How healthcare providers are managing their digital reputations

Nearly half of healthcare providers aren’t sure how to manage their reputation online, but more than 75% are worried about receiving negative reviews from patients, according to a recent survey.

The survey, from PatientPop, found that more providers are looking for ways to manage their online reputation, where many patients and consumers look for reviews to make decisions about which providers they see. Nearly 60% of patients said online reviews affect their decision in choosing a healthcare provider.

Compared to 2018, more providers are doing more to manage their online presence, but nearly 45% don’t regularly check online reviews of their practice. More than 40% of providers also said they were very or extremely concerned about negative online reviews.

“If consumerization is ultimately about patient choice, then private practices help meet that need,” said PatientPop co-founders and CEOs Luke Kervin and Travis Schneider. “But securing a place in the market requires an online presence and reputation that resonates and connects with patients.”

PatientPop’s second online reputation management survey queried 233 providers about how they manage their online reputation and how they connect with patients.

The majority of doctors are concerned about a couple main websites, including reviews on Google and Yelp, the survey found. Fortunately, many providers are responding to patients digitally and connecting online. More than 50% of providers said they spend at least 10 hours per week on patient-focused administrative work, including scheduling and confirming appointments and returning patient phone calls and emails. More than one-third said they spend more than 30 hours per week on this work.

Over the last year, there has also been a significant rise in interest among providers to engage with their online reputation. Year over year, the portion of providers that said they knew how to manage their online reputation rose 17.5%.

While many still don’t know how to become engaged in their online presence, there are several ways for providers to start managing their reputation, beginning with asking for patient feedback. In addition, providers should be monitoring online reviews of their practice, PatientPop urged.

Monitoring reviews gives providers a chance to respond to negative responses from patients and improve the patient experience. However, providers are mostly split on whether or not they have a monitoring process for reviews. Another 21% of providers are not concerned about negative online reviews at all.

More than half of providers that don’t respond to negative reviews online do so because they don’t think it will make a difference. Another 46% are worried about HIPAA compliance issues online and many also don’t think they have the time to respond.