Transparency in Healthcare is a Growing Trend
Transparency isn’t optional. Consumers are taking a more active role in their healthcare because there is more at stake: they’re facing higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. As a result, they’re researching healthcare options online, where they can easily find information about doctors and hospitals.
According to SoftwareAdvice, nearly 80 percent of consumers report using online reviews as a first step to seeking a provider, while 16 percent use them to validate the choice of a doctor they’ve chosen.1 Almost half (47 percent) would go out-of-network for a doctor who has more favorable reviews versus a similarly qualified in-network doctor.
Healthcare systems and physicians who are willing to share patient feedback are giving patients the information they’re looking for, while fostering a spirit of trust with patients and the community. That trust can strengthen the provider-patient relationship, leading to higher quality care.
One way providers can build trust and support transparency is to share their Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey scores. CAHPS surveys were designed to assess patients’ experiences with healthcare providers. Publishing CAHPS scores on physicians’ bio pages satisfies organizational initiatives around transparency and provides consumers a glimpse into patient experience.
“Nearly 80 percent of consumers report using online reviews as a first step to seeking a provider, while an additional 16 percent use them to validate the choice of a doctor they’re considering.”
Is CAHPS Enough?
CAHPS surveys weren’t designed to be a proxy for online reputation. CAHPS surveys are valuable in helping to determine clinical measures of quality that are publically reported and used to determine pay for performance, but they fall short in their ability to measure the entire patient experience — in particular, the aspects of care that extended beyond the patient-physician encounter, such as interactions with staff, access to the hospital and convenience.
And there are other drawbacks to only using CAHPS survey results to demonstrate care quality:
- Most CAHPS surveys are still conducted via live phone interviews or on paper. As such, they touch only a fraction of patients and they’re not timely.
- Physicians may receive feedback several weeks after the care is delivered, and are less likely to take any action.
- Response rates are less than 5 percent, making results inconclusive.
- CAHPS surveys are expensive to administer — the platforms are outdated and costly to use.
What’s more, posting high CAHPS scores could be considered self-serving, particularly if there is a major discrepancy between the scores and reviews left on third-party sites such as Google, Healthgrades, Vitals, or Facebook.
An inconsistency between CAHPS scores and online reviews could create doubt and distrust among potential patients. That’s why publishing CAHPS scores on your website is not enough — you should also manage and publish third-party reviews to provide consumers with the full picture.
Provide a 360-Degree View of Quality of Care
To provide an accurate, 360-degree view of the quality of care, physicians and healthcare systems are wise to pair online reviews with CAHPS scores on their web pages. Doing so adds credibility to the scores and provides potential patients with all the information they need to choose a provider in one place, including important factors not captured by CAHPS, such as convenience, staff interactions and access.
And it’s a two-way street: CAHPS scores provide a benchmark to evaluate the “fairness” of online reviews and whether they represent the average patient sentiment.
Publishing CAHPS scores and online reviews together on a doctor’s page puts into motion a virtuous cycle, leading to an uptick in positive reviews, higher overall ratings and an increase in patient satisfaction over time. Ultimately, this can lead to happy patients, new appointments, market share shifts and better financial outcomes.
“To increase the volume of reviews streaming to your site, implement a proactive and repeatable process for requesting reviews through email and text messaging, immediately following patient visits.”
Higher review volumes lead to better search engine rankings, as well. Reputation.com research revealed just 10 new reviews can move a business listing on Google from page two to page one. An additional 50 reviews can increase click-through rates by as much as 266 percent.
The Power of Patient Feedback
Data collected directly from patients can be extremely valuable. In fact, 35 percent of people use online reviews to choose a physician, and 37 percent have avoided a physician because of online reviews.2 A recent study reported 90 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 — millennials — said they would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks.3
35% of people use online reviews to choose a physician
37% have avoided a physician because of online reviews
Streaming Doctor Reviews Made Simple with Reputation.com
Online Reputation Management strategies are ideal for supporting this approach. Reputation.com can stream third-party reviews from Google and other popular review sites to a provider’s website and display them in a manner compliant with Google’s current guidance. Reputation.com can moderate comments and filter out Protected Health Information (PHI) and profanity, to comply with HIPAA, as well.
Today’s consumers — especially the 91 million millennials potentially seeking a healthcare provider4 — turn to Google and Facebook for information about doctors and healthcare systems. Often, they don’t ever look at your CAHPS survey results. They’re savvy and discerning, and they put great stock in the opinions of your past patients.
Attracting Patients in a Digital World
Using proven Online Reputation Management techniques and strategies, Reputation.com enables health systems a comprehensive understanding of the patient experience, combining data from CAHPS survey results and online patient reviews to inform and attract patients looking for care.
For more information or a demo, visit www.reputation.com.