- Patients like when their doctors respond directly to the bad reviews they post online, nearly doubling patient satisfaction rates and dropping the rate of dissatisfaction by as much as 59%, according to a survey from a practice management software company.
- Patientpop surveyed 839 patients on their experiences with online reviews. Most (75%) have gone online to get information for choosing a doctor, and patients age 30-44 (86%) are the most active users in that category. The majority (65%) of that age group checks reviews and 40% said they post their own.
- Google was the most popular website for posting reviews among those surveyed, followed by the practice's site, Yelp and Facebook. Most patients (52%) who said they wrote a negative review online said they were never been contacted by that practice to address their concerns.
Physicians aren't wild about online reviews, especially when they're made by anonymous accounts. Patient-posted ratings and reviews can have an effect on a practice's bottom line and public perception — enough to deter potential new patients, experts say.
And more Americans are deciding to post their opinions of doctor performance, according to online reputation management firm Binary Fountain. Its recent survey found that 51% of respondents said they share their personal medical experience through social media or online review sites — up 65% from a year earlier.
Online reviews can be a useful tool for doctors who to want to get a gauge on what their patients think of them and how they interpret their advice.
A Penn Medicine study published in February found "told" was the most common word associated with negative hospital reviews online. The study's authors said the findings highlight the need for providers to use caring language when delivering care. "Great" and "friendly" topped the list of frequent words used in positive reviews.
Those are the words providers like Intermountain and Geisinger are hoping their patients see. The health systems have continued their practice of posting experiences with hospital clinicians online — whether good or bad — in an effort to increase transparency, move away from relying on CMS' troubled star rating system and to help physicians know what patients think of them. At Geisinger, those who are unhappy with the care they received can request refunds for as much as $2,000.
Yevgeniy Feyman, coauthor of the Manhattan Institute report Yelp for Health, said at Health Datapalooza last year providers should be more responsive to patients posting about their experiences online. "We're moving to a health system where patient ratings are becoming more important, where top down ratings are really inaccessible to patients and probably not that useful," he said.