More patients are turning to online resources to find information about health conditions and healthcare providers before making an appointment. In 2014, 88 percent of consumers said they trusted online reviews as much as they trusted personal recommendations, according to the BrightLocal’s yearly Consumer Review Survey.
It’s more important than ever to establish your practice’s online presence and build a positive online reputation.
Once your practice establishes an online presence, it’s imperative to:
- 1. Develop a strong online reputation by acquiring new positive review
- 2. Monitor profiles by keeping a record of reviews and sentimen
- 3. Respond appropriately to positive and negative review
- 4. Report duplicate profile
- 5. Contest inaccurate and duplicate review
Managing Online Reviews with Binary Fountain
Closing the Loop
- Upon receiving a review, you will receive an email alert from Binary Fountain.
- For negative reviews only, click the link on the email alert that says “Associated Ta” This will direct you to the Binary Fountain dashboard, where you will log in.
- Click “Remember Me” to avoid having to log in in the future. Your account manager will provide you with your dashboard login information.
- To Close the Loop, select one of the three options:
- Respond online: Respond to the review online when appropriate. This can be done through the dashboard for Google My Business, Yelp and Vitals reviews. Select through which account you are responding, type your response and click “Update and Close.”
- Respond offline: Select this option when following up offline via phone or in-person is the best course of action (for example, a volatile situation that may snowball into an argument online). Type any comments you would like to leave and click “Update and Close.”
- No follow up required: This is used in circumstances when it is not appropriate to respond to a review or follow-up with the patient offline. It can also be used to denote when a Vitals review is hidden or when a review on Google or Yelp is contested. Additionally, sites not claimed through PMP and Healthgrades do not require an online response. Simply leave your comment and click “Update and Close.”
- Once you have updated and closed the loop, the task is complete. If a negative review is not closed out after three days, a reminder is sent to the practice manager and all day 1 contacts. After this, it follows this general escalation path*:
Extremely Negative Reviews
Practice Manager/Area Manager/Division Leadership
*Contacts vary by division. Please contact your account manager for a more detailed escalation contact list.
Note that extremely negative reviews (those with keywords such as malpractice, sue, lawyer, media) are escalated on an accelerated timeline. This is due to the time-sensitive nature of these reviews and will be noted in the subject line of the review.
Responding to Reviews Online
Responding to reviews, especially when they are negative, can help rebuild a relationship with an unhappy patient and show prospective patients the practice is willing to listen to complaints and fix issues brought to their attention.
When and how should you respond to positive reviews?
Respond to positive reviews. (Note: It is not mandatory to Close the Loop for positive reviews)
Keep responses to positive reviews short and simple. Feel free to use the responses listed below or create your own.
- Thank you for the feedback.
- We appreciate your kind words.
When and how should you respond to negative reviews?
Respond to negative reviews about things that can be changed or about the patient’s overall experience.
- The receptionist is always rude when I call to make an appointment.
- I had blood tests done two months ago and still haven’t received the results. I’ve called five times and no one has called me back.
Don’t respond to reviews about medical issues out of the physician’s control or negative reviews that do not provide a reason for the complaint.
- I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks. I blame the physician. He ran tests, but couldn’t determine why I lost my baby.
- The doctor is horrible.
Don’t respond to exaggerated or unrealistic reviews.
- I would rather see a vet than this doctor.
- I specifically asked for Dilaudid or Vicodin, but the doctor told me those pain medications were too strong to treat my pain. What a jerk!
When responding to negative reviews, take responsibility, apologize, tell the patient the practice will try to improve and, if necessary, ask the patient to call the practice to discuss the complaint further.
Feel free to use one of the responses below or create a unique response. For assistance responding to negative reviews, contact your reputation management account manager.
- We are truly sorry. We strive to treat all patients like family. Please call our office, so we can discuss this review in more detail.
- We are sorry to see reviews like this. We strive to provide all of our patients with excellent service and will work to improve our customer service at the front desk.
- We are always sad to hear someone had trouble reaching our office. We want all of our patients to be able to communicate with our office easily, so we will re- examine our phone procedures.
- Please refer to the Sample Review Response toolkit for more customizable review responses.
The Privacy Rule in The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects all "individually identifiable health information,” including:
- the patient’s physical or mental health
- information that identifies a patient or could potentially identify the patient
When responding to online comments, remember to follow HIPAA guidelines and:
- Respond in generalizations, such as “We strive to deliver quality care to all patients.”
- Never use patient names in a response, even if they identify themselves in the comment.
- Take the conversation offline by asking patients to call your office if you need to discuss the review further.
Contest duplicate & inaccurate reviews
Duplicate and inaccurate reviews can affect a physician’s and practice’s average star rating. It’s crucial to report all duplicate and inaccurate reviews as soon as possible.
Is this a duplicate review?
Sometimes duplicate reviews don’t match word-for-word or have different dates. If you reasonably believe the review is a duplicate, contest it.
Is this review inaccurate?
A review is inaccurate if it:
- is about another practice or a physician at another practice
- is about a physician who is no longer at the practice
- blames a physician for medical issues out of his/her control
Examples of inaccurate reviews:
- An OB/GYN office receives a review from a patient who is dissatisfied with his colonoscopy.
- A physician has left your practice, but there are reviews that mention the physicians by name on Yelp or Google My Business.
- A patient leaves a negative review for Dr. John Smith is, but it’s left on the profile of Dr. Jane Doe.
- A patient leaves a review saying a physician caused her to have a miscarriage in the first trimester of her pregnancy.
Acquiring New Positive Reviews
- Verify your information
Make sure information is correct on your profiles so patients know they are viewing and reviewing the correct practice.
- Tell patients about your practice’s and physicians’ online presence.
The Corporate Affairs Reputation Management Team can provide practices with files for customized promotional materials to promote online review and social media sites.
- Develop a plan to ask for patient reviews.
Receptionists, medical office coordinators, nurses, physicians and anyone who interacts with patients as part of their job can easily take a few minutes to ask for an online review.
Here are some examples of the best ways to ask for an online review: Front desk staff, checking in a patient
Receptionist: Good morning. May I have your name, so I can check you in for your appointment?
Patient: It’s Jane Doe.
Receptionist: I see you have an appointment with Dr. Smith. We really appreciate hearing feedback from our patients. After your visit, please let us know about your experience by leaving an online review. Here is a flyer that will explain how to find Dr. Smith’s profile.
Front desk staff checking out a patient
Receptionist: Hello. How was your visit?
Receptionist: Glad to hear that. We’d really appreciate if you would share your feedback on our practice’s Google My Business profile. Your review helps others learn about our practice. Here is a flyer with a link to our Google profile.
A physician or nurse at the end of an appointment
Physician: Do you have any other questions?
Patient: No. I think I’m all set.
Physician: Great. Thanks for coming to see me. If you don’t mind, I’d really appreciate if you would leave a review on my profile on Vitals. It’s a review site for physicians. Here is a flyer that explains how to find my Vitals profile.
Patient: This office is really fantastic. I know I always receive the best care.
Nurse: I’m glad our practice meets your expectations. Would you mind sharing your thoughts about our practice on our Google My Business profile? Here is a flyer that explains how to find our profile.
Only ask a patient to leave a review on one site, so they are not overwhelmed with options.
- Send an email marketing campaign.
Include links to your online profiles in your eNewsletter and ask patients to share their experience.
- Create a friendly competition.
Give a prize to the person in your office who has the most positive mentions on review sites or set monthly goals and have an office-wide celebration when those goals are met. This will encourage your entire office to work toward improving your online reputation.
- Don’t write fake reviews.
Review sites use technology to identify fake reviews. If a site believes your practice is writing fake reviews, they may shut down your profile. Practices can also be fined large amounts for writing fake reviews because it’s a form of false advertising.
Employees should not write reviews, even if they are patients at the practice because it’s against the terms and conditions of most review sites.
If you have any questions about how to manage your online reputation, please contact your Corporate Affairs Reputation Management Team.