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Doctors, Hospitals Lead Online Reviews of Healthcare Services

By | May 30, 2013

PwC healthcare service reviewsWhen consumers want to know more about healthcare services through online reviews, doctors and hospitals are the most popular by a wide margin, according to new data from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute (via iHealthBeat). 31% and 28% of U.S. consumers have read online reviews of doctors and hospitals, respectively. Additionally, 13% have written a doctor review while 14% have written a hospital review. This November study should serve as a reminder that healthcare consumers not only follow hospitals on social media, but also review both hospitals and doctors online. Furthermore, for hospitals, being proactive is preferable to being reactive (or remiss) in monitoring and/or addressing negative reviews.

So, whether they care to address the matter or not, doctors and hospitals are favored candidates for opinion-sharing of the healthcare customer experience. And in an increasingly consumer-driven healthcare environment, provider reputation will play a larger role.

In an online world, reputation is largely created on the Web. If doctor/hospital reputations (or at least first impressions from patients in research mode) are primarily defined by the Web, then hospital websites, social profiles and reviews stand to influence consumers. Just like cost, reputation matters to discriminating patients. Plus, given the current state of the insurance industry, consumer choice will only grow in prominence. Consider: Does your hospital embrace consumer choice by making it easy for patients to find the information they seek?

As far as other healthcare services getting reviewed, insurers and pharmacies are a distant second, with only 16% and 12%, respectively, having read an online review (each had 5% for having written an online review). The message is clear: Doctor and hospital reviews are in the sights of discriminating consumers.

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Image via iHealthBeat.

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About Paul Richlovsky

Paul brings a writing and teaching background to his marketing career, where he's been happily active since 2006. After spending his early years serving clients as a Web copywriter and account manager, he currently leads Fathom's own content strategy in collaboration with sales, marketing and others across the company. He is an enthusiastic marketing automation practitioner and active member of the Cleveland Marketo User Group. He also serves as editorial director of Fathom's website and blog and has written/edited multiple guides on marketing, including for audiences in healthcare, higher education, financial services, retail and manufacturing. He previously was lead blogger and managing editor for YouShouldGoToSchool, a resource for individuals interested in career-focused education. With a BA in English from the College of Wooster, he is also the author of a collection of poetry, "Under the Lunar Neon." He is particularly interested in usability, readability, ballroom dancing, bachata, racquet sports, and romping with his niece/nephews.

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