Be proactive. You may know you’re a good physician and that your practice is a good practice that is helping people, but if you’re not doing anything to get those patients to share that experience for you, you’re missing a big opportunity. “This is part of keeping your practice’s reputation sterling and keeping your own reputation flawless—and really doing that job of promoting your practice by way of soliciting those reviews,” said Mikulski.
Explore this issue:January 2018
Just by taking an active stance in asking patients if they had a good experience and if they have any feedback, you are protecting your reputation.
Be strategic. Mikulski advises physicians to ask for feedback after a patient starts seeing results from a treatment plan, as opposed to just after the first visit. “When a sinus infection starts clearing up or after you do a surgical procedure and the patient starts healing and is nearing the end of their treatment cycle, that’s when you want to solicit their feedback,” she said.
Another tip from Mikulski is to focus on reviews that appear on the sites that really matter and have a big audience—think Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades.
It’s also important that you publish positive reviews on your practice website. “A lot of what happens in the consumer referral space is that consumers have learned to crowdsource everything in their lives,” said Pearson. “It’s no different with finding a doctor. People will ask friends, neighbors, [and] parents at their kids’ school, and then they take those names and go online to conduct research. If they get a referral to an otolaryngologist from a friend who said, ‘Dr. Jones was terrific when I had this vertigo issue,’ the next thing most people do is Google Dr. Jones. This is why the practice website is really important in providing reviews.”
Capitalize on your happy patients. Even though a bad review may stick in your craw, most of your patients are likely happy patients, and most online reviews are good. “People love to love their doctors,” said Pearson, adding that more than 80% of the seven million ratings on Healthgrades are positive. Generating enough feedback from all of your patients means that the one negative review you get once in a while will be buried in a flurry of good reviews and won’t be representative of your practice.
Use tools to boost reviews. Pearson said some review sites provide tools that otolaryngologists can use to obtain reviews from patients, including ways to integrate a quick link from your website to your profile on a review site. There are even reminder cards physicians can print out and hand to patients as they leave your office. Physicians Referral Marketing uses an online portal that contacts patients by text message or email asking whether their experience was good or bad. If the experience was good, the service pushes the patient to leave an online review. If the experience was bad, it directs the patient to a private portal where they can provide specific feedback.