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