How many articles have you read that encourage you to use online patient reviews to market your practice? And how many times do you think to yourself, "Online reviews are fake and always negative," or "Gathering reviews is costly and can't help my practice"?
You aren't alone. A June 2017 study found that almost 80% of physicians surveyed believed that posting comments online would increase job stress (Journal of General Internal Medicine, June 2017, Vol. 32:6, pp. 626-631).
It's time to rethink patient reviews. It is possible to find reviews written by verified patients that are positive and completely free to you.
Make sure your reviews are verified
With so many review websites available, such as Yelp, HealthGrades, and ZocDoc, how do you know which reviews to use? At Brighter, we advise our providers to trust only verified reviews, so they can be confident the content is reflective of a true experience. A verified review is an experience rating that has been provided by a patient who has completed an appointment with a provider.
Here are four elements to look for in a verified review:
- The review is from a patient whose provider submitted a claim for the visit. This ensures the review was not from a disgruntled employee, a doctor creating fake reviews, or patients who never saw you.
- The review was passed through a filter to detect profanity or inappropriate comments. This ensures that what is written about your services will reflect content appropriate for other readers.
- The review was not purchased or otherwise influenced by money to gain traction. This ensures all reviews are displayed fairly for all providers; no one was able to pay to have content changed or placed higher on a page for better visibility.
- The review is aggregated with other verified reviews from a company invested in healthcare. This ensures the content is not your typical social media post that is simply "liked" and "shared."
Access and use content wisely
There are resources in the marketplace that allow you to read verified reviews, but you have to pay a fee to access the content. My previous column talked about the importance of provider directories and Find-a-Dentist tools provided by major insurance carriers.
Did you know that many of these directories will showcase verified reviews on your profile, completely free to you and the member to access? This is an excellent way for new, insured patients to learn about your practice and the experience you provide.
We tell our providers to work with these reviews in the following ways to attract new patients:
- Encourage your patients to leave reviews. On our platform, 97% of reviews are positive, so patients are obviously sharing great experiences. You definitely want others to read these as part of their research to find an excellent provider.
- Learn from your reviews. Do your patients love the new operatory design but wish the afternoon sun wasn't right in their eyes? Pat yourself on the back for building a beautiful space, then install some shades. Learn how to take the good with the bad and enhance your practice with what you learn.
- Share your reviews with your staff. Don't keep all those positive reviews to yourself. Your staff will love to hear about the ways they impact your patients' lives. This is a great way to recognize your team for a job well done.
Take a moment today to read your verified reviews and rethink the value they bring you. You'll thank your patients and watch your practice grow.
Kim Miranda is the director of marketing at Brighter, a technology company serving the dental and healthcare industries.
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.