The What, Why, and How of Requesting Healthcare Reviews

Clarissa DeCarlo

The strength of your healthcare organization’s reputation depends not on what you say but on what your patients say about you. According to a Reputation survey of consumers, online feedback is consistently among the top three factors influencing a person’s choice of a physician or hospital, along with in-network insurance coverage and proximity. Healthcare organizations can influence that feedback by asking for reviews, responding to them, and using them to improve. This blog post will show you how.

We’ll cover how to do that in the following sections:

Why Patient Reviews Are Important

Patient feedback from any review site is necessary for your business for several reasons. 

Reviews Influence Consumer Choice 

First off, reviews influence a person’s choice of a healthcare provider.  According to a recently conducted Reputation survey of consumers, 86% of patients say they read online reviews, and 60% read at least five reviews when researching providers.

It’s important that providers ask for reviews and respond to them. One of our clients that uses Reputation’s review requesting tool, Intermountain Healthcare, saw its positive review share increase from 78% to 88%,  and the client received 12,000 5-star ratings. Asking for feedback unlocks that silent majority of patients that had a great experience but wouldn’t otherwise have written a review. 

Positive Reviews Influence Your Visibility on Google

The more positive reviews you accumulate, the more visible your healthcare system is on Google. This matters because our recently conducted consumer survey showed that Google is the most popular source for searching for a physician or hospital (tied for first with insurance portals) – more popular than provider/physician websites, healthcare-specific sites such as WebMD and Healthgrades, or social media. Google played an even larger role in the search for immediate care.

Here’s what Google says about the role of reviews: “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility.” That’s because Google factors reviews into how prominent a location is on Google. As Google notes, one of the factors in determining a location’s prominence consists of ratings/reviews: “More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking.”Indeed, our own client experience bears out this advice. We pulled averaged data from five of our healthcare clients ranging in size to assess the impact review requesting had on visibility. We saw an average of 288% increase in business listing views and a 291% increase in listing actions 6 months after review requesting was launched.

Reviews Can Help You Improve

Reviews are also a valuable source of input to help you improve the quality of the patient experience across the entire patient journey, from the moment someone does research on care options to well after they receive care.

This is especially important at a time when the mentality of the industry is changing from patient volume to patient value. Amid the rise of value-based care, providers need to think about how they can attract and keep high-value patients. Managing feedback is the key. Leaders are engaging with customers across the customer journey, which starts with new patient acquisition and continues through to the return of loyal patients. Doing this achieves benefits ranging from improving retention rates to driving referrals.

Related:  How to Manage and Respond to Bad Online Healthcare Reviews

How to Request Patient Reviews

Patient reviews are massively important in healthcare, but they won’t stream in without effort on your part. Your team needs to have a strategy in place for asking for reviews. As we previously reported, here are five tips for requesting patient reviews:

  1. Ask for reviews on a regular cadence. The best way to get healthcare reviews is to ask for them regularly in a form that’s easy for reviewers to complete quickly. The easier it is to complete, the more likely your patients will do so. 
  2. Personalize your review request. Consumers in any industry appreciate a personalized touch. If your legal department allows it, make sure to add one to your online review requests. Adding in details such as the patient’s first name will go a long way. 
  3. Send your request out at an ideal time. Requesting a review at the wrong time can cost you that patient’s feedback. That’s why it’s vital to ask patients for reviews immediately after their visit to your hospital or clinic. The care experience will be fresh in their minds, making the patient more likely to respond with feedback. We’ve found there’s an increase of 8 to 10 percent in review responses toward the middle of the week. There’s also a 5-percent increase in responses in the morning hours compared to the afternoon.
  4. Follow up with patients who don’t respond. If your requests for reviews go unanswered, there’s no harm in sending a follow-up email. As we previously discussed, sending two follow-up review request emails improves your success rate without pestering your patients. With a second reminder email, we’ve seen click-through rates of 18% to 32%.
  5. Rely on an automated platform. Asking for reviews, responding to them, and learning from them is best done with the help of an automated platform that manages routine tasks and synthesizes review feedback through a user-friendly dashboard. This is especially true of any healthcare system with multiple locations and a large network of physicians.

Related: 3 Ways to Turn Patients into Digital Advocates

Best Practices for Requesting Healthcare Reviews

The idea of managing all that feedback can be intimidating, but there’s no need to do it on your own.

Reputation can help you leverage the customer feedback from reviews to improve patient satisfaction and the patient experience and create happier, more loyal customers.

Click here to learn more about our healthcare expertise

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