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October 13, 2017

Using Data to Analyze and Improve Reputation

By: Kayla Zamary

Today, we have a conversation with a reputation management expert, Binary Fountain’s Aaron Clifford. Bringing more than 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Aaron is the company’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. Previously, Aaron served as the senior director of digital marketing solutions for HCA, one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare…

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Today, we have a conversation with a reputation management expert, Binary Fountain’s Aaron Clifford.

Bringing more than 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Aaron is the company’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. Previously, Aaron served as the senior director of digital marketing solutions for HCA, one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, where he created the vision for the organization’s enterprise-wide reputation management program.

Here, he offers some insight on how to use data to analyze and improve reputation.

To start with a fairly simple example, says Aaron, it’s helpful to appreciate data and what it means from the viewpoint of a physician in a solo practice. If a physician wanted to know why his or her practice seemed to be slowing a little, we’d want to understand the trends. Are new patient acquisitions rising or falling? Is there an increase in the rate of patients dropping off?

I would be asking, “Can you assemble data on your past three years of new patient volume? How have your reviews been growing and trending in satisfaction in that period?” Obtaining this data may be a challenge for a small practice, but the more modern practice management systems typically have this readily available.

We’d also want to look at ratings themselves on several channels, for example, Google My Business, Vitals and HealthGrades. I’d ask, “Are you acquiring new patients, or do you seem to be losing patients, due to reviews?”

To appreciate patterns and correlations, we’d want to overlay the review data onto the physician’s patient gain and loss numbers. This is where the data will likely point to the answer: online reviews can track with up- or downward trends in patient loyalty. This can influence practice growth, which of course has an impact on revenue.

Along the same lines, physicians or their practice managers should collect and analyze their referral data, to answer this question: Is there a correlation between referrals and new patient acquisition? If they don’t already, new patient forms should include questions such as “How did you hear about this physician?” and “What made you choose to book an appointment with this practice?” Tracking the answers will reveal opportunities to determine attribution.

Aaron observes that these small-practice principles are directly applicable to the perspective of the marketing staff in a larger practice or larger healthcare provider system. The hypothesis is similar: Online reviews impact revenue, positive reviews impact positively — negative reviews reduce new patient signups, and also depress patient loyalty, increasing attrition rates.

“For larger practice systems or hospital systems, cautions Aaron, “It’s advisable to ‘North Wind’ the practice manager, physicians, and operational management teams, to let them know you’re collecting data to build on the reputation of the practice. This way, they’re less likely to feel they’re under a magnifying glass.”

Aaron concludes, “It’s another proof of the hypothesis: by tracking and improving online reputation, the practice increases patient satisfaction, builds loyalty, and sees the positive effects on growth and revenue.”

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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September 19, 2017

How to persuade physicians and win over executives with data

By: Kayla Zamary

Unfavorable online reviews can potentially torpedo the reputation of a healthcare organization or a provider – and negatively impact revenue. As healthcare marketers implement reputation management programs, success depends on gaining buy-in from key stakeholders, particularly physicians and management. However, this can be easier said than done. Physicians can be wary of online reviews. Many…

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Unfavorable online reviews can potentially torpedo the reputation of a healthcare organization or a provider – and negatively impact revenue. As healthcare marketers implement reputation management programs, success depends on gaining buy-in from key stakeholders, particularly physicians and management.

However, this can be easier said than done. Physicians can be wary of online reviews. Many doubt their validity or disagree with them. Others want bad reviews to “go away.”  On the other hand, healthcare executives are making patient experience a

Research data show that misgivings are common. A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reports that 78% of providers say online physician reviews can cause them stress. This is despite the fact that about half of patients in the survey said they feel reviews are useful.

What’s the key to gaining buy-in? Let analytics do the talking. Using data to engage physicians and communicate progress to executives helps both groups of stakeholders embrace the value of online reviews and surveys, including how they can use the results to improve their online presence and gain insights into where they can improve the patient experience.

When presenting your case for a reputation management program, let revenue-related statistics speak for you:

  • 75% of Americans say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when selecting a physician (source: Binary Fountain)
  • 95 percent of respondents find online ratings and reviews “somewhat” to “very” reliable. (source: Binary Fountain)
  • Organizations providing “superior” patient experience achieve net margins 50 percent higher than those providing “average” patient experience. (source: Accenture)
  • Ratings from patient surveys like HCAHPS also impact revenue. Hospitals with higher patient ratings saw a net margin of 4.7 percent, while hospitals with poor ratings saw just 1.8 percent net margin. (source: Deloitte) How can a hospital reach HCAHPS or revenue goals without putting patient experience first?

Physicians are overachievers and often naturally competitive. They are also trained to rely on empirical evidence, to trust data and outcomes. Giving physicians a clear perspective on patient experience data – insight that clearly affects their practices – can grab their attention. Once they see reports that show good reviews far outnumber unfavorable ones, they’re much more inclined to buy in.

Once providers and managers gain insight into the collective score of both the physician and the facility, they can cultivate a plan for continuous improvement based on actual patient experience and outcomes.  Providing practice-wide physicians benchmarking reports on patient experience factors can incentivize them to improve in areas where they have low scores.

For more advice on best practices for choosing, adopting and implementing a reputation management program, visit our blog.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 29, 2017

Webinar Highlights: Marketing Strategies for Patient Engagement and Acquisition

By: Kayla Zamary

Recently, we presented a webinar on the consumer revolution in healthcare, entitled “Marketing Strategies for Patient Engagement and Acquisition.” The presenters were Aaron Clifford, Senior VP of Marketing for Binary Fountain; Elizabeth Davis, Reputation Manager with HCA, and Carrie Liken, Head of Healthcare for Yext. Aaron started things off with a quotation from Brian Solis,…

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Recently, we presented a webinar on the consumer revolution in healthcare, entitled “Marketing Strategies for Patient Engagement and Acquisition.”

The presenters were Aaron Clifford, Senior VP of Marketing for Binary Fountain; Elizabeth Davis, Reputation Manager with HCA, and Carrie Liken, Head of Healthcare for Yext.

Aaron started things off with a quotation from Brian Solis, the well-known consultant, author and speaker, who welcomes us all to the new era of marketing and service, where “your brand is defined by those who experience it.”

Next, Carrie Liken of YEXT described the healthcare patient journey, an experience cycle that begins even before a patient is diagnosed. The first step is DISCOVERY, in which the patient researches their symptoms online and then decides what type of provider to see. Step Two is SELECTION, with the patient consulting search engines, provider directories and reviews to choose a physician. Third is POINT OF CARE, in which the patient notices aspects of the practice experience: office staff, wait time, billing problems and so on. Last is the FEEDBACK stage, with the patient visiting an online review site to leave feedback, positive or negative. Either way, the review they post will help other patients in their journey.

Carrie introduced some eye-opening statistics about the Patient Journey:

  • 77% of people search online before making an appointment.
  • 76% of people search for a provider (not a facility) when looking for health info

As Carrie described next, there are potential pain points if online access information is incorrect, or staff attitudes are perceived as unhelpful. And, when a patient leaves negative feedback, that influences the choices of potential patients who follow, which has an impact on revenue.

More statistics demonstrate Aaron’s comment that “The competition is only a click away:”

  • 47% of patients are willing to go out-of-network based on reviews
  • 50% of consumers searching for a provider will not choose a provider without reviews”

Next, Elizabeth Davis described how HCA arrived at its corporate reputation and listing information management strategy, how it functions from a corporate standpoint, and how the company works to optimize it as an acquisition and engagement strategy.

HCA operates 174 hospitals; 1,000+ practice locations; 90+ urgent care locations; 119 surgery centers, employs 37,000 active physicians, and records some 8.4 million Emergency Department visits a year (HCA sees 20 million patients per year altogether).

Elizabeth offered examples showing how easily online listings can spread misinformation, from a physician incorrectly listed as deceased, to another physician’s W-9 form with home address and social security number, posted by accident in a Google My Business account for a year, to an error with potential life-and-death consequence — a Google map destination for an emergency room that was really an empty lot. Beginning in 2011, HCA began working with practice managers at all its facilities to reclaim and correct listings at third party sites including Google, Yelp, Vitals, HealthGrades and others. That effort took close to two years, and 4 people to coordinate.

In building a case for a unified reputation management software solution, the HCA reputation management team demonstrated that online reviews represented a wealth of actionable data and unaddressed opportunities for improvement. The team took a hands-on approach to demonstrate the value of engaging with patients to optimize reviews. One Nashville clinic recorded 2,000+ views on Google business, 100 calls and 150 web site visits in one week.

The team added a crucial question to patient experience surveys – Did the patient book their appointment based on information they found online? Working with practices to improve patient experience, the team saw the number of patients responding “yes” to this question increase by 131 percent. The clear lesson is that new and returning patients alike look online for information on which practice to choose, how to make an appointment, how to get there and many more steps on their patient journey. Assembling their business case, the team could clearly see that enterprise-wide reputation management could not be maintained manually without adding a lot of employees.

The team chose Binary Fountain for its superior automation and template features, because of its highly developed, healthcare-specific Natural Language Processing capabilities, and especially because Binary Fountain embodies forward-thinking expertise and functionality. For Elizabeth’s HCA team Binary Fountain was, hands down, best in class.

Today, HCA oversees its company-wide reputation management program with a central office staff of three people, and input from staffers assigned to patient engagement in each practice. They also partner with YEXT to more easily maintain all the details of staff, hours, services, location and contact information across third-party platforms publishing physician and location data.

The result is a dramatic improvement in patient experience as measured by positive reviews. As Aaron Clifford points out in the webinar, “We know that when patient experience is improved, there will be a positive impact on revenue.”

There’s much more to learn in the hour-long webinar, including the details of how YEXT and Binary Fountain work with HCA to automate the digital patient experience, online information updates and reputation management, plus a detailed slide deck illustrating the steps of patient engagement and acquisition.

You’re invited to have a listen and a look. Just Sign In Here.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 16, 2017

Taking Control of Your Online Healthcare Reputation

By: Kayla Zamary

Healthcare online reputation management has become an essential part of healthcare marketing and patient relations for healthcare organizations. In a world that’s focused on returns, healthcare reputation management yields opportunities for ROE – Return on Engagement. What is Return on Engagement? Like ROI (return on investment) or ROAS (return on ad spend), ROE is a…

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Physicians and marketersHealthcare online reputation management has become an essential part of healthcare marketing and patient relations for healthcare organizations. In a world that’s focused on returns, healthcare reputation management yields opportunities for ROE – Return on Engagement.

What is Return on Engagement?

Like ROI (return on investment) or ROAS (return on ad spend), ROE is a metric you can use to track your brand strength gained from interactions with your patients.

Why does ROE matter for Healthcare Marketers?

More and more, patients spend time online researching healthcare providers before selecting a practice or hospital for their care. With our own research showing that 95% of people find online ratings to be reliable, and Brightlocal reporting that 85% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, more healthcare organizations are developing their own reputation management programs.

Patients aren’t just looking for quality reviews, they are also looking for volume. They want to know that the physician they are thinking about visiting doesn’t just have a few people saying they are great – but many.

So are search engines.

Medical facilities or practices are more likely to appear in search results if they have a lot of good reviews. We’ll get into volume later.

Engage Online with Patients to Create a Better Experience

So if healthcare consumers are being active and engaged in their medical needs, are providers engaging with them online?

The truth is, many are only listening – not analyzing and responding to reviews. As one marketing executive said, “if we’re not engaging with our patients, then other people are going to tell the story for us.”

In today’s digital world, informed patients expect the same kind of interaction they receive from hotels or their favorite retailer. Responsive engagement is the key to a good online reputation for healthcare providers.

For instance, if a patient posts a negative comment from your waiting room, you may have the opportunity to resolve the issue immediately if you’re actively monitoring and responding to comments.

By having a plan in place for responding to negative reviews, we’ve seen many cases where patients have changed a negative online review to a positive one, or removed it, after marketing engaged them and helped facilitate service recovery.

One important result of engagement is – more engagement.

Our customer success team reports that reviews tend to increase in number, especially when the practice regularly engages and responds to patient feedback.

When prospective patients see that the practice is listening and responding, this encourages further patient engagement. Patients want to share their good experiences with the world and healthcare marketers can get the best ROE when they provide a convenient way for them to do so.

Engagement Leads to Patient Acquisition

Remember what we said about volume? Both users and search engines like seeing more reviews. In other words, if you are doing a good job responding to user feedback, you are probably going to see some positive results in your search rankings and in your patient acquisition efforts.

Physician Profile Pages Can Help Your Healthcare Reputation

As vital as it is to manage online reviews on third party websites, you also need to engage prospective patients on your healthcare organization’s physician directory pages. An effective tool can help support the program.

You are going to want to list a few things on your physician profile pages including:

  • Specialty
  • Education and credentials
  • Locations
  • Ratings

Providence Health & Services (PH&S), the fourth largest not-for-profit health system in the United States, is doing just that. They’re managing ratings and comments from patient experience surveys and publishing them on provider pages.

In 2015, PH&S rolled out our transparency solution across its Oregon market, with star ratings and reviews published on more than 500 of its physician profile pages. Several months in, an analysis of 86 primary care providers and 64 specialists (150 physicians in all) revealed a dramatic effect on consumer behavior. You can read more about it here.

You Can Take Control of Your Healthcare Online Reputation

How are bad and good reviews impacting your providers and organization?

Engaging with online reviews can help maximize your online presence, increase patient acquisition and loyalty, and improve your reputation. Your physicians and management will appreciate it.

Healthcare reputation management can be tricky or even daunting based on how many reviews you receive across multiple platforms.

That’s where we come in. Here are some best practices on responding to online reviews.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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July 07, 2017

5 Ways to Attract Millennial Moms to Your Practice

By: Kayla Zamary

Yeah, we know—we’re a little weary of hearing about millennials, too, but with a purchasing power that just won’t quit, millennials are a significant market to consider. According to the Pew Research Center, more than a million millennials are becoming mothers each year. Today, ninety percent of first-time mothers are millennials, and successful healthcare practices…

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Yeah, we know—we’re a little weary of hearing about millennials, too, but with a purchasing power that just won’t quit, millennials are a significant market to consider. According to the Pew Research Center, more than a million millennials are becoming mothers each year. Today, ninety percent of first-time mothers are millennials, and successful healthcare practices are realizing that this demographic should be taken seriously. And, in typical millennial fashion, this generation is rewriting the rules as they go.

Millennials are thoughtful, engaged consumers who are perhaps the most health-conscious generation to date, and they are increasingly becoming parents who make decisions and purchases that affect their entire family. Millennial women, in particular, are known to research at least ten sources before making a purchase (versus two for men). They control eighty-five percent of household purchases and have a spending power of $2.4 trillion. Because of this, staying up-to-date on trends and investing in physician reputation management should be a top priority for healthcare practices and OB-GYN facilities to help young mothers make informed healthcare decisions.

Here are the top five ways to attract this important market to your healthcare practice.

Be Authentic.

The need to build trust with millennial moms is ushering in a new era for physicians and healthcare providers. This generation of young mothers is the first to fully embrace the digital age, and their decision-making skills have been shaped by the rapid introduction of technology in the last decade of the 20th century. Young mothers today are highly sensitive to authenticity and crave genuine engagement, so it’s important for healthcare organizations to join the online conversation.

Millennial moms expect brands to be open about their philosophy and values. Being transparent with both negative and positive reviews on your physician directory pages will demonstrate your dedication to transparency and building patient trust.

Be a Part of the Online Conversation.

Brands that embrace technology are likely to be viewed positively by millennial moms, so it’s essential for healthcare practices to take part in the online discussion. Although physicians and healthcare providers should actively participate as experts in their online communities, they must be careful not to turn their interactions into a one-way lecture. Personalization is key. Moms want to feel comfortable in knowing brands will treat them, and their children as individuals. Plus, sixty-two percent of millennials are more likely to become a loyal customer when a brand engages with them.

Embrace Online Reviews.

Online presence, search rankings and patient approval ratings and comments, can all impact a physician’s online reputation. Tap into this new era of online consumer engagement by creating physician review and rating pages to help drive traffic to your practice.

Young mothers today share their opinions online more than any other generation of mothers before them, and strongly rely on their support networks for guidance.

These ”digital natives” are likely to be more active on social media as well as proactive in seeking out reviews before making purchasing decisions—and they’re more likely to be sharing content on these social networks, too. Interacting online is simply a part of their daily lives, so healthcare practices should take advantage of the available insights across healthcare review sites and incorporate digital patient surveys into their practice.

Be Meaningful.

In an age where big data and digital experiences often trump the message, it’s time for a return to brand relationships that speak to audience’s values. Healthcare practices must consider providing valuable content, engagement and personalized communication. Commit to transparency by publishing reviews and ratings on your provider profile pages to help new or soon-to-be mothers find the care and physician that’s right for them and their families.

Don’t Stereotype.

Don’t lump all moms into one market segment. Today’s brands need to consider the various roles of women today and focus on their areas of interest—particularly children and health. For instance, many millennial moms have difficulty identifying with images of the traditional two-parent family with dual incomes. Unlike mothers of past generations, millennial moms have an on-the-go lifestyle and have considerable spending power, as well as busy lives in their online and offline worlds. Marketers should consider developing campaigns that focus on the mother-child relationship and acknowledge the independent identity that many millennial mothers have built for themselves.

No matter what you’ve heard, this young and informed generation is now faced with making important healthcare decisions for their growing families. It’s critical for physicians and providers to understand millennial moms and what influences their healthcare choices. Millennial parents are parents whose lives are immersed in new technologies, but their basic needs and goals are no different than past generations. The conversation is simply happening in new places and at different speeds. Will you be a part of it?

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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June 29, 2017

The Growing Value of Patient Experience Survey Data for Healthcare Marketers

By: John McFeely

In recent years, healthcare practices have been focusing more on engaging patients in their growing role as healthcare consumers. Many healthcare marketing departments are expecting to spend more time and resources influencing patient behavior. As consumers seek and have increased access to healthcare information online, marketing teams are recognizing the value of robust patient experience…

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In recent years, healthcare practices have been focusing more on engaging patients in their growing role as healthcare consumers. Many healthcare marketing departments are expecting to spend more time and resources influencing patient behavior. As consumers seek and have increased access to healthcare information online, marketing teams are recognizing the value of robust patient experience survey data as a resource to inform and guide patients seeking a physician online.

Press Ganey, a leading provider of performance improvement measurement, analytics and strategic advisory solutions, has been a pioneer in advocating for patient experience measurement for decades. We sat down with Press Ganey’s Vice President of Strategic & Product Marketing, Anne Stern, for her insights into the growing value of patient experience survey data to healthcare marketers. 

Hi Anne, What should marketers know about patient experience?

Patient experience is about everything that affects a patient during care—including how it is influenced by the patient’s condition, treatment and associated suffering. To evaluate and improve the patient experience, there is no better source of information than patients themselves.

Press Ganey pioneered patient experience measurement with psychometrically-tested and scientifically-validated surveys and comparative benchmarking. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) includes surveys to assess patient perception of care as part of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) program. CMS began publicly reporting HCAHPS results in March 2008, and implemented Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) in 2012, tying performance on CAHPS to payment.  The industry has been evolving with more and more emphasis on formal surveys to capture and utilize patient feedback. 

What value can patient experience insights bring to marketers?

Traditionally, healthcare provider leadership, quality, nurses and physicians are focused on insights from standardized patient experience surveys, using them to help understand where improvements can be made. As consumers are seeking – and gaining more access to healthcare information online, healthcare marketers are beginning to play a larger role in the patient experience.

Through patient feedback, marketers can understand the perception of their brand and reputation. The opportunity for marketers is to leverage data gathered by patient experience efforts in their efforts to engage with healthcare consumers. Marketers are often the conduit to the organization for patient feedback collected through online review sites. They can also be the catalyst and driver for transparency – sharing standardized patient experience results through stars and comments on their organization’s web site.

Why is it important for healthcare practices to adopt transparency?

Adopting transparency by publicly sharing patient feedback, through star ratings and comments, increases consumer engagement. The robust patient survey data serves as a great opportunity for marketers to help drive consumers to their provider directory pages and control the conversation around their physicians’ brands.

Patient surveys provide large volumes of in-depth, high-quality patient feedback. When marketers share this wealth of comments – both positive and negative – it builds credibility for the practice as well as consumer trust. If only positive comments are made public, this can quickly raise questions to the validity of the data. Publishing all patient feedback communicates that your organization values patient feedback and wants to better understand how they can improve the patient experience.

This rich data is becoming increasingly influential in affecting the consumer experience when it comes to selecting a physician. It’s particularly influential when factoring in the accumulation of online reviews that can increase SEO, and as I mentioned before, drive traffic to the physician directory pages.

How can a transparency initiative affect a healthcare practice?

When they know reviews and ratings are made public, a transparency initiative can spark competition among physicians as well as encourage more focus on improving the patient experience throughout the organization. Organizations leading the transparency movement have seen increases in their patient experience results.

Today, marketers need to prioritize creating an engaging experience that informs and guides consumer decision-making with robust and reliable online evaluations of the patient experience. Press Ganey’s partnership with Binary Fountain provides clients with comprehensive transparency and brand management solutions to effectively engage patients across their healthcare journey.

About the Author

John McFeely
Sales Director

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June 22, 2017

Taking Control of Your Online Healthcare Reputation

By: Kayla Zamary

With patients becoming increasingly vocal about their care experience, marketers are taking control of their healthcare organization’s and physicians’ online reputation and helping them understand where they can improve the patient experience. Located in Frederick, Maryland, The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics—MMI Division, a physician-owned practice with over 40 providers and 5 locations, believes in providing…

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With patients becoming increasingly vocal about their care experience, marketers are taking control of their healthcare organization’s and physicians’ online reputation and helping them understand where they can improve the patient experience.

Located in Frederick, Maryland, The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics—MMI Division, a physician-owned practice with over 40 providers and 5 locations, believes in providing the highest quality of life with the least risk while ensuring a seamless treatment experience from beginning to end. Their Director of Marketing, Barbara Hiller, leads the way in facilitating the organization’s online reputation management and patient experience programs. We spoke with Barbara to find out how she was managing them with Binary Health Analytics.

Hi Barbara, can you give us a little background on why you adopted Binary Health Analtyics

From advertising to monitoring online reviews, I wear a lot of hats here.  As part of this initiative, I was spending a lot of time looking through our survey cards and monitoring third-party review sites – one at a time. It was a painstaking, manual process that was challenging to stay on top of every week.

How have you been using the platform?

Binary Health Analytics gave me a single view across all our online reviews and survey responses. Although our patient feedback is 98 percent positive, by monitoring these reviews and surveys, we’ve been able to better understand what issues need to be addressed and tackle that remaining 2 percent.

It’s really been an invaluable tool for turning negative experiences into a positive. With digital patient surveys now offered online and during checkout on our iPads, we’re capturing more survey responses than before and uncovering issues we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.  I can now monitor and receive alerts on less-than-favorable reviews. This has given me the opportunity to reach out to these patients, fix the issue and turn it into a positive experience.

We’ve also used these reviews to have some important one-on-one conversations with physicians. Patient comments provide evidence to our physicians where they need to develop professionally. We also present reports to all our physicians that benchmark their performance against each other and show what’s being said about them. Our physical therapy department is also very active in using these reports as a tool to gauge how they’re doing. Furthermore, the information is a great tool for review purposes when it comes to annual performance evaluations.

How is this affecting your online presence?

We’ve captured such a wealth of great feedback from our surveys that we wanted to publish it on our website. Patients could review them and feel confident in the physician they’re selecting. We’ve started posting them to our physician profile pages and also created a testimonial page for our midlevel providers and physical therapists. We get a lot of detailed patient comments about our physical therapists since they’re very engaged with our patients, and those reviews really speak to the practice as a whole.

In summary, how has it helped you?

It was truly an “ah-ha” moment when we first implemented Binary Fountain’s reputation management solution. I’m now spending 70% less time managing patient feedback while getting over 200% more survey responses. I couldn’t imagine doing my job without this platform again.

Binary Fountain has provided us a time-saving way to control the conversation around our practice and improve the patient experience through one dashboard. We’ve been able to accomplish our goals of efficiently publishing and reviewing patient feedback while continuing to deliver quality healthcare and guarantee our patients that we will go above and beyond to cater to their needs.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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June 02, 2017

Impacting Reputation Management and Patient Experience with Online Feedback: An Interview with Spartanburg Regional Health System

By: Kayla Zamary

Medical Group of the Carolinas, part of the Spartanburg Regional Health System, has 96 practice locations and 330 physicians throughout western South Carolina and North Carolina. In 2014, they initiated a pilot project with Binary Fountain to boost its online reputation management and patient experience programs in five of its practice locations, and then went…

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Medical Group of the Carolinas, part of the Spartanburg Regional Health System, has 96 practice locations and 330 physicians throughout western South Carolina and North Carolina. In 2014, they initiated a pilot project with Binary Fountain to boost its online reputation management and patient experience programs in five of its practice locations, and then went live throughout the entire system in 2015.

Recently, we spoke with Mary Reid, RN, Senior Physician Development Consultant, Marketing, and Susie Woodward, Physician Development Director at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System about how they manage online ratings, reviews and survey feedback to impact and improve the patient experience. Mary just came back from presenting at the Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit on “Impacting Patient Experience with Online Feedback.”

Can you give us some background on how you identified the need for an online reputation management initiative?

Looking at the big picture, patient experience is one of our healthcare system’s top priorities, and marketing has a role in it.  For this initiative, the initial impetus came from CMS and the need to assess patient experience through the CAHPS® Clinician & Group Surveys (CG-CAHPS). As you know, these survey results can provide great insight into the patient experience, and show us where we can improve care as providers, physician practices and medical groups. Also, survey data can equip consumers with information they can use to choose the provider or practice that’s right for them.

We also discovered a wealth of online patient reviews about our physicians. We quickly realized that we needed a way to monitor and respond to patient comments, and help our physicians manage their online reputations and profile pages. That job was much bigger than our internal team had the capacity to manage effectively, so we needed a more comprehensive strategy.

What steps did you take to get this initiative going?

Because this was such a big challenge, we knew we needed to engage our C-level executives and physician leadership to gain support and buy-in for our patient experience strategy. We secured a physician champion who recognized the importance of this program, and he helped coordinate and launch our pilot project. With his support, we were able to roll out our program throughout the entire Spartanburg Regional Health System. He really has been vital to our success.

Describe for us how the online reputation management program was managed, and how it supports improvements to the patient experience.

Marketing was involved in all aspects of the program. We took a holistic approach using Binary Health Analytics to capture, analyze and engage with online feedback and surveys. We worked with the physician practices to manage the survey process, which were completed by patients during check out using iPads. We kept the survey brief with questions reflecting CG-CAHPS measures. This approach has been effective as we’re getting a 33% completion rate and it’s helping us quickly capture feedback that we can promptly act on.

After we implemented the Binary Fountain platform throughout our system, we began receiving reports that help us identify and track trends in patient experience. That data is tremendously useful in seeing what’s working well and, just as important, which areas need more attention. We also received alerts when we had a patient experience feedback score 2.5 or below. That’s when we proactively worked with a customer service team to engage with the patient and resolve their issue promptly. We take a lot of pride in delivering a great patient experience. Overall, the health system maintains a 4.8-out-of-5 patient experience score.

Here at Spartanburg Regional, our Physician Relations department resides inside of Marketing, and we spend a lot of time orienting new physicians on reputation management and their impact on the patient experience. We monitor physician pages on third-party sites such as Vitals, Healthgrades, RateMD and UCompareHealthCare, as well as what patients are posting on our social media channels. If physicians are concerned about their online ratings or comments, we can help them take steps to address patient complaints, learn from what’s being said about them and encourage positive feedback.

Online ratings and reviews are a big part of healthcare consumerism, and it helps us improve the care we provide while preserving and promoting the online reputation of our physicians. This initiative allows us to dig deeper into those practices that are consistently ranking high in patient experience scores, so we can standardize their best practices across the entire system.

For instance, if one practice is alleviating patient frustration around wait times by performing regular rounding in the waiting room, we can share that success with all practices. Finally, the insights we gain through patient feedback and online reputation management help us reinforce the work of our dedicated physicians and reduce signs of burnout.

Want to make sure that your online reputation management strategy is designed for success? Contact Binary Fountain today to schedule a personalized demonstration of our reputation management platform.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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May 24, 2017

3 Takeaways from the Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategy Summit

By: Zargham Ghani

We recently came back from exhibiting at another great Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategy Summit in Austin, TX. We spoke with a lot of engaged marketers and had the chance to hear Spartanburg Regional Health System and our own Andrew Rainey present on “Impacting the Patient Experience with Online Feedback.” For those who missed the…

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We recently came back from exhibiting at another great Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategy Summit in Austin, TX. We spoke with a lot of engaged marketers and had the chance to hear Spartanburg Regional Health System and our own Andrew Rainey present on “Impacting the Patient Experience with Online Feedback.” For those who missed the event, we wanted to share a few takeaways and observations.

Marketing’s Goal: Holistic Reputation Management

Taking a complete approach to reputation management is on attendees’ marketing roadmap – if they’re not already there. We’ve seen many starting off with the basics of review monitoring and listings and gradually moving up the reputation management stack to implement a complete marketing/patient experience strategy that includes engaging healthcare consumers, analyzing patient experience data, taking a 360-degree approach to listings management, and adopting transparency. As one attendee said, each step we take gets us closer to the goal line. What’s going to help them get there? According to attendees, it’s simple: showing results along the way.

Online Reputation Impacts Patient Experience – and Vice Versa

Everyone we spoke to understands the end goal: the patient experience and marketing coming together. In fact, the direct correlation between HCAHPS scores and social media scores was a topic we were hearing. Marketers see this as an indicator that validates the value of online reviews. In a recent study we did, we discovered a correlation that demonstrated just that. The study of 105 hospitals across 19 states 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).

Transparency and ROI
Everyone gets that patients are consumers – and transparency matters to them. They’re very cautious when implementing features, and are looking at ROI extensively to prove this is worthwhile. This is when relating star ratings to appointment scheduling and gaining new patients becomes a vital metric. Those who are doing it are finding the ROI to be significant.

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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May 19, 2017

Physician and Patient Opinions on Online Physician Rating and Reviews Websites

By: Kayla Zamary

What do patients and physicians really think about online reviews and ratings of physicians and healthcare practices? The Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) decided to find out. JGIM’s recent report, Physician and Patient Views on Public Physician Rating Websites: A Cross-Sectional Study, surveyed 828 physicians affiliated with one of four hospitals in large healthcare…

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What do patients and physicians really think about online reviews and ratings of physicians and healthcare practices? The Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) decided to find out.

JGIM’s recent report, Physician and Patient Views on Public Physician Rating Websites: A Cross-Sectional Study, surveyed 828 physicians affiliated with one of four hospitals in large healthcare organizations across eastern Massachusetts, as well as 494 adult patients who received care in the system throughout May 2015.

Some highlights of the study include:

  • Physicians reported higher levels of agreement with the accuracy of numerical data (53 percent) and narrative comments (62 percent) from health system patient experience surveys, while only 36 percent agreed to the accuracy on independent online rating and review sites.
  • On the other hand, 57 percent of patients reported trusting the accuracy of data obtained from independent websites more than health system patient experience data.
  • Overwhelmingly, 78 percent of physicians believed that comments published online would increase their job stress, and some even believed this could have a negative effect on the physician-patient relationship.
  • However, 51 percent of patients supported posting comments online and visible to the public, compared to 21 percent of physicians.

All in all, physicians and patients have differing views on whether third-party rating and review sites or patient experience survey data published on health system websites are the more reliable source of information—or even if such data should be shared publicly at all. Physicians are certainly concerned about the impact negative online ratings and reviews can have, however patients feel that such information empowers them to make better informed health‐related choices.

While healthcare practices may be hesitant to implement a transparency initiative in their organization, digital consumerism continues to disrupt healthcare, moving patient experience beyond care alone. Online reviews are increasing and consumers are more frequently heading online to make their healthcare choices. Because of this, healthcare systems that don’t adopt a consumer-driven mindset are likely to fall behind on loyalty and acquisition of new patients.  Transparency and patient engagement are essential for healthcare organizations that want to better understand consumer challenges and needs, and improve patient experience.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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