If you have an opinion but decide not to express it online, does it truly carry any significance?
We ask this in jest, of course, as sometimes it can seem we live in an era of extreme subjectivity. Through countless websites and apps, people are encouraged to share their personal experiences so often that it can be difficult to tell where opinion ends and objective, fact-based information begins.
Take online reviews, for example.
If you work as a physical, occupational or speech therapist at a skilled nursing facility (SNF), you may have wondered a time or two how well online reviews actually reflect the results that matter most to you and your rehab therapy patients. If your Yelp profile ranks high, is this indicative of high outcomes and low rehospitalization rates, or is it more a reflection of qualitative standards of personal preference – things like atmosphere or friendliness of the staff?
According to one 2020 study published in JAMA Network Open1, the answer appears to be both. And this, according to the study, can make online reviews a useful tool for hospitals, payers and patients seeking quality, local skilled nursing facility services, such as rehab therapy.
Therefore, it’s important that skilled nursing facilities continually strive to optimize their online reputations in order to stand out in competitive local and regional healthcare markets.
Does Online Reputation Truly Reflect Patient Outcomes?
In the study, researchers looked at the online Yelp reviews of more than 1,500 SNFs, then compared them with each facility’s rehospitalization rates to see if there was any correlation.
They found that while few reviews mention patient outcomes specifically, the SNFs with the best online ratings also saw an average of 2% lower rehospitalization rates compared to SNFs with lower online rankings.
This proved true even though reviewers tended to focus on issues and perceptions seemingly independent of outcomes – matters which often relate to patient engagement – such as personal comfort, the attitudes of staff, the quality of communication with caregivers, and so on.
And, as more engaged patients tend to realize more favorable rehab therapy outcomes, it should come as no surprise that patient engagement served as a common thread between both qualitative impressions and quantitative results.
Patient Engagement Matters
Patient engagement is defined as active involvement, positive behaviors, and feelings of commitment, connection and care by patients throughout their patient journey.
It begins with the ability of would-be patients and partners (i.e., hospitals) to be able to freely engage with and learn about your SNF brand online, and it continues through providing optimal experiences, quality of care, patient satisfaction, and ultimately better clinical outcomes.
Ideally, your patient engagement strategy will also include a plan for improving and managing your online reputation, or the cumulation of online patient feedback often represented as “star ratings” on Google, Yelp and other online directories.
As the study above shows, patients, hospitals and other entities are indeed paying attention to your online ratings. So, having a process for leveraging satisfied rehab therapy patients (and their loved ones) to improve your online reputation can help grow your facility over the long term.
Let Net Health Help You Improve Patient Engagement
If improved patient engagement and reputation management has long been on your SNF’s wish list, let our Net Health team guide you in the right direction.
Our Net Health Patient Engagement Marketing (PEM) solution offers your therapy rehab team a suite of tools that will allow you to automate reputation building, personalize patient communication, digitize the patient experience and advance patient outcomes. The long-term goal is to help your skilled nursing facility acquire new patients, satisfy existing patients, improve outcomes and boost revenue.
Our Patient Engagement Marketing tools integrate seamlessly with our EHR solution, Net Health Therapy for Skilled Nursing, allowing physical, occupational and speech therapists to engage with patients in an effective, efficient and secure way.
To learn about Net Health Patient Engagement Marketing for your skilled nursing facility, contact us today for a free demo.
Download the eBook:
4 Tips to Master Online Reviews
1 JAMA Network Open, “Association of Online Consumer Reviews of Skilled Nursing Facilities with Patient Rehospitalization Rate,” May 14, 2020