KP: Provider buy-in is certainly one of the top concerns for healthcare organizations. Some physicians are resistant to transparency at first, typically because they are worried about receiving negative scores and the impact that can have. They are generally unaware of the overall positive feedback they get from patient surveys so they are understandably anxious about what is going to be said about them. Physicians can also be very competitive—they all want a 5.0 star rating (though it’s actually better to have a 4.5 rating!). These were the A+ students in school who are very driven individuals. They are very confident in their abilities as physicians!

CG: I definitely agree that negative comments are the biggest concern. I would also add that there are often questions and concerns around establishing physician input so they can see, and if needed appeal, patient comments. Sometimes prospective clients just need a little more assurance that they’ll be able to review comments before they’re published. The appeals committee typically reviews comments and works with physicians to determine whether comments are suitable for publishing. Comments that contain profanity or libel, for instance, are either redacted or not published at all.

Time and resources are another worry. Organizations are concerned about internal resources and processes such as defining who is going to have the bandwidth to monitor the reviews and comments. Overall, planning and the set-up of the appeals committee are big concerns. The good news is it’s very manageable. We’re there to provide direction and guidance. We have many clients who’ve done it the right way and made it work well.

Q. When a physician isn’t sold on transparency, what’s the best way to get them onboard?

KP: In order to get physicians on board, it’s important to have an executive level sponsor to help push the initiative along and develop an internal appeals committee for the program as well as to clearly explain the appeals process. This committee is important for helping physicians feel as though they have a voice in the process.

For example, if there is a comment that is approved that the doctor doesn’t agree with or believes to be untrue, the appeals committee will review the doctor’s notes on the comment and then decide if they will either accept or reject the appeal.

The other approach is sharing survey feedback with physicians ahead of them and even showing them sample scores. Physicians often end up discovering that they have much better scores and comments from the surveys compared to third party rating and review sites. It’s a motivating factor for them to have this information posted on their provider webpages.

CG: Another way to encourage physicians to adopt a transparency solution is to show them what the solution actually looks like before it’s live. One way to do this is by having the marketing or patient experience group run reports from the system and send them to the providers. They would likely examine a trailing 12-month period to show them what their ratings look like on provider pages and which comments have been approved.

Another option could be to host ratings and comments on an internal facing site before going live. And the last option could be to allow all the active providers access to the tool itself, allowing them to go in at a read-only level in order to see what the comments and ratings look like, which we call a “soft launch”.

The bottom line is that transparency is good for healthcare providers and consumers. It helps build trust with prospective patients, improve acquisition and strengthen brand image. It is an essential step to create a better consumer and patient experience.

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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December 20, 2016

Reputation Management: From the Marketing Department to the C-Suite, Part I

By: Brian Williams

In case you missed it, the Forum for Healthcare Strategists hosted a webinar, “Reputation Management: From the Marketing Department to the C-Suite.” Moderated by Karen Corrigan, CEO of Corrigan Partners, the webinar featured best practices and expert insights from three leading healthcare marketers on creating a successful Reputation Management strategy for healthcare systems, hospitals, physician groups…

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In case you missed it, the Forum for Healthcare Strategists hosted a webinar, “Reputation Management: From the Marketing Department to the C-Suite.” Moderated by Karen Corrigan, CEO of Corrigan Partners, the webinar featured best practices and expert insights from three leading healthcare marketers on creating a successful Reputation Management strategy for healthcare systems, hospitals, physician groups and practices.

We heard from Mike Dame, VP of Marketing and Communications at Carilion Clinic; Kate Slonaker, VP of Marketing at Privia Health; and Richard Palumbo, VP of Marketing at AMSURG. Mike, Kate and Richard each shared their organization’s marketing approach for building and managing positive online ratings and reviews, addressing service recovery, ensuring an exceptional patient experience and winning patient loyalty.

Where Are You in Your Reputation Management Journey?

The webinar kicked off with the audience being asked if Reputation Management is part of their marketing strategy. Only 35% said, “Yes, we’re using a Reputation Management solution” and another 30% responded, “Yes, but it’s a very manual process.” That left 35% without a Reputation Management game plan. If you’re unsure of your organization’s strategy, here are a few things you need to know:

Patient Engagement: Listening to Your Patients Really Matters

As informed healthcare consumers, patients know they have choices when it comes to selecting the right primary care physician, specialist or inpatient or outpatient facility. More and more, there’s no such thing as the “family doctor.” That’s where online ratings and reviews come into play. As Kate from Privia commented, “We all know how to find the best hamburger, but we don’t always know how to find the best doctor.”

Mike from Carilion Clinic warned audience participants, “If you don’t have strong online ratings and reviews, and you’re not listening to what your patients are saying about you, then you’re really missing a key part of the marketing mix. Reputation matters more in healthcare than in any other industry.”

He added that 88% of healthcare consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, and 94% of consumers choosing a healthcare facility say reputation is important.

What’s Your Digital Word of Mouth?

Applying her background in hospitality to the healthcare industry, Kate told the audience that physicians today are in a similar situation that hotels in the early 2000s found themselves: relying more and more on “digital word of mouth” to tell their story, attract new customers and keep their most valued guests coming back every year.

Your reputation on digital platforms such as RateMDs.com, Zocdoc, Yelp, Healthgrades, and even Twitter, Facebook and Google is critical today. But how are overworked, overextended practices and physicians supposed to keep an eye on everything being written about them while caring for patients and collecting reimbursement?

Managing approximately four million patients, Privia Health is a national medical group and clinically integrated network that partners with payers, and uses technology and population health management to reward independent practices for improving outcomes and reducing costs. Kate explained that Privia removes many of the administrative burdens that independent practices face with Reputation Management and, in turn, helps them:

• Acquire new patient volume and loyalty
• Engage patients in their care and increase satisfaction
• Preserve and protect their practice’s unique brand
• Maintain and grow revenue

Next week, we’ll talk about physician and executive engagement, analytics and the value of data. Look for “Reputation Management: From the Marketing Department to the C-Suite, Part II” on December 27, 2016.

Have questions about Reputation Management and what it can do for your organization? Contact us to learn more.

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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December 02, 2016

Patient Experience’s Impact on Revenue

By: Sabrina Egan

Patients are consumers – they have similar customer service expectations as they would for other industries. When it comes to selecting a physician, someone who they entrust with their health, the patient experience delivered is key – and it starts online. Ignoring your online patient reviews evokes the same feeling as hanging up on someone during…

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Patients are consumers – they have similar customer service expectations as they would for other industries. When it comes to selecting a physician, someone who they entrust with their health, the patient experience delivered is key – and it starts online. Ignoring your online patient reviews evokes the same feeling as hanging up on someone during a customer support call. Healthcare providers must take this into account when deciding on a strategy to improve the patient experience and ultimately impact revenue.

Patient Experience= Revenue.

Organizations providing “superior” patient experience achieve net margins 50 percent higher than those providing “average” patient experience. This makes it vital for organizations to evaluate the entire continuum of the patient experience.

Healthcare as a service industry proves that focusing on patient experience can increase profitability and prevent the need to cut costs. Organizations earning $2 billion in revenue can achieve a 2.3 percent margin benefit by improving patient experience, which is the same benefit organizations would see if they were to cut 460 jobs.

Ratings from patient surveys like HCAHPS also impact revenue. Hospitals with higher patient ratings saw a net margin of 4.7 percent compared to hospitals with poor ratings seeing just 1.8 percent net margin. Without a culture of putting patients first, hospitals will not meet their HCAHPS or revenue goals.

The Value of Patient Loyalty.

Improving patient loyalty and decreasing patient churn can significantly increase an organization’s revenue. Increasing retention rates by 5 percent can increase profits by twenty-five to ninety-five percent. It is also more cost effective to focus on loyalty – patient acquisition efforts cost five times more than efforts to secure existing patients.

How to Create a Profitable Experience.

  • Create a culture around patient experience. To improve patient experience, create a patient-centric culture, focusing on principles of compassion, service quality and excellent patient experience. Organizations should provide their staff with the tools and communication strategies needed to create standardized best practices that become part of the fabric of how they provide care every day.
  • Adopt new strategies. As new trends continuously evolve in healthcare, make sure your organization stays on top by finding new, more effective ways to address your patients’ needs using new technologies that go beyond the traditional care.
  • Listen and engage your patients. Improve service recovery by listening and quickly responding to patient concerns. Immediate resolution to a patient’s negative experience can potentially change a patient’s mind about whether to return to your practice.
  • Analyze and report patient feedback. Use patient feedback data to identify trends within your organization that can help pinpoint areas of improvement. Share feedback with department heads and teams, so they know what’s going well and what needs to be addressed.
  • Drive patient acquisition. Leverage your patient survey data by publishing patient verified reviews and comments onto your organization’s physician profile pages. This will improve SEO ranking and drive more traffic to your website over third-party review sites.

Implementing a strategy to improve patient loyalty and satisfaction will ultimately drive your organization’s growth and revenue.

To learn how industry leaders are creating a profitable patient experience for their organization, contact us today.

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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November 17, 2016

Leveraging Online Presence to Improve Patient Acquisition and Loyalty

By: George LaDue

The emergence of online review and rating sites has changed the way patients select their provider. Seventy-seven percent of patients use online reviews as their determining factor for selecting a provider – making it vital for healthcare organizations to manage their providers’ online presence. This is having significant impact on patient volume as online presence…

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The emergence of online review and rating sites has changed the way patients select their provider. Seventy-seven percent of patients use online reviews as their determining factor for selecting a provider – making it vital for healthcare organizations to manage their providers’ online presence. This is having significant impact on patient volume as online presence and patient acquisition go hand in hand. Organizations need to develop digital strategies to influence behavior that affects the entire patient journey – from awareness and selection, to loyalty and retention.

In order to leverage your organization’s online presence to drive patient acquisition and retention, you will need to manage your online presence and optimize your search engine results to ensure patients are selecting your providers.

Manage Online Presence
Patients select providers based on positive reviews – ninety-four percent will choose a similarly qualified provider over another based on positive reviews. To ensure your providers are well represented online, organizations are sending post-care email campaigns to drive patients with positive survey feedback to post their review on third-party review sites. According to a survey by Software Advice, ensuring your providers are well represented online is crucial due to the fact that one provider’s poor review can lower your organization’s overall star rating and potentially damage your organization’s online presence.

It is also crucial that organizations respond to both positive and negative reviews – sixty percent of patients believe it is important for organizations to post a response to a negative review. In order to ensure all negative reviews receive attention, organizations are using patient experience tools to efficiently monitor and respond to negative patient feedback. By responding to a patient’s negative experience, other potential patients will see that even though the patient had a bad experience, you were able to provide them with resolution. This could turn a dissatisfied patient into a brand ambassador.

Optimize Search Engine Results
Organizations and providers with more favorable reviews are displayed at the top of search results, which is significant given that fewer than ten percent of patients go beyond the first page of search results. Optimizing your search engine results provides a better opportunity of acquiring new patients through generic search results – seventy-two percent of patients use search engines prior to booking an appointment with a provider.

In order to be at the top of search engine results, organizations are leveraging their patient verified survey data by publishing feedback to their provider profile pages. This practice not only improves your organization’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but also helps earn patient trust with twenty-seven percent trusting reviews only if they are authentic.

Publishing your organization’s survey data will provide potential patients with more credible reviews that can help inform and guide their decision-making process when selecting a provider.

Implementing these digital strategies will help drive your organization’s patient acquisition and retention as well as improve your patients’ overall experience in today’s highly competitive healthcare industry.

To learn how leading healthcare organizations are improving patient acquisition, watch our webinar, “Journey to Excellence: Online healthcare reputation management” or schedule a demo at www.binaryfountain.com.

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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November 15, 2016

Using Patient Experience Surveys to Gain Competitive Advantage

By: Sabrina Egan

Physicians’ offices and healthcare facilities nationwide are now seeing patient experience as a source of differentiation, and are catching up with advances and processes on how to manage it. A recent Practice Operations Survey, “Medical practices to duke it out on access, patient experience,” by MGMA covering about 800 practices nationwide stated that physicians are…

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Physicians’ offices and healthcare facilities nationwide are now seeing patient experience as a source of differentiation, and are catching up with advances and processes on how to manage it. A recent Practice Operations Survey, “Medical practices to duke it out on access, patient experience,” by MGMA covering about 800 practices nationwide stated that physicians are in fact largely beginning to devote more effort to knowing their patients and understanding the patient experiences to identify areas of improvements. For instance, 61 percent of respondents had taken action to reduce wait time, reducing the median wait times to between 10 and 15 minutes.

Another study published in the Journal of Medical Practice Management found that most complaints about healthcare practices ranged from doctors’ bedside manners to billing problems to indifferent staff. Overall, the unhappiest patients cited communications problems.

All of these trends, coupled with value-based care and increasingly consumerized patient expectations, are gradually influencing healthcare organizations to be more focused on patients’ perception of care. And with the growing number of ways to receive healthcare, it is crucial that healthcare practices focus on the patient experience to stay competitive.

Utilizing Patient Experience Surveys to Take You to the Top

We’re seeing more practices adopting digital surveys to collect patient feedback. This has been giving them a time-saving way to quickly analyze trends and comments and promptly respond to issues that need to be addressed. With digital surveys today, practices can capture significantly more meaningful feedback and implement those insights to improve their practice and increase ROI. Responsiveness to feedback and improvements made can even affect future online reviews.

Best Practices for Patient Experience Surveys

Whether or not your practice uses CG-CAHPS, the questions asked – and what you do with the results – are vital. Organizations like Fairfax Radiology Consultants exemplify a solid approach to making surveys work for them. Here are four quick steps to help you get the most out of your patient experience surveys:

  • Keep surveys concise and promptly offer post care to improve response rates. Set expectations up front that completing it won’t take them long. Provide the survey either at checkout via iPad or send via email within 2 days.
  • Be ready to promptly respond; Immediate Service Recovery is another essential aspect of onsite and online surveys. It allows your practice to respond quickly to bad feedback, which further promotes customer satisfaction and transparency. An immediate action can turn a negative experience into a positive.
  • Be sure to encourage comments to capture insights. Getting rated on a scale of 1-10 is useful, but comments will provide you some of the most useful insights to your practice.
  • Use result to foster a patient experience-centered culture and higher staff engagement. Reward employees recognized for receiving feedback from patients.

Patients are becoming increasingly vocal about their experience and have more choices when it comes to providers. Take advantage of this opportunity to listen, analyze and act on their feedback. Your competing practices probably will.

Want to learn more about how digital patient surveys can help improve patient experience?

Watch the Binary Fountain webinar “How Spartanburg Healthcare’s Marketing Team is Impacting the Patient Experience,” or schedule a demo.

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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November 11, 2016

5 Best Practices for Engaging Patients Online

By: Zargham Ghani

The healthcare industry has seen a major shift from being provider driven to patient driven. Patients are treating healthcare like any other service they can buy, and many look to online reviews to gather more information before selecting new providers. As many as 8 in 10 patients consult physician reviews before selecting a healthcare provider,…

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The healthcare industry has seen a major shift from being provider driven to patient driven. Patients are treating healthcare like any other service they can buy, and many look to online reviews to gather more information before selecting new providers. As many as 8 in 10 patients consult physician reviews before selecting a healthcare provider, making it vital for healthcare organizations to not only monitor what’s being said, but to participate in the conversation as well.

Patient reviews can provide a wealth of information for providers, too. Engaging with reviewers’ concerns and issues can help practices and hospitals create true opportunities for online service recovery while communicating that patient experience is a top priority.

By following these five best practices for engaging patients online, you can help impact patient loyalty and ensure your providers’ reputations are better monitored and managed.

1. Establish a patient review response system. This should include everything from response timelines to who should be managing responses. Most often, this falls under your organization’s social media policy, which sets forth guidelines on tone, language and the like to ensure that those handling reviews and responses, especially via highly visible social media channels, are using the same “voice.” Having a written policy helps prevent staff members from not appropriately addressing the concerns posted in negative views and ensuring responses are in compliance with HIPAA and other healthcare industry regulations.

It’s also a good practice to draft scripted responses for common issues that arise in multiple review, such as comments about wait time. You can add some customization, using templates helps to speed up engagement response time.

For a final check before a comment is publicly posted, consider setting up an approval system. Individuals who are closer to the issue can draft a response, but a marketing team member, for example, can give final sign off before the review is released.

2. Set a threshold for which patient reviews you want to respond to. Some organizations might consider a 3-star review a marginal review; others, a 2.8-star review. It’s important to set a baseline so your team is not wasting time discussing which warrants a response every single day.

Implementing a patient experience platform can help you streamline this process by flagging any reviews that need attention and response, either based on the sentiment or flagged keywords (e.g. malpractice, lawsuit). Knowing where there are opportunities to improve are critical for any healthcare organization. Getting to the root cause of smaller issues can help them from spiraling into larger problems.

3. Address issues in a timely manner. There is no way to “bury” or delete negative reviews – in fact, you should embrace them and learn from them. Ignoring negative comments or patient reviews only allows frustration to build. Responding quickly and working to resolve the underlying problem can reflect positively on your healthcare organization – and influence the patient to change their review to a positive one. If the issue is an operational issue, such as the lack of large hospital gowns, survey your patients after making corrections to see if the issue is resolved.

4. Know when to take a conversation offline. Some patient complaints are best dealt with privately, either because of the sensitivity of the issue or because the problem needs to be escalated to a patient advocacy group. Always keep in mind that people want to be heard and receive authentic responses from someone who can fix the situation. A patient experience platform helps you streamline this process by notifying you when new reviews arrive in the system, ensuring that the most serious issues are resolved more quickly.

5. Be proactive in requesting reviews. To offset lower ratings, proactively ask patients for reviews. Be sure you know the rules around suggestions versus solicitation. You can suggest the patient leave a review in many ways and at different points in the relationship. For example, you can gauge the patient’s experience, and then ask them to share their experience online. Or, if you have an online patient portal, you can add an online review link or embed in an appointment reminder email—the opportunities are endless. This can dramatically increase the number of completed surveys and raise your average ratings.

As patients continue to embrace their roles as consumers and seek out reviews before selecting providers, it becomes even more important for healthcare organizations to engage with patients online. Timely, authentic responses not only convey that patient experience is a top priority, they also help practices and facilities uncover opportunities for improvement and create a dialog with patients. These best practices all contribute to the overarching strategy of keeping patients happy, which is a win-win for everyone.

Want to learn how one healthcare organization put some of these best practices into action?

Watch the Binary Fountain webinar “Journey to Excellence: Online healthcare reputation management” or schedule a demo.

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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November 01, 2016

[Infographic] Online Reviews Impact Patient Decision Making

By: Kayla Zamary

The healthcare industry has experienced a major shift over the past couple years, from being provider driven to patient driven. Patients now have access to an abundance of online review sites, making it easier for them to evaluate a provider and its facility before booking an appointment. Here is proof that online reviews are a…

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The healthcare industry has experienced a major shift over the past couple years, from being provider driven to patient driven. Patients now have access to an abundance of online review sites, making it easier for them to evaluate a provider and its facility before booking an appointment. Here is proof that online reviews are a major factor in the patient decision-making process. Click here to view the full-sized infographic.

 

 

bsr_infographic_v5

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing

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