BHA - The Growing Importance of Online Reviews in Healthcare

Tuesday 31 July 2018 by Graciela Rojas

Online reviews are now a part of virtually all industries, from restaurants to retail and everything in between. It’s not surprising, then, that the healthcare industry is not immune to this growing trend. Whether you’re a small business or a large hospital system, online reviews are going to affect your reputation and ultimately your bottom line. In fact, nearly 80 percent of people of all ages now rely on online reviews and physician ratings before choosing a new doctor.

“Nearly 80 percent of people of all ages now rely on online reviews and physician ratings before choosing a new doctor.”

How Do Online Healthcare Reviews Work?

Just as a diner at a restaurant might log on to a review site and post his or her experience, whether positive or negative, to help other people make a decision about where to eat, so can a patient who’s seen a particular doctor or had a recent hospital stay. A patient might leave an online review outlining wonderful care, communication, and follow-up at this facility, while another may choose to leave comments about where the hospital or doctor’s office could improve.

Then, when other people who are looking for a new doctor need a little help making a decision, it’s now more likely than ever that they’ll look online to read these types of comments before making a choice.

“Young Millennials— aged 18 to 24—are more than twice as likely to trust the recommendations of others before choosing a new doctor than are people 55 and older.”

According to a 2015 survey, young Millennials— aged 18 to 24—are more than twice as likely to trust the recommendations of others before choosing a new doctor than are people 55 and older [2]. This shows a trend, especially in younger generations, to ask around and check online before making healthcare decisions—something that wasn’t necessarily available to past generations.

Benefits of Reviews and Honest Feedback from Patients

The idea behind online hospital reviews isn’t to create a stressful environment for healthcare workers. In fact, the goal is just the opposite. With honest, constructive feedback from patients, hospitals and its staff members can take the right steps to increase patient care and satisfaction. When patient satisfaction increases, the reputation of the hospital and physicians organically increase as well, which can ultimately lead to higher revenue and more new patients.

Another piece of the puzzle has to do with government funding for Medicare. The higher the patient satisfaction rating of a particular hospital, the higher the Medicare payment can be. Conversely, very low satisfaction ratings and complaints could cause a healthcare system to lose up to two percent of if its Medicare payments [3].

Finally, with large pools of data and feedback from patients, hospitals have the ability to adapt to changing healthcare needs and trends, build trust and lasting relationships with patients and their families, and continue to offer the highest level of care possible.

A patient's online journey when seeking a provider typically starts with a symptom — the patient will turn to a search engine, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo, or they might turn to a medical website, such as WebMD, for information on what they are feeling. The patient will decide if he or she needs treatment. From these searches, they might discover physicians who treat those symptoms.

Patients use provider information available online to vet potential physicians and decide with whom to schedule an appointment. The most important types of information patients want to know is whether a physician accepts their insurance, how highly he or she is rated, where he or she is located and what other patients say about him or her in their reviews.
The third step is the point of care. "The patient experience is no longer just about health outcomes". "There are many subcomponents that need to be understood and measured." For example, the friendliness of staff, wait times, convenience of parking and food selection can have a substantial influence on the overall patient experience, even though these things aren't directly related to medical care.

Patients' online reviews — whether negative or positive — are out there for the world to see, and their effect on other prospective patients' provider selection process should not be underestimated. Online reviews are no different than posting something on a billboard for millions of people to see".
It is important to understand that this journey is cyclical. Patients' experiences and the reviews they publish for others to read have far-reaching effects on patient acquisition because they continue to influence others as more people come across them during their own research. Therefore, it is imperative for healthcare organizations to ensure they are providing all of the information patients seek online, lest they risk losing out to competitors. This is how important for hospitals to have online exposure; Companies like Best Hospital Advisor provide an opportunity for international hospitals to increase exposure to medical travelers who seek to identify providers offering value for money and even local consumers who are shopping for care in a national context. These innovative tool have been developed by Crowd Ventures a healthcare startup which seeks to use the power of the “crowd” to empower consumers in the healthcare market,  BHA has a database of 8400 + providers around the world with consumer-based reviews, information on satisfaction surveys, quality data and additional information that patients can use in making healthcare decisions.

Every Medical Facility now gets searched online, as many patients and prospects base their choices on reviews. Since they make judgments based on what they discover online, it’s imperative to know what’s being said about you so that you can manage your online reputation. Even if you execute caution on what your online posts are, someone else may say something negative or unfair about you. Here are strategies on how to protect online reputation for doctors.

Optimizing Online Reviews of Your Facility

In order to improve online reviews, patient retention, and hospital overall reputation, it’s a wise strategy to make follow-up phone calls a standard practice. Since the facility can’t always tell if a patient will return, it’s helpful to find out after a visit what they thought about their experience. It gives the facility a chance to clear up any lingering questions or doubts they may have. Follow-ups can be effective ways to persuade negative patients to change their attitudes and even reviews about your service. 
Best Hospital Advisor which provides a transparent health care platform where consumers can access, provide feedback and engage in their own health
care decision-making  it’s a good tool for providers can continuously improve their strategies to provide quality care services.
Why using BHA?

BHA acts as a public portal that aims to empower consumers enhance
transparency and transform healthcare into a global marketplace.

Benefits for Patients by using BHA                        
·         Platform to evaluate international healthcare providers
·         Search by geographic area, specialty, procedure, international standards, etc.
·         Access to detailed hospital profile 
·         Access to medical service providers  ratings & reviews
·         Access to hospital  key process indicators
·         Access to patients satisfaction metrics
·         Direct communications channel with medical service providers

Benefits for Providers by using BHA
·         Global exposure platform to a worldwide audience of potential patients
·         Search by geographic area, specialty, procedure, international standards, etc.
·         Profile with detailed medical service provider information
·         Capability to request, capture and publish patient reviews in 65 specialties and 1,300 services
·         Capability to publish hospital  key process indicators
·         Dashboard to visualize and management of key process indicators
·         Dashboard to visualize and management of key process indicators

These days online reviews are very 
important to influencing others to consider a business. The goal of improving online reviews, patient retention, patient acquisition and customer satisfaction can be achieved with a Platform such as Best Hospital Advisor to evaluate international healthcare providers. Encouraging patients with incentives to post positive reviews adds to this winning strategy.

It is crucial to protect the online reputation as a doctor or medical provider since many patients now based decisions on online reviews.
For more information about BHA click here