Studies have shown that a majority of patients are now using online reviews as a first step to finding a new doctor, and nearly 65% of people form an opinion by reading anywhere from one to six reviews.
Further reading: How do physicians care for the digitally isolated?
According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey, 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business if asked, so encouraging patients to leave positive reviews for a practice not only helps to build a solid reputation, but also helps to buffer the occasional negative review.
That’s why it is absolutely essential that doctors strengthen their online reputation.
“Doctors need to get proactive in asking their patients for feedback,” says Matt Buder Shapiro, co-founder and chief marking officer of New York-based patient relationship startup, MedPilot. “In order to increase the chances of receiving feedback, you need to directly ask for it, either in person at the end of a visit or digitally through email/[text message]. Encouraging feedback in general, and not just pleading for good reviews, will make patients much more likely to oblige.”
Janice Johnston, MD, a primary care physician at Arrowhead Health Centers in Glendale, Arizona, says when wrapping up the appointment, she simply asks the patient to leave a short testimonial or review on one of her online review sites.
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“When a patient is a promoter of the practice and has an amazing story to tell, we ask if they would mind sharing on social media, and they usually are very willing to do so,” she says. “Having positive reviews and a presence on the web definitely helps when patients are searching for a new provider, especially for Millennials. We all feel better when we have a good connection, and social media and reviews can give a good indication of confidence and the ability to connect.”