The Rise of Reviews in Healthcare

Searching for a restaurant through a service like Yelp is a common practice, but what about searching for a doctor? More and more patients are turning towards social-based reviews before choosing a healthcare provider.

On the flip side, healthcare systems argue that a site such as Yelp doesn’t verify if reviewers have even used healthcare services and provide public reviews from a small pool of people. However, prospective patients trust the reviews from independent sites such as Yelp over reviews on a provider’s website. So, what are we to do with this disconnect? 

If reviews from sites like Yelp, Google, and Healthgrades aren’t going to go away, providers need to learn how to work with the platforms that are the basis of patient decisions. How can providers take a tool they do not have control over and leverage it to build better services? First, let’s take a look at the importance in the rise of social-based reviews and how we can begin to bridge the gap between patient behaviors and provider feedback.

Patients drive the rise of reviews

A 2018 survey by Software Advice showed that 82% of patients consult online reviews when deciding on a healthcare provider. Since most patients are familiar with platforms like Yelp, Google or Healthgrades, they likely turn to these generic review sites first, despite knowing that anyone can write a review regardless of whether or not they actually experienced the service.

Many patients feel like clinician-specific surveys posted to the health system’s website only highlight what the clinic wants you to see. Therefore, despite the lack of regulation that providers would like to see, social-based reviews are here to stay.

Connection to patients is more likely to generate positive reviews

It doesn’t matter which type of data you are collecting or what review systems you are using, patients value their connectivity to their health care providers. That’s where GetWell Loop truly shines. With their automated communication systems, patients not only feel connected, but empowered.

This close relationship translates to positive reviews. In fact, 92% of patients who use GetWell Loop are “extremely likely” to recommend their physician to friends and family. Over two-thirds of HealthLoop users leave a positive review on social-based review sites like Healthgrades and Vitals. Why? Because staying connected matters.

Patients care about connectivity. Andrea Ducas, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program officer, states that the top five things patients care about are:

  1. Respect
  2. Accepts insurance
  3. Feels in control of decision-making
  4. Responsiveness
  5. Professional skill

When a patient is connected to their provider outside of the clinic, their needs feel met. With that extra boost of connectivity, patients have the ability to get inquiries answered quickly and can easily contact their provider in case of a serious issue. Ultimately patients feel respected, responded to, and in control with all of those resources at their fingertips. GetWell Loop satisfies most patient concerns and corresponding patient reviews reflect that.

Transparent, happy, and healthy

The rise of healthcare reviews, coupled with the patient’s need to feel connected, have created a more open dialogue between patients and providers. Although no one likes a negative review, the feedback is valuable when presented in the right matter.

Social reviews force providers to become more transparent, and that’s a good thing for healthcare. It drives progress, makes better doctors, and keeps patients healthy and happy. When a patient’s need for respect and control are met, that patient feels more connected to their provider.

With social-based review systems and app-based connectivity, the patient feels like they have more control over their health. In turn, this creates a more empowered patient. Empowered patients are going to feel more positive about their health episode and their provider. The patient need for transparency should be embraced by providers, knowing that it will result in a patient who has a lasting and positive view of their healthcare experience and is more inclined to share that view with others.

The rise of healthcare reviews is a complex topic. When healthcare providers respond to the needs in those reviews and give the patient the respect and connectivity they seek, the result is a happier, healthier patient. In the end, everybody wins.