By Doug Cundiff, MPT, MPH, VP, ReDoc 360 Professional Services
Your rehab therapy clinic has blossomed from word-of-mouth recommendations, and your patients rave about your therapy program while they’re in your waiting room. But, what are people saying about your outpatient therapy program online?
A massive 80 percent of consumers have used the internet to make a healthcare-related search in the past year, and 60 percent have chosen one provider over another based on a positive online reputation.1 Your patients live online, and your digital presence can make or break whether they schedule an appointment with you, or favor a rival private practice or hospital outpatient program.
Let’s discover why an online reputation can be so influential.
What is Your Online Reputation?
Your online reputation is exactly what it sounds like: the overall opinion of your clinic on the internet. Reviews from dedicated third-party websites, social media, and chat interfaces build up over time. Then, channels such as search engines, maps, directories, and even voice search create new avenues for potential patients to discover your business. Your online reputation is a collective opinion formed through this directory of apps, from Google and Facebook to Yelp and Zocdoc.
Why is Your Online Reputation Important?
A positive online reputation is crucial for a plethora of reasons. For one, your online reputation acts as your first impression to new patients. Even with a strong referral from their primary care doctor, 81 percent of today’s consumers still go online to investigate a practice before making an appointment. If a provider has poor or weak reviews, 90 percent of consumers ultimately seek a new referral—all without ever even speaking to an outpatient program representative.2
Even more, a collection of negative reviews or poor commentary from previous patients can severely impact the number of new patient appointments, and 53 percent of consumers will likely change their minds about a provider with less than three stars.3 If you’ve never given much thought to your program’s approval rating online, now is the time to start.
Can You Manage Your Online Reputation?
While you can’t control what a patient says about your practice online, you can manage your online reputation. First, make it an objective to broaden your web presence. Expand on your current website, create a weekly blog, or routinely post on social media to create an online presence that can be controlled. This strategy can develop new channels for patients to discover and book appointments, as well as populate search results pages with branded, informative content about your business.
Similarly, set aside time each week to actively answer reviews—both good and bad. A whopping 82 percent of consumers ranked customer service as the most important factor influencing their loyalty to a provider.4 So, an outpatient program that answers patient concerns, apologizes for wait times, and thanks patients for their support is likely to outshine competitors.
How to Implement Reputation Management for a Rehab Therapy Outpatient Program
We’ve seen that when negative reviews get out of control, implementing a reputation management program can help.
Utilizing EMR software to target and segment patients is a good place to start. Create a list of recent patients and send automated emails with patient satisfaction surveys. Follow-up with patients who respond positively to the survey and ask them to leave a review on the website, Google, or Zocdoc. When patients respond negatively to the survey, send a follow-up email asking for suggestions for improvement. By getting ahead of reviews before a customer even leaves them, outpatient therapy programs can begin cleaning up their reputations in no time.
There’s never been a more important time to look good on the internet.
Learn how Net Health Therapy for Hospital Outpatient Clinics and Net Health Therapy for Private Practice can strengthen your online reputation to help new patients discover and choose your outpatient rehab therapy program.
About Doug Cundiff, MPT, MPH
Doug is currently VP of Net Health 360, Rehab Therapy. Responsibilities include helping clients leverage the features and benefits of the Net Health Therapy solution to demonstrate a balance of optimal financial performance and efficiencies with strong patient outcomes. By adopting this philosophy, outpatient therapy clinics become the clear choice for rehab therapy to their consumers, payers and referral sources. Prior to joining Net Health, Doug spent the past fourteen years with an orthopedic service line development company conducting strategic assessments and implementing best practice programs. Doug also has a clinical background as a physical therapist and over seven years of direct experience with a musculoskeletal service line organization for a large academic tertiary care hospital system.
1, 4. Doctor.com. (2018) Customer experience trends in healthcare. https://www.doctor.com/cxtrends2018
2-3. Doctor.com. (2018) Report: Customer Experience Trends in Healthcare 2018. https://cms.doctor.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/patienttrends_report_v1.4.pdf