43% Of Patients Read 3 Or Less Online Reviews
After spending so many years in medical school and training to become the most skilled professional you can be, it’s safe to say that your professional reputation is important as it is one you’ll carry throughout your entire career.
As spending time on our mobile phones take up a larger portion of our personal life, more patients than ever before are going online to sites such as Healthgrades, RateMDs, Vitals and Yelp to evaluate a doctor, dentist and other healthcare practitioners.
It’s so important that you may already be investing in a reputation management program, actively monitoring your doctor review site profiles and soliciting new online reviews from patients. (If not, contact us!)
As online reviews continue to impact search engine rankings and whether or not a patient decides to schedule an appointment, we decided to learn more about the depth of which patients read online reviews.
So, our sister company, InboundMD, took to Twitter for a poll and, thanks to over 500 respondents, helped us learn something new!
How many online #patient #reviews do you read before choosing a new #doctor, #dentist or other #healthcare practitioner?
RepCheck places a lot of emphasis and importance on having great online reviews from patients, so we were curious as to how many of those hard earned reviews the average patient actually reads.
As it turns out, 43% of patients read less than 3 online reviews before making a decision about a new doctor, dentist, or healthcare provider.
— InboundMD (@InboundMD) April 4, 2017
43% of patients read 3 or less online reviews
These results were surprising, given the vast number of doctor review sites that exist. With over ten major, industry-specific review websites, one might assume that patients are going to much greater depths on these sites.
While the next biggest percentage of patients who responded, 23%, showed greater depth of research, reading over 10 reviews about a particular practitioner.
What does this mean for doctors, dentists, derms, and everyone in between?
First impressions matter.
You may think that, since not many people do too much research via reviews before making a decision, that this isn’t a serious problem. The opposite is in fact true. Since the majority of patients looking for a new health or medical professional are not reading a large number of reviews online, it’s important that the ones they will read are impactful.
As most doctor review websites show the most recent reviews left by patients, consistently soliciting new positive reviews from your patients after their visits is key in maintaining your reputation.
Remember, the best way to get rid of a negative review is with lots of new ones. So, you can also think of each new positive review as a buffer between your reputation and the occasional negative review that may come through. It seems like the best way to also get a new patient is to also have a constant stream of new positive reviews!
Focus your online review efforts where patients go first
Since most patients are not reading a many reviews, it makes sense to concentrate your efforts on where patients are going first: most often Google and Facebook.
For example, a quick Google search for your name and practice will bring up, the 3 reviews left on your Google My Business profile. Same thing with Facebook.
When patients use the Facebook Recommendations feature, their friends can recommend a new health or medical practitioner and embed their Facebook page in the comments. Doing this displays your image, page name, and you guessed it: your star rating.
So, while patients may not be reading tons of reviews, the ones they do see, matter.