The Internet is an influential global network that provides seemingly limitless information at users’ fingertips. A 2013 PewResearch report found 72% of adult Internet users have looked online for health information. From searching for facts on various conditions and treatments to seeking emotional support for a chronic medical illness, patients no longer rely on information and recommendations from their personal social circle to help make informed medical decisions.
What’s more, online health seekers use the testimonials and reviews of others to help guide their decision in choosing a new doctor. In fact, 88% of Internet users have been influenced by online reviews in making a buying decision, according to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research.
As an integrative practitioner, your services and expertise are unique – reviews and testimonials are integral to your success to help differentiate you from other practitioners in your area and to highlight your elevated patient care. By proactively asking your patients to review your services and your practice online and provide short statements that you can add to your own website, you take control of your online reputation and increase your visibility with potential patients.
Here’s an easy-to-follow 5-step method to acquire more testimonials and reviews for your medical practice.
1. Set-up online review profiles
Setting up or claiming profiles on popular review websites not only makes it easier to respond to reviews when you receive them but also ensures your practice’s contact information is accurate and accessible. The top online review websites for physicians you should consider include:
Designate an office member to create, continually monitor and respond to both positive and negative online reviews.
2. Identify satisfied patients
Turn verbal praise in an appointment to written praise online. Look for patients who have had measurable or substantial success by following your established treatment plan. Identify cues during your visits with patients that indicate their gratitude for your care. Typically, it is the patients that you have established a strong relationship with that are most willing and eager to share their experience online.
3. Ask at the right time
Once you identify a patient who has had a positive experience under your care, do not wait to ask for a review. The best time to ask is immediately after a patient expresses contentment or experiences an improved health status. It is important that you, the practitioner, asks your patient for a review in person. Asking for a review or testimonial via email or by an office member with an unestablished relationship with your patient can make the request appear insincere or promotional. It can also decrease the likelihood that the patient will follow-through with the request.
4. Streamline the review process
Make the review writing process quick and free of complications. To accomplish this, establish protocols that your staff can use consistently:
- Create instructions for the review submission process and upload them into the P2P patient portal.
- Send an email to your patient with a link to the patient portal with the review submission instructions.
- For an online review, include a link to the review website with steps to create an account and post a review.
- For a short statement (testimonial) for your practice’s website, provide a form or list of questions to help guide patient feedback. In addition, be sure to include any necessary disclosure information required by your state.
- Once a patient agrees to write an online review, ask for an email address and have an office member send the instructional email to your patient the same day. Here’s a useful email template your staff can utilize to send patients the testimonial instructions.
- If a review or testimonial is not submitted within a week, send a follow-up email reminder to your patient.
5. Show your gratitude
Writing an online review is one of the best compliments your patients can give. It is important to thank patients for their valuable reviews, which in turn helps to solidify your relationship. Send a personal email or hand-written thank you card to show your appreciation, or add a note to the patient chart to remind you to thank them in person at their next appointment.
A positive online review or strong patient testimonial could mean the difference between a booked first appointment and an Internet user electing another practitioner in your area. Remember, your online reputation matters! Use these 5 simple steps to begin building your reputation today.
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