Healthcare is becoming a consumer-based purchase for patients. Since their financial responsibility is increasing rapidly, many patients are shopping around, becoming more interested in the cost of their care, and independently navigating through health system and provider brands.
Press Ganey surveyed over 1,000 healthcare decision-makers and found that 72 percent of respondents are more likely to conduct research online than to simply accept a referral from a family member or friend. Seeking online reviews has made it much easier for patients to pick through information about various providers and conduct research based on other people’s experiences. Additionally, online reviews provide powerful data for healthcare executives.
Key word indicates patient dissatisfaction
When analyzing reviews of hospitals on Yelp, Penn Medicine researchers discovered that the word most-associated with negative, one-star reviews was “told,” which appeared in almost 20 percent of the posts. Examples include: “They never told me the cost of any of the procedures,” “I told her I did not want to discuss it anymore, but she persisted to badger me,” and “Some idiot doctor examined me and told me there was nothing they could do for me.”
“Oftentimes, words such as ‘told’ hint at a breakdown in communication,” said Anish Agarwal, MD, a National Clinician Scholars fellow and Emergency Medicine physician at Penn Medicine. “As health care transitions become more patient-centered, I think hospitals and providers need to continue to work on how we improve communication, how we listen, and how we approach all patient interactions.”
Value of examining online reviews
Even though many hospitals release official surveys, it’s vital to also review online sources, like Yelp, because reviewers’ perspectives are much more transparent. Unprompted thoughts could help identify particularly troublesome parts of the patient experience and help solve future breakdowns in communication.
Use patient feedback for strategic purposes
Health leaders, like you, are acknowledging this change in patient behavior and are striving to implement strategic plans to enhance the patient experience. According to Healthcare Business and Technology, nearly 60 percent of surveyed CEOs plan to maximize telehealth in their facilities and 45 percent want to become more invested in patient engagement initiatives, like mobile applications.
No matter your focus and course of action, it is important to consider patient feedback and devise a plan to improve the quality of patient interactions. This level of attention and community engagement will nurture relationships and help set up your facility for continued success.
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