The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed one of the most important elements of a practice’s value to its patients: trust.
Online, the currency of trust is medical practice reviews. With our many years of experience managing patient acquisition, we know that online reviews are one of the most trusted and frequently consulted sources for patients making an appointment with a new provider.
COVID-19 has also changed the way that patients are making and researching reviews for medical practices. Here are just a few of the ways we’ve seen reviews changing:
1. Hospitals are getting a lot more reviews.
It’s an axiom of medicine, but it’s really true: patients don’t receive medical care from buildings, brand names, or equipment — they receive care from doctors. In the past, patients would generally leave reviews for specific physicians but not as much for the facility or practice.
COVID-19 has changed this. Patients have all new (very understandable) concerns with the facility itself — is it being cleaned and managed well? Does the check-in process reflect best social distancing practices? Is the allied and auxiliary staff taking necessary precautions?
All of this means that the hospital or business operations have become more visible, and more important, to patients than ever before. And that’s being reflected in the number and types of reviews that patients are leaving.
For an example, compare these two reviews of the same facility. Can you tell which one was left in May 2020, and which was left in October 2019? Notice what the patients are focused on during each different time.
Cleanliness, organization, process, not keeping people waiting and exposed — these are the things that patients are going to be looking for in reviews right now.
Do the latest reviews of your practice reflect this commitment to patient safety?
2. Telehealth Experiences Drive Reviews
As practices increasingly offer telemedicine services, we are also seeing a lot of new mentions of the virtual consultations and visits come up in the patient reviews. Again, this is to be expected, as patients will always focus their review on the most notable parts of the visit.
Here is an example of a review of telehealth services: