Practices Should Care About Reputation Management


The Internet has had a profound effect on patient care as well as how patients find out about their conditions and where to find the “best” doctor in their area for their treatment.


For example, a social media group connected liver transplant patients to other patients as well as healthcare providers1, and more than 95 percent of the patients in this closed group believe their engagement online had a positive influence on the treatment.

Patients are also told how to search for physicians2 - by going online to check ranking lists that are done by regional and city magazines, seeking out family and friends for recommendations and reading online doctor reviews. The well-developed articles remind patients to take those online reviews with a grain of salt, but not every person looking at reviews understands their complexity, as it’s often the unsatisfied customer who posts online, not the truly satisfied.

CMS has launched a Physician Compare website, listing physicians and clinicians enrolled in Medicare, for patients to make informed decisions about their healthcare. CMS expects to update the site twice a month and will provide information on:

• Quality activity participation
• Performance (based on PQRS and MIPS participation) – with star ratings in this category
• Patient survey scores from the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS)

With the complexity of the CMS scoring system, patients may not understand why a provider did not submit data or if data was submitted, what is entailed with a “quality” score. Patients may assume that scores are an indication of the quality of care given by a provider.

Practices should also be checking websites like HealthGrades, Yelp, ZocDoc, etc. to keep track of their online ratings and reviews. Where rankings are low or reviews are negative, practices are at risk for fewer referrals or new patients, especially when it is believed that more than 70 percent of new patients will use an online review as a first step3 in finding a provider.

Reputation management is critical for physician practices. Providers should look at the ‘opportunities’ to improve their online reputation through optimizing and improving their patients’ journey, especially as patients gain more influence in provider choice.

Additional links:

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