In the past, people depended upon friendly recommendations and word of mouth when trying to choose the right doctor. Today, talking has turned to typing as online patient reviews are becoming the top way potential patients find a new practitioner. The good news for your practice is that you no longer have to wait to hear what is being said about it through the grapevine; instead, you can directly access the same patient reviews others are seeing and then incorporate those in your marketing strategy. And with the help of a new survey from reviews website, Software Advice you can see the individuals who use reviews when looking for a doctor, highlighting the importance of online review. This allows you to focus your attention on the exact information that matters to your patients.
Breaking Down the Importance of Online Review
1. Starting the Search
When it comes to searching for a new doctor, 62% of respondents in this 2013 study said that they begin by looking at the online reviews. Another 19% said they would turn to reviews to confirm the choice they were leaning towards. This adds up to over 80% of potential patients turning to online reviews to define or confirm their choice in a new practitioner. These numbers alone highlight the importance of online review and ensuring that your company can be found through them.
What to do about it: The most popular review site, according to the same study, is Healthgrades, and Yelp was listed as the most trusted. Starting with these sites, you want to make sure that your practice’s information is accurately represented. After all if no one can find you, they can’t leave a glowing review!
2. Narrowing Down the Information
Quality of care and patient standards topped the charts as the most important information patients looked for in reviews. Together, these made up 84% of the most sought after material. Within the practice, doctors’ experience and certifications stood out as the most important information for surveyed individuals. Other key information potential patients looked for included:
- Accuracy of diagnosis
- Wait times
- Payment and billing
- Staff friendliness
What to do about it: Again, you want to start by making sure information like doctor’s experience and billing information is clearly explained as part of your company’s internet marketing campaign. Then, pay attention to what your reviews are saying about these categories. By working to improve these specific areas, you stand to see the biggest change in your reviews and ratings.
3. The Increasing Impact
Although these statistics from those patients who use online reviews are helpful, the fact remains that their impact is limited by two significant numbers. First, with only 25% of patients reporting that they consult online reviews to research doctors, there is room to expand as the younger generation tends to be the one looking online. More importantly, right now, only 10% of patients surveyed say that they leave reviews about their doctors online.
What to do about it: It’s time to start incorporating these reviews in your internet marketing strategy. Ask patients to leave reviews, and offer incentives to further increase participation. You can even ask them to focus in particular on areas like quality of care or patient standards in order to achieve the highest impact.
Realizing and tapping in to the importance of online review is just one of many ways to help improve the online marketing strategy of your medical practice. For more ideas about inbound marketing and search engine optimization, contact Farotech today.