Hospitals with good online reputations and positive provider reviews earned $1.2 million more in hospital revenue than bottom tier hospitals.
A good online reputation filled with positive online provider reviews could result in a healthier revenue stream, according to a recent report from Repuation.com.
The report, which analyzed online reviews for 4,800 hospitals across the country and their corresponding revenue reports, revealed that top-performing hospitals tended to have higher annual revenue.
The researchers specifically looked at hospitals with 10 or more Facebook or Google reviews, although they also included an analysis of reviews from other platforms including healthcare-specific websites. Online reputation also included factors such as online profiles, social media sentiment, and business listing accuracy.
The team then segmented hospitals into performance tiers. Hospitals ranking in the bottom 25 percent were considered low performers. Those in the middle 50 percent were categorized as medium tier, and the top 25 percent of hospitals were regarded as the top-performers.
The researchers found that those considered high performers were also the top earners in 2018, raking in an average of $5,591,593 in that year. Conversely, medium performers had revenue around $4,665,195 and the bottom tier generated $4,346,053 in revenue.
On average, top performers had revenue that was about $1.2 million more than the bottom 25 percent.
These findings come as more patients are accessing online provider reviews to make healthcare decisions. A 2018 survey from Software Advice revealed that 82 percent of patients use online provider reviews to make a decision about where to access healthcare.
Negative reviews can serve as a deterrent for many patients, regardless of other testimony or a referral from another clinician. Naturally, organizations with better online reviews will attract more clientele, leading to an uptick in revenue.
The report also provided insights about which social media websites matter the most when building an online reputation.
Overwhelmingly, Google emerged as the most influential online review website. Fifty-two percent of all online reviews live on Google, followed by 15 percent on Home Pages, 12 percent on Apple, 6 percent on Facebook, and 4 percent on Bing.
A negligible amount of reviews exists on the more healthcare-specific websites such as HealthGrades, WebMD, or Vitals.
These findings should suggest where organizations may focus their efforts in online review management, the report stated.
“Patient experience starts when a patient looks for a doctor or hospital online, and Google is the number one place being used to find healthcare information,” the authors recommended. “Combine that with the huge increase in online reviews on Google and you see how important a focus on Google is to a healthcare organization’s digital strategy.”
These findings reveal a somewhat changing tide. In 2016, 9 percent of patient reviews lived on HealthGrades, while only about 80 percent were on Google. That number has gone down for HealthGrades while it has increased for Google, showing that patients are opting for the more consumer-accessible platform.
And while patients are leaving both positive and negative reviews, it’s the vast number of negative reviews that may be troublesome for many organizations.
Patients are leaving negative reviews – most of which center on long wait times, billing issues, and outcomes – 40 percent of the time. While this is about equal in number as positive reviews, it far outweighs the occurrence of negative reviews in other industries.
Most positive reviews centered on bedside manner, nursing and staff quality, and other organizational amenities such as food or facility cleanliness.
Going forward, healthcare organizations should tend to these online profiles, ensuring that they are a positive reflection of the care they provide. Ensuring profiles have accurate and complete information will be the first step, but monitoring online provider reviews may be the next.
The jury is still out on the best ways to manage online reviews. While some experts, such as those at Repuation.com, assert that publicly addressing a comment can show practice improvement, others disagree.
Some organizations maintain a no contact rule for providers, delegating online reputation management to the marketing department to handle offline.
As the healthcare industry continues to adjust to online provider reviews and public patient satisfaction ratings, they may identify proven best practices for handling online provider reviews.
Date: March 22, 2019