We have all seen the effects of the Accountable Care Act. Numerous CMS and payer programs have placed a greater emphasis on outcomes and re-admissions. Additionally, program and physician reviews and ratings are readily available on the internet for everyone to see. Hospital information typically includes outcomes information along with other subjective information. Doctor-specific sites tend to focus on customer satisfaction, such as how long a patient had to wait to be seen by a doctor or how friendly the receptionist was. For that reason, it is easy to discount the value of these sites.
Healthcare and technology are changing rapidly. So, too, will the depth and scope of information available to the general public.
Circle of Influence
Surgeons already know the impact of family and friends when it comes time to choosing a care provider. With social media, that circle of influence has expanded dramatically. In some cases by 10 fold or more!
Why the Concern?
Although most in the clinical community think of CMS or Healthgrades when the subject of transparency is broached, there are dozens of other sites that enable consumers to review healthcare providers. Because of that, the number of reviews are low, if they have any at all. Nonetheless, people do take these reviews seriously. Isolated incidents can have a big impact. Most businesses know that one bad online review can seriously impact their business. According to a leading research report, it takes 11 positive impressions to overcome one bad impression. This is also true for medical practices. Since many customers/patients have high deductible insurance plans, there is a greater emphasis on the care they receive and their choice of providers.
What Should You Do?
So, what are the keys to excelling in this environment? The first is to make sure your practice is in order by measuring and tracking your key performance metrics. Ensure your program is both efficient and effective. When you do get reviews, make sure you take them seriously. Discuss them with the staff and surgeons. And when you do receive positive information regarding either your outcomes, patient experience or other, make sure the whole world knows so potential patients don’t have to look too hard to see what a great practice you have created.
Stay tuned for our next post regarding branding your practice.