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Providers need to turn bad reviews into positive change

The trend: Consumers are shopping online for healthcare providers. Their decisions are based at least in part on the reviews previous patients have posted. A new report from Reputation found that 86% of consumers said they read online patient reviews, up from 72% last year.

What providers need to know: Patient reviews are only as good as one’s reaction to them.

  • “Hospitals without active review request and response programs are wasting critical opportunities to engage with and learn from their patients,” Reputation CEO Joe Fuca said in a press release.
  • Even ChatGPT said the same when Reputation’s team asked how healthcare marketers could improve online ratings.

Who’s doing a good job? Reputation analyzed the 30 largest US health systems and ranked them on nine elements, including review sentiment, volume, recency, spread, length, and response. Here are the top 10, based on a top score of 1,000:

  1. Community Health Systems (726)
  2. HCA Healthcare (683)
  3. AdventHealth (678)
  4. Universal Health Services (671)
  5. Sutter Health (574)
  6. Baylor Scott & White Health (561)
  7. Ascension (548)
  8. University of Texas System (545)
  9. Tenet Healthcare Corporation (539)
  10. CommonSpirit Health (538)

Why they stood out: Patient reviews highlighted how much people on the front lines matter, from bedside manner to doctor competence. But they can also point out administrative errors and long wait times for appointments or ER treatment.

Reputation recommends that providers:

  • Improve the ER experience. Add waiting time amenities like Wi-Fi, and train staff on the importance of customer service.
  • Manage appointments more effectively. Pay close attention to requests in patient portals, and engage with patients who leave feedback.
  • Communicate value for care more effectively. Patients are less likely to complain about the cost if they feel they’ve received valuable care.
  • Request feedback consistently to increase the share of positive reviews. Asking for feedback prods many otherwise reticent patients to write a review.

Our take: It’s not just health systems that should have active request and response programs to engage with patients. All providers, from urgent care to retail health clinics, should solicit reviews from their customers—patients, caregivers, and families—and use those reviews for positive engagement externally as well as internally with staff.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.