Physician buy-in can be one of the more complicated aspects of a successful reputation management program. Some of our customers say that physicians they work with can be reluctant at first to embrace online reviews and ratings, whether positive or negative.
Many physicians have been at odds with reviews. A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine revealed that 78 percent of providers said that online physician reviews cause them stress. Physicians may be concerned that their ratings could be influenced by factors unrelated to the actual patient interaction. Some doctors hold the attitude that they will not change the way they practice medicine because of an unfavorable review. One physician even sued a patient over allegations posted in a negative review.
As part of a recent Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit presentation on Engagement-Driven Reputation Management, Elizabeth Davis, Reputation Manager for HCA, pointed out that provider concerns about online reviews can result in requests to take down negative reviews.
Speaking with Sarah Heath of Patient Engagement HIT, Davis said, “What matters is that patient comments are out there, so no matter how outdated the comment is or how irrelevant it appears, patients are still making decisions based on it.”
What do we recommend? Make the case with providers for online reputation management. As Davis stated, they need to know that their reputation is already online and consumers are increasingly using online ratings and reviews to select a provider. Back it up with telling healthcare consumer stats and show reviews about the providers. The next message that needs to be communicated: Physicians can take ownership of their online reputation. Educate them on the online reputation management program and what they can do to help with their own reputation. Whether it is cultivating a patient-centered environment at a practice, generating more reviews, or participating in service recovery when needed, providers can make a difference in their own online reputation.
Davis also observes that executive sponsorship can go a long way toward inspiring staff and provider buy-in. Reputation management and patient engagement work best when patient feedback is used as a training tool with staffers and physicians and as a way to celebrate successes based on positive reviews.
When reputation managers understand that physicians are often competitive, results-oriented and data-driven by personality and training, it is easier to inspire them to take a positive approach toward reviews, and an active role in managing their online reputation.
At a recent Binary Fountain webinar hosted by MGMA, KureSmart Pain Management VP of Operations Britni Cullen described a highly capable physician who had great outcomes but received low star ratings in patient communication and bedside manner.
After the KureSmart reputation management team reviewed the direct patient feedback with him, this very competitive individual ended up becoming Kure Smart’s highest ranked physician because he adjusted his behavior based on patient feedback.
When providers embrace reputation management and patient engagement, patients and potential patients take notice, and this shows in the number of reviews, in new patient volume, and ultimately in corporate revenue.
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