Improving the patient and provider experience: getting results from reviews and feedback

Gone are the days when people waited for their insurance or other sources to tell them where to get healthcare. People today look for healthcare the same way they look for a restaurant — with online reviews. 

In a June Becker's Hospital Review webinar sponsored by Reputation, Tomi Galin, Executive Vice President for Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs at Franklin, Tenn.-headquartered Community Health Systems, and Annie Hafner Haarmann, Reputation's Head of Strategy for Healthcare and Life Sciences, discussed how embracing reviews and feedback in a quick, proactive manner can improve the employee and patient experience, as well as the healthcare organization's reputation.

Four key takeaways were:

  1. Healthcare is behind the curve when it comes to patient experience. Ms. Haarmann, citing a Kaufman Hall study, said that 73 percent of healthcare executives believe their digital offerings are lagging behind non-healthcare industries. Only 7 percent have dedicated resources for and a focus on building a consumer-centric infrastructure. "We know that this is a priority, but we're really struggling to deliver that right now as an industry," she said. 
  2. The feedback economy is a critical part of healthcare. Reputation analyzed nearly 3 million patient reviews across 200,000 U.S. physicians and locations. The company's report found that consumers' top three factors when selecting a physician were insurance, location and online ratings — outranking brand as a factor. "It tells us the same thing that most industries have already figured out," Ms. Haarmann said. "Your brand is not what you say it is; it's what your customers and employees say it is." A tip for healthcare leaders is to embrace the feedback economy.
  3. Embracing feedback is hard for some organizations to accept, but it shows major potential. After launching its program, Community Health Systems' ratings were going up, but "it was not generating a level of insight and overall organizational improvement," Ms. Galin said. After she escalated a particularly negative review to the system's CEO, a number of people quickly got involved and ultimately, it led to automated reporting to help share visibility and accountability.
  4. Google can be a more effective tool for conversions than your system's website. Reputation, which uses natural language processing in its technology to develop sophisticated "Reputation Scores," has found that physicians with higher Reputation Scores have 219 percent higher rates of conversions on their Google profiles, and healthcare facilities with higher scores have 838 percent higher conversion rates, making it a meaningful key performance indicator, Ms. Haarmann said. Since Google is the number-one site used by healthcare consumers, a tip is to optimize Google for access to care.

Four additional tips to help organizations make the most of the feedback economy:

  1. Get a complete picture. This complete picture combines an internal picture based on what patients and employees are willing to say to you, through tools like surveys, and an external picture of what patients and employees say about you, through social media and reviews.
  2. Listen. "You cannot listen hard enough, long enough or often enough to what your people are saying about the experience you provide," Ms. Galin said.
  3. Respond in a timely manner. "Today's patients expect the same kind of customer service they get from every other industry," Ms. Galin said.
  4. It's not just a marketing program. "It's really about creating a culture where feedback is important and where that data is shared widely and broadly," Ms. Galin said. 

Feedback matters now more than ever, whether it's from employees or consumers and patients. A high-quality partner like Reputation can help an organization boost its online reputation.

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