Three Ways Reputation Management Is Changing Healthcare
Andrew Rainey

Today, healthcare consumerism and patient experience are changing the healthcare industry. In the past, a healthcare provider’s reputation was based primarily on word of mouth recommendations from friends, family or their primary care provider. However, with the growth in online reviews via social media and rating and review sites, online reputation management today is no longer something hospitals, systems or group practices can afford to overlook.

The reputation of any healthcare organization, both large and small, can be advanced or tarnished with a single comment, review or news article posted online. Therefore, proactive management of your healthcare organization’s online reputation is vital to your overall success. The increasingly intense competition within the healthcare industry has elevated the importance of online reputation for physicians and hospitals in attracting new patients and building loyalty with existing patients. After spending years to build a strong reputation by traditional means, hospitals and healthcare organizations need to adapt their strategies to ensure this is also reflected online. Below are a few reasons why your healthcare organization needs to consider adopting a new approach to reputation management in 2017.

Engage Patients Online

Healthcare organizations have adopted an engagement strategy in addition to their social media policy, focusing on timely personalized responses to online comments and reviews. This is helping them establish and maintain a sense of trust with patients. Patients need to see that hospitals are willing to go above and beyond what is expected to provide the best standard of care. When patients feel their concerns or complaints are being heard, and efforts are being made to resolve their issues, a hospital’s reputation and credibility is reflected in online reviews. Patient feedback management can help accomplish timely service recovery by helping organizations quickly uncover and act on negative online reviews. It even creates an opportunity to engage with patients that left a positive review, and helps turn these consumers into brand advocates.

Data Fuels Change

Meaningful data isn’t just a game changer. It can be a behavior changer for physicians and staff. Doctors are inherently high achievers and very competitive. They’re motivated by data and results. Sharing benchmark scorecards with physicians that compares their performances not only raises eyebrows, it can incentivize physicians to improve their scores. Using an online reputation management system that takes into account not only internal survey data, but also all online feedback, will allow them to analyze patients’ perception of their care and discover areas where they can improve. For the healthcare executive, patient experience insights and analysis are incredibly helpful to making informed decisions regarding organizational operations. Bottom line, a focus on monitoring and improving patient experience will not only build loyalty with your patients, it will also improve your online reputation.

Return on Engagement = Return on Investment

According to a recent study, healthcare organizations that earned “superior” patient experience ratings achieved a 50 percent higher net margin than those with “average” patient experience ratings. By fostering an atmosphere focused on value based care, organizations will see higher patient retention rates and increased revenue streams. An effective reputation management strategy is also particularly useful for increasing new patient acquisition by ensuring the reviews and ratings patients research to select their provider are robust and reflect the actual patient experience with that physician. By working together to provide quality service and attentive responses, an organization can help ensure a patient’s loyalty to a physician or hospital. Therefore, it’s especially important to equip your staff at all levels with the proper tools and training to provide the best patient experience.

Building and maintaining a positive online reputation has become vital in today’s healthcare industry. To stay competitive, hospitals and physicians will need to make a greater, concerted effort to manage their reputations, online and offline. The decision to invest in a platform that provides a single view into managing your online reputation across online reviews and surveys can help you gain the actionable insights needed to help improve the success of your practice or hospital.

Andrew Rainey is the Executive Vice President of Strategy & Corporate Development at Binary Fountain.