Face time, compassion key in online doctor reviews, analysis finds
- Consumers are looking for a positive interaction with providers, just as much as a medical experience, a new analysis of nearly 7 million online patient reviews shows.
- More than half of patients cite compassion, comfort, patience, personality and bedside manner as factors important to their provider experience. Nearly a quarter (23%) mention knowledge, time, insurance, scheduling and communication, according to the Healthgrades/MGMA analysis released today.
- A key factor, and one that shows up in both positive and negative reviews, was time a provider spent with the patient. Patients see this as an indication of a provider’s willingness to answer questions, listen to concerns and ensure patients really understand their particular condition or procedure, the report says.
Patients are overwhelmingly positive in their comments. Close to 70% of provider ratings receive five stars, and just 22% get one star. The most oft-mentioned quality across all reviews is the patient’s interaction with their doctor’s staff.
When it comes to physician gender, there is little difference in ratings — though female patients are slightly more positive toward male doctors than male patients are toward female providers.
The findings underscore the importance of consumer-friendly initiatives and how they can affect a provider’s bottom line. With patient satisfaction increasingly playing a role in how doctors and hospitals get paid, providers need to pay attention to online comments and star ratings. Meanwhile, patients want to understand their care — a key element of value-based reimbursement models.
Patients also want to be heard and feel their doctors are responsive to their needs. And they will express their disapproval when they aren’t. In a recent study from UC Davis Health, patients whose specific requests were met rated their doctors 10 to 20 percentage points higher than when those requests were fulfilled.
Reputation management is not just about minimizing negative reviews, but increasing positive reviews. Higher click ratings can increase visibility in online searches and a provider with a higher-than-average rating is likely to generate more business.
Some providers are turning to technology to manage their online reputations. For example, Influence Health’s cloud-based platform trawls major review sites for reviews of a client organization’s providers and assigns a sentiment rating to each review.
“It allows them to be knowledgeable and take action and can also be useful in facility reviews to understand what can we do to improve patient care,” Garrett Thompson, vice president of client strategy at the Birmingham, Ala.-based company, told Healthcare Dive last summer.