Healthcare Consumerism Is Here to Stay

What Does it Mean for You?

15 years ago, the consumer experience meant long wait times and long hold times. And possibly worse, listening to irritating hold music with no opt-out option.

That was before email, live chat, same-day or same-hour delivery of millions of physical and digital products, services and experiences to your home, office or place of consumption. There’s an app for almost everything. A reported 74% of adults ages 55 and older own a smartphone. So, the rise of healthcare consumerism is a natural evolution; and now an accelerated behavior. Why should you care? Patients have more choices than ever and they trust reviews.

What’s the Impact of Reviews?

Based on the technical adoption, it’s not surprising that most patients trust third-party physician rating websites to provide reviews. More consumers turn to third-party sites than surveys done by providers or health systems directly.

Patients Trust Reviews. Digital savvy patients seek information online and they trust reviews:

  • 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians.

  • 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

  • 77% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor.
    Sources: https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/, https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/how-patients-use-online-reviews/

FACT: 64% OF CONSUMERS WANT AT LEAST A 4/5 STAR PROVIDER RATING; 25% WANT 5/5 STAR RATING. THE NUMBER OF RATINGS OUTWEIGHS THE STARS. GENERATING REVIEWS IS essential.

The concept of patient reviews can create uncertainty for a provider. The most common question: “What if a review is inaccurate?”

  • 78% of physicians believe posting narrative comments online would increase job stress.
  • 46% perceived a negative effect on the physician–patient relationship.
    Source: The Journal of General Internal Medicine

Fact: Patient feedback is one of the best ways to get a 360-degree view of the quality of services you provide and uncover opportunities for improvement.

What Can Providers Do?

Embrace the trend. Actively encourage and cultivate reviews. In a digital environment where patients seek authenticity, reviews play a crucial role in patient engagement.

Take advantage of new opportunities. The demand for telehealth surged out of necessity. But patients will request it as a preferred choice option. Sending out patient surveys after every telehealth encounter provides an opportunity to understand what patients like and don’t like about virtual care, leading to adaptation.

Fact: Improved patient engagement leads to better retention and outcome

Incorporate consumer reviews into your workflow. Move away from the mindset of “I don’t have time.” Instead, establish a program to assign monitoring and engagement to staff or agency partners. Utilize reviews as a lead generation pathway that will give you a competitive advantage.

What You Don’t Know May Hurt You

The rise of consumerism in healthcare is a tremendous opportunity and should be viewed as a way to maintain growth. If you don’t have a strategy in place to encourage and manage reviews, you are missing out on lead generation opportunities and potentially taking a risk on how negative feedback will impact your organization.

Contact Bluespire to see how our healthcare strategists can help you develop a patient engagement approach that will give you a competitive advantage.

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