Physicians can ill-afford to ignore what patients are writing about them online. But the simple fact is – constantly monitoring rating and review websites can consume a lot of your already limited time and energy. Some physicians might be panicky that they will confront adverse comments about their practice and hence shun rating websites.
But experts suggest that physicians should be aware of the online ratings and reviews from patients to correct themselves. Continually ignoring rating websites can spell disaster in the long run. The more aware you are of what patients are writing about you, the more able you will be to improve your online reputation.
Surveys reveal that 50 percent of new patients point to online reviews and rating sites, such as Yelp and ZocDoc, as their referral sources. Thus, it is clear that online ratings and reviews are playing a bigger role in your ability to attract new patients.
Again, surveys reveal that 56 percent of patients considered online ratings as important when choosing a new doctor; and nearly 25 percent had actively sought out physician ratings when choosing their primary-care physicians.
Another survey, conducted by healthcare technology company Digital Assent in 2013, found that 72 percent of 341 respondents said that adverse reviews would forbid them from consulting a particular doctor.
Given the growing popularity of online ratings and reviews of physicians, it’s time doctors took a more active role in managing their online reputation. Make sure the first impression you give online is just as excellent as the one you may give in person.
Of course, there is a general complaint from the medical fraternity. They claim that these ratings are subjective and largely based on measures not directly in the doctor’s control! For instance, patients are asked to rate doctors on many nonclinical criteria such as waiting time, behavior of paramedical staff, rapport, and patient satisfaction.
Physicians will have to necessarily pay attention to rating sites as any low rating would mean patients will turn away. Web-based physician-rating sites are rapidly expanding in number and scope.
Web-based physician-rating sites should be seen as part of a paradigm shift in the relationship between physicians and patients. In the present era of consumerism, doctors are removed fro their high pedestal, and power has shifted to the hands of the patients