Healthcare customers now have multichannel access to information related to health. With the evolution and integration of new media, the key is to use a streamlined digital strategy to boost engagement efforts.
Outlining the transformed digital landscape
Internet and social networking sites have led to a dramatic rise in healthcare consumerism as they have gained new power to make their decisions, whether it’s choosing a healthcare provider or referring a physician to family and friends. America’s healthcare sector has now shifted to a more patient-centric approach as there has been a shift of decision-making power into the hands of customers. This evolution has brought new challenges for healthcare professionals.
A few clicks with fingertips on the digital screens are enough to screen a physician’s digital DNA. Before booking an appointment with a physician, patients conduct a thorough analysis of the physician’s online reputation. A positive online reputation can mean the difference between a full or empty appointment book. Therefore, it is essential for physicians to manage their digital footprint. This change has redefined the dynamics of the patient-physician relationship.
Tap the power of reviews to market your practice
When people talk about their experiences with a hospital, physician, dentist or any other healthcare provider, their opinions resonate. This new-era “word-of-mouth” can be better-described as “customer advocacy.” Most businesses operating today have discovered that the only sure path to sustained organic growth is to have happy and satisfied customers who narrate their experiences to friends, family and colleagues. When customers become strong advocates for your products/services, they will definitely convince many others to make a buying decision.
Many healthcare companies and hospitals have started tapping the reviews and turning them to their advantage. To capitalize on this potential marketing channel, there is an essential need to strategize marketing plans with a more patient-centric focus.
Why are reviews important?
Patients are digital healthcare consumers who have started depending on online reviews before booking an appointment with a physician. Good patient reviews help develop trust and credibility for a physician’s practice. Unfortunately, not all patients are satisfied with the services provided by a practitioner. Hostile/biased/false reviews from displeased patients can be a setback as they travel like wildfire. Furthermore, these reviews are visible to all other prospective patients, as well, who will make a decision to visit a physician or not based on these reviews.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
Careful listening and responding appropriately to patient reviews is a major pillar for building strong brand resilience. The scope of healthcare discussion has been widened as patients can anonymously post reviews/comments on physician-review websites, social media and other platforms. Needless to mention, whatever is said spreads and creates a huge impact.
Improved search engine rankings
A hidden benefit to implement a review strategy is the SEO benefit. Though the primary purpose of reviews is to improve relationships with your patients and facilitate more patient conversions, they also provide considerable SEO value. The logic behind this rationale is: The more that is written about your practice online, the more search engines will get fresh and unique content and you’ll get higher rankings. So you can consider putting in efforts to increase positive reviews about your practice and leverage the SEO benefits.
Better understanding about your patient mind-sets
Reviews can be uses as building blocks to improve the patient experience and satisfaction. Whatever is mentioned in the reviews is a clear representation of how patients perceive your practice. Taken in the right light, it can help you get valuable insights about patient mind-sets. Physicians can enhance the patient experience by taking appropriate steps to resolve these complaints.
Intrinsic value of your online reputation
In this era of patient-powered health, physicians can no longer choose to be silent spectators. Many patients choose to write a review just because they want to be heard. Once you respond and tackle the reviews carefully, they get the feeling that their issue is being addressed and it also demonstrates that patient satisfaction is of utmost importance to you. The way you deal with these reviews will be noticed not only by the patient who posted the review but by many others who will gain a perception about your practice from this discussion. Dealing with these reviews optimistically opens up the lines of communication between the physician and patients, and you can avert any adverse situation before it happens. A positive online image solves the purpose of building credibility.
Today’s ‘transparent’ review landscape is a prism through which your reputation is reflected in the virtual world. As a physician, you’ll have to devise a strategy to identify, monitor and influence your digital reputation and credibility. Reviews not only provide wider bandwidth for brand-building but also help build trust and credibility between physicians and patients. Physicians must make calculated efforts to leverage them to their advantage.