An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
The American obsession with the Internet doesn’t seem to stop. According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, about 87 per cent access the Internet regularly. The growth of the Internet, social media, review sites and online forums has revolutionized the way healthcare organizations run their businesses. Patients are now better known as “digital health consumers” as they extensively research the Internet before making their health decisions.
Though online reputations are imperative for all businesses in this digital era, in the healthcare industry they matter more than any other. For hospitals, their reputation builds the foundation of trust and credibility among patients.
Hospitals take years to build their reputation. Ironically, today it is all in the hands of patients who just take a few minutes to post their reviews on social media platforms and physician-review websites. If the reviews are positive, it can be a boost for a hospital’s reputation—but negative reviews can be a disaster. Today, hospitals and physicians are at the mercy of these reviews/feedback. What remains a fact is that it is impossible to deliver 100% patient satisfaction, so even slight dissatisfaction can trigger a negative online review. Online word-of-mouth referrals travel like wildfire as they are easily available to anyone searching the Internet for information on hospitals.
When it comes to a hospital’s online reputation, it is now more critical than ever to be cognizant about what patients are saying, experiences they have had at the hospital, their perception about the services and, most importantly, how they react online and get influenced by online reviews.
Any hospital’s online reputation is the same as any other brand offering goods/services. In the present scenario, patient reviews matter more than experienced physicians and healthcare services offered at the hospital premises. Hospitals spend years earning a good reputation for themselves. Quite rightfully they deserve the recognition when someone searches them online.
Building a foundation for better health services and best patient experiences
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
There is a famous saying that encourages people to take care of their health: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The same goes for hospitals— to take care of their online health reputation. All hospitals are now well-versed on the impact and effect of the Internet, social media and review websites. They now need to strategize their marketing plans to cater to the digital decision-makers.
The first step is to access how your hospital is being perceived online. By going through reviews on rating websites, conducting a search by name of your hospital on Google and skimming through social forums such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, a rough sketch of the hospital’s online reputation can be drafted. Moving on to the next step, the hospital’s marketing team should ensure that all the negative comments are handled in a correct way to ensure the patients that their issues/grievances will be addressed and nothing but the best healthcare services will be provided to them. When patients feel that they are being heard and efforts are made to resolve their issues to make their experiences better, they have a sense of credibility toward the hospital. These conversations are visible to many others who make a perception—positive or negative-based on how the hospital authorities deal with negative patient experiences.
Based on the experiences of patients at the hospital, chalk out a strategy to channel them to improve services at the hospital facility. Arm your employees by training them to deliver the best patient experiences. You may even request that satisfied patients fill out review forms and ask them to post an online review on a main review website such as Yelp, RatemyMd, Vitals, etc.
Give reputation management the attention it deserves
As digital sources of information have become first stop for the patient decision-making process, how hospitals build and maintain a positive online reputation has become fundamentally important. The high bar of healthcare services and cut-throat market competition has made it imperative for hospitals to be proactive and take charge of their online reputation. Patients are tech-savvy and make intelligent decisions when it comes to spending on healthcare as they want the best value for the high amount of money they shell out as healthcare costs. So, take control of your online reputation and keep your hospital’s online reputation “healthy.”