Online Reviews Impact Your Dental Practice

Thanks to the internet, patients have become more empowered and take more active roles in managing their own health. As such, they have become highly selective and more scrutinizing and are increasingly turning to online reviews in evaluating and choosing their new doctors.

Software Advice, a company that reviews and publishes research on medical software, recently released a survey 2013 IndustryView Report revealing a significant number of patients using online reviews. They surveyed 4,515 patients in the US to find out who uses online reviews to research doctors, when they use them, and what they look for.

Key Findings
How are online reviews used?
According to the survey, 62 percent of the respondents consulted review sites in their research and used it to find a doctor. However, only 19 percent used review sites to validate a tentative choice of doctor, and only 19 percent used review sites to evaluate their existing doctor.

What is the most and least popular review site?
43 percent of the respondents rated HealthGrades as the most popular site to read reviews of doctors. It is followed by Yelp at 34 percent and Vitals at 14 percent. WebMD is the least popular of all review sites.

What is the most trustworthy review site?
44 percent of the respondents indicate that Yelp is the most trustworthy review site for doctors, ranking well above the other review sites.

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Inforgraphic by Software Advice

Some patients will pay out of pocket for high reviews
26 percent of insured patients surveyed are willing to visit a doctor outside their insurance network if he or she is more highly-reviewed than an in-network doctor. For these patients, the feedback of other patients is so important they’re willing to pay more out of pocket.

Who is most likely to read or leave reviews?
Only 41 percent of patients who use review sites when finding a doctor actually leave reviews of their own. The survey also revealed that rural dwellers were least likely to use review sites and most likely to leave reviews. The same goes for the age demographic of 55 to 64 years old, who are least likely to use but more likely to review their doctors.

How Patients Are Using Online Reviews | IndustryView 2013 from Software Advice

Takeaways:

  • A strong presence on online review sites can help dentists, doctors and medical professionals attract new patients, and retain loyalty of existing patients. The survey says that there are 59 percent users who don’t leave reviews on their own. The only way you can establish a stronger online presence is to proactively engage your patients and ask them to send their review of your practice online in exchange for some incentives such as giveaways.
  • Review sites have become reliable resource for consumers in finding dentists, surgeons and health practitioners.
  • Sign up with the reputable review sites and ensure that your information displayed are accurate and up to date.
  • Review sites and reputation managements must be part of your marketing arsenal. Review sites, as an extension of the tried-and-tested traditional advertising channel: word of mouth, is an excellent marketing channel and crucial to the growth of your dental or medical practice.

This survey demonstrates once more the growing influence of user-generated reviews on consumer behavior. This calls for dentists, doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals to take on a more active role in monitoring your online reviews and protecting your online reputation.

We can help

With Solution21 online marketing, dentists have access to full-service online marketing and consulting. We’ll examine your overall online reputation, including your website, blog, local listings, and online reviews. We will work with you to develop a strategy to improve and maintain a solid online reputation. Our goal is to help draw in more patients to your practice. If you need help managing your online reputation or marketing your dental practice, call us at 888-423-9235 today for our complimentary Internet presence analysis.

Andrew E.
Search Marketing Specialist at Solution21, Inc.

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