When 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?
- Is your website senior-friendly?
- Are you monitoring your organization’s online reputation?
- Do you have a crisis communications plan?
- Are your branding messages in sync across service lines?
- Do you nurture prospective patients with marketing automation?
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.
Image via iHealthBeat.