Healthcare providers often learn how they’re doing directly from their patients in person.
Body language, facial expressions, and even verbal communication give doctors a (generally) good idea of how their patients are doing and how they view the care they’re receiving.
But… how can physicians know what their patients are really thinking?
And how can doctors use that information to better their skills and their practice’s performance? Understanding online patient feedback can help.
What Are Patient Feedback Websites?
Like other online review sites, there are several healthcare provider review sites. They generally include a database of practitioners. Users can look up doctors according to specialty, location, or even insurance coverage. They find new doctors, and review the performance of doctors they already visit.
Ratings usually include a variety of factors. There’s often a star system and an opportunity to rate providers based on certain criteria. Many of these sites also offer an open comments field for a more formal review.
Ratings include a variety of factors. There’s often a star system and an opportunity to rate providers based on certain criteria. Many sites also offer an open comments field for a more formal review.
Doctors can sign up on these sites too, and “own” their page. They can also provide expanded information about their practice, healthcare philosophy, credentials, and more.
Use Criteria for Self-Evaluation
The measure of a medical practice is more than numbers. Sure, benchmarks like patient panels and overhead figures are useful. But patient feedback provides a different kind of benchmark though – and while subjective, is still quite valuable.
Physicians can use healthcare reviews written by patients as a framework for self-evaluation. There are aspects of care that may not be readily apparent to practitioners simply because they’re too close – they can’t see the forest for the trees, as they say.
Patients surely have opinions about office staff, scheduling, and more.
Reviewing healthcare review feedback from your patients provides a “big picture” look at your practice and how it really runs.
Specific areas in which doctors can critique their performance include the skill with which they effectively explain diagnoses and treatment options, how much time they spend with patients, and how well they listen to patient concerns. Peripheral performance metrics include things like friendliness of staff, ease of scheduling for regular and urgent care visits, and the physical upkeep of patient waiting rooms.
Patients surely have opinions about office staff, scheduling, and more. Reviewing healthcare review feedback from your patients provides a big picture look at your practice and how it really runs. Areas in which doctors can “review” their performance include the skill with which they effectively explain diagnoses and treatment options, how much time they spend with patients, and how well they listen to patient concerns. Peripheral performance metrics include things like
Peripheral performance metrics include things like friendliness of staff, ease of scheduling for regular and urgent care visits, and the physical upkeep of patient waiting rooms.
The next step in understanding patient feedback is to examine it critically. Physicians can use feedback like this as a stepping stone to look at office policies and procedures. Let’s say a new patient leaves feedback reporting that a nurse refused to renew existing prescriptions, insisting that the patient try meds that she’s said have been proven ineffective in her case. Here’s a chance to examine office procedures and how they’re explained to patients. It may not be necessary – or even desirable – to change processes and procedures; however, the way in which things are explained to patients can be improved.
Other areas that can be “easily” improved are staff’s customer service skills, better scheduling software, or a fresh coat of paint in the waiting room. The point is to figure out what to spend your time on, and how to prioritize.
There are something that are within a physician’s power to change, and naturally, some that aren’t.
For example, it’s generally accepted that many practices offer their patients visits with physician assistants or nurses to supplement the number of available patient care hours available. But for some folks, not seeing a “real” doctor will never be okay. In these instances, there’s probably little any doctor can do to assuage the feelings of the patient (although it’s always worth it to try and make patients feel as welcome and well-informed as possible).
Make Healthcare Review Sites Work for You
Healthcare review websites typically offer a physician portal where doctors can “claim” their page or listing. Much of the listed information comes from public sources and is limited to what one would find in a directory.
Examples include location, area of medical practice, and insurances accepted. The physician portal allows doctors to update details and provide additional information, such as board certifications, conditions treated, education, awards and recognition, and languages spoken.
Giving prospective and current patients accurate and up to date information empowers them. Prospective patients can better select the right doctor for their needs the first time, and current patients feel validated in their selection of a particular doctor. Also, this expanded profile can sway prospective patients who are browsing for a new provider.
A more complete profile may increase the chances of a particular doctor being chosen over another, equally qualified doctor who’s profile is sparse.
Perhaps most important, physicians also have the opportunity to craft a personal statement and biography to add to their listing. This is a good way for a healthcare provider to present his or her approach to care. It can also be used effectively to address negative reviews. Let’s say that patient scheduling is an issue that comes up again and again in patient reviews.
A doctor can include in her statement something about, “a new, state-of-the-art patient scheduling system that was introduced in 2017.” It’s a way to minimize the impact of a negative review without starting a flame war or being accused of retaliation.
Using Patient Feedback as an Effective Tool
Healthcare review sites can be a powerful resource for doctors to get an outside perspective of their work and the performance of their office. The broad scope of criteria by which doctors are evaluated provides a strong framework for self-evaluation.
Assessing criteria and related responses carefully helps physicians decide what parts of their skill set or practice may need to be reconsidered or revised. And updating and maintaining a well-crafted profile on these healthcare review sites can help maintain a good reputation and mitigate the impact of any negative patient reviews.