While we teach our kids not to worry about what other people think, that advice is sadly not applicable when it comes to running a private practice therapy business. With increasing competition, industry transparency taking center stage, and the world continuing to become more digital, our online reputations couldn’t be more vital to our success and future abilities to deliver top-notch care.
Patient Fear Means Reduced Demand
An unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) is more individuals are opting out of medical care in response to fears of catching the virus. A recent poll released by the American Heart Association (AHA) found that more than 1 in 4 adults experiencing a heart attack would “rather stay at home than risk getting infected with COVID-19” seeking treatment.1 And while we don’t treat heart attacks, if people are willing to forego treatment for something that serious, we can surely deduce they’re opting out of therapy and rehabilitation for the same reasons.
Fewer patients seeking treatment means competition to earn that limited business is going up. And with 80% of consumers going online first to evaluate a provider2—connecting the dots on how our online reputations fit into this equation is clear.
Launch of Care Compare (CCXP)
At the end of last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched an online tool that allows the public to compare medical providers of all different types on several functional outcomes, including changes in self-care, changes in mobility, discharge self-care score, and discharge mobility score. Known as Care Compare (CCXP)3, the tool aims to empower consumers to make more informed decisions about who they’d like to use for treatment.
What this means is that our online reputations aren’t just about the satisfaction of our patients anymore. CMS is adding quantifiable data to the equation based on functional outcomes and making it readily available to consumers online.
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The Power of a Positive Online Reputation
A strong online reputation can do a lot. Not only can it help generate new business, but it can generate referrals, simplify the sales process for staff, and breed better patients more inclined to trust your expertise. Additionally, it can help with recruiting top-level talent, as people want to work somewhere they can be proud of.
Equipped with the knowledge of the great benefits a positive online reputation brings to the table, what’s the first step to put this information to work? The first step is finding out where you are currently. From there, you can forward plan, correct inaccuracies, and ensure that your digital presence matches the true quality of your operations.
If you’d like to find out where your private practice stands, we’d encourage you to take advantage of our free marketing audit, a powerful tool that looks at more than 80 online directories and review sites.
Additionally, if you’re interested in more strategies to navigate the PHE, you can check out our free e-book— How Your Private Practice Can Thrive in a Pandemic.
How Your Private Practice Can Thrive in a Pandemic
Suggestions for Rehab Therapists to Proactively Plan for the Future
1. American Heart Association, https://californiahealthline.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/07/DDoD-Campaign-Research-_Updated-072320.pdf, July 2020.
3. CMS, https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-care-compare-empowers-patients-when-making-important-health-care-decisions, September 2020.