manage online review

How to Manage and Respond to Online Reviews

Patients can review your facility and providers on a myriad of sites including Facebook, Yelp, Google, and many, many more.  Be a part of the conversation rather than just the topic of conversation.  First, claim and update profiles.  Then, solicit reviews and respond to reviews.

Claim and Update Profiles

You have profiles…whether you want them or not.  Find, claim, and update.  Some of the most important are Google, Facebook, Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals, WebMD, RateMDs, and even the hospitals where your physicians work.  Bing, Doctor, Doximity, and UCompareHealthCare are probably our next most used review sites.  We also typically update anything that shows up on the first five pages of a Google search.

Update your NPI (National Provider Identifier) information CMS.  This auto-populates into a lot of websites.

You’ll need to have the following things handy when you start claiming: driver’s license, SOS (Secretary of State) filing, last four digits of DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) number, and piece of mail with physician name and address.

Establish an email that is designated for profiles, particularly for multi-doctor practices.  You can usually only use one email per site.  Some won’t allow a gmail account.

Add pictures, website links, and be exhaustive with information about the services provided in the practice.  List interests, clinical specialties, etc. as they will help patients find your office.  Also, be sure to list any languages, besides English, that are spoken in the office.  Include information about the physician’s training for websites that allow it.  A short bio is also very useful.  And, pictures are highly recommended.

Solicit Reviews

The best defense against negative reviews is a good offense. If you have lots of good reviews, a few bad reviews only makes your reviews look realistic.  Inviting patients to give feedback can be done through different avenues, and realistically, several methods of communication with a patient will likely yield a response.  Invitations should be separate from billing communications.

Email

An email with an online link to a review site (general online or customized to practice) should be sent to every patient, varying which review website you list in email based on where you need reviews and which sites allow it.

Office signage

A sign in the office or waiting room that asks patients to contact the practice administrator with compliments and complaints is another method.  This may solicit more negative feedback but getting that feedback where it’s contained in office and not on the internet for all to see is beneficial to the practice.  In addition, a sign with online review information can be displayed in the office lobby.  The sign can be very similar to the printed card.

Printed card for online reviews

This could be handed out with the office staff’s verbal ask or done alone.  This info can also appear on your patient forms.

“Thank you for choosing our practice.  We hope you had a great experience with us.  If there is anything we can do to improve your experience, please contact me personally.  I want to know so that I can fix it!  If there isn’t anything we can improve on, please tell the world using the links below.”  Then, offer the links, contact person, and phone number.  Some sites don’t allow for solicitation of reviews, so be sure to check the terms of service.  For those sites, consider just asking patients to check out your reviews on those sites.

Signature line in emails

How many emails do you send in a day?  Every one of those is an opportunity to gently lead people to sites where they can review your practice.

Social media

Including links to online review websites on the practice’s social media is another way to invite patient feedback.  Social media is a great resource for patient reviews and testimonials.

Text

A short text with a link to a website where a review can be given is very easy to send.  However, a patient should be asked for permission to receive text communication from the office.  And, be sure to only do this with review sites that allow solicitations.

Verbal request

Patients are more likely to give feedback if asked by your office staff at the end of their visit.  The office staff can verbally ask patients to leave a review when the patient checks out.  They can also give the patient a small, simple card  with info about how to leave a review online so the patient can take it with them.

Website

A note on your website requesting patients to contact the practice administrator with compliments and complaints is another feedback method.  This can be done through a “Contact Us” tab on the website that sends an email directly to the practice administrator. The website can also include links to online review sites.

Responding to Reviews

We only recommend a response to reviews that are recent…last three months or so.  Develop scripted responses for positive, neutral, and negative reviews.  We use an ever-growing list of about 20 varied responses for this.

Don’t be defensive.  Thank the reviewer for providing the information.  Don’t discuss their issue publicly.  Contact them directly or invite them to contact you at your direct phone number or email.

Most importantly, take the feedback seriously.  You won’t make everyone happy.  But, look at these reviewers as unpaid consultants or secret shoppers.  These patients are likely sharing things that have also happened to other patients.  If you see a trend of complaints on billing issues, wait times, or other areas, RESOLVE THEM.

If you have questions or need help with any of this, feel free to reach out to us!  We love helping with reputation management.  We can do it full service, something in between, and are even willing to teach your staff how to do it.  And, we can also help with resolving those issues.  We love secret shopping and training staff.

 

 

testimonials

Patient Testimonials to Showcase Your Medical Practice

Patient testimonials can be a great way to showcase your services and give prospective patients a flavor for your practice.  Use them on your social media and website.

Questions

Here are some questions to get the praise flowing:

  1. Why did you pick our practice/facility?
  2.  How did we improve your life?
  3. How did our staff and doctors show that we cared about you?
  4. What would you say to other patients that are considering the same procedure?

Pictures

Testimonials are always better with pictures.  It can be a simple picture of the patient or a before/after picture. Or even a picture of the doctor.  Better yet, a picture of the patient with the doctor!

Release

Always use a release – for name, for picture, for anything that identifies them.  I recommend keeping this in the patient’s electronic health record for easy access.  Don’t expect your marketing company or website company to keep up with it.  They won’t be the ones hit with a HIPAA violation – you will. If you don’t have a release, holler at us and we’ll share our template with you.

Format

Here’s an example of a great way to collect stories from patients from BMI of Texas. You might also consider working a release into this same tool.

You can also have patients fill out a comment card or pull positive reviews from online.  Create a custom graphic out of it and you have a great social media post!!  Here’s an example.

Video testimonials are ideal.  It’s best to hire a professional videographer that can film and edit the videos.  It is typically well worth the time and investment for the quality of videos.  Hire them for a block of time and you’ll save a lot.

If you go with the patient-made videos, a few items to consider:

  • Set up a drop box or some other online way for them to submit. The BMI way would likely work. The videos will likely be large enough that email won’t be effective.
  • Ask them to answer the three questions, plus anything else they want to share.
  • Consider having them break the questions up into three separate videos. This would require less editing, potentially.
  • Suggest they use a quiet place with a solid background that contrasts with their hair/skin color. For instance, don’t put a blonde/pale person on a tan background. Put them on a dark background.
  • Recommend they use the smartphone horizontally/landscape and balance the phone on something, maybe even a tripod to keep it still.
  • Tell them they need plentiful light. Take a test video to ensure the light is ample.
  • Here are some posts with specific info from people way smarter than us: How to Shoot Better Mobile Video, 7 Ways to Get Professional Quality Video on a Smartphone, and 9 Tips for Recording Better Video with Your Smartphone.

Good luck with your testimonials!  We look forward to reading them.

Staff Bios Made Easy

Staff bios should be fun and easy!  Don’t let them get you down.

We typically aim for competent and friendly…so explain why your team is both!  Include skills, training, education, certifications, work experience, languages, and something that makes them warm and fuzzy.  That can be why they love helping patients, their favorite thing about working with patients, or something personal that they feel comfortable sharing.  For example, Sara coaches 5 year old soccer when she isn’t at work or Suzy enjoys volunteering at her church.

It’s hard to write about yourself.  Ask the staff questions to have some consistency and then have a copy writer or someone on your team that loves writing craft them into bios.  You can do an interview with the questions and use the recording to write the bio or simply email them over and have the staff respond.  Some of our favorite bios came from an interview that the practice manager recorded.  We got a flair for their personality and could craft that into the bio this way.  You decide which will be more effective based on your team and time constraints.

Here are some questions we like:

  • Name as you’d like it listed
  • Title
  • Post-high school training and education?
  • Licenses or certifications?
  • Professional and personal organizations that you are a member?
  • Any particular areas of clinical interest?
  • What made you want to work at XYZ practice?
  • What do you love about caring for patients?
  • What do you wish you could tell every patient (and they would actually do) and why?
  • Do you speak any language other than English?
  • Fun fact about you?
  • What do you enjoy doing when not at work?
  • What city do you live in? Married? Kids? (if comfortable sharing…usually something along the lines of George lives in Dallas with his wife and teenage sons)
  • What brought you to XYZ city?
  • Do you have pets?

We are aiming for something like this:

Meet our Nurse, Susan.  She was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at University of Texas.  She is a Registered Nurse and has worked in family medicine since 2001. She joined XYZ practice because she had been a patient of Dr. X and had a wonderful experience with the practice.  When Susan isn’t at work, she loves running, volunteering with her church, and gardening.

Finally, always let the staff review the bio before publishing.  Include a picture and you are ready to go!  The picture can be casual…a shot of them at work in their uniform is perfect.

Engaging Participants at Health Fairs

Health fairs, community fairs, and expos can be a great way for a medical practice to engage with the local employers and the community.  This can build your brand and potentially be a source for finding new patients.  Having a booth isn’t good enough.  In fact, just having a booth alone is a waste of time. Participants need a reason to stop at your booth.  Set up an appealing booth, bring charismatic staff, and offer something to participants.

Having a great booth or table that is consistent with your brand is key to attracting attention.  Most venues offer chairs and tables.  Some offer electricity.  Take them up on these freebies.  Buy a nice table cloth with your logo on it and purchase accessories that match your brand.  Go spend $100 at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s to build up a nice set of accessories that you can use for all events.

Bring your staff and providers (if you have them) to interact with people.  You want participants to build a relationship with your doctors, NPs, PAs, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and any other team members.  This is an opportunity to showcase your team and let people see they are friendly and approachable.  Don’t bring someone that doesn’t want to be there; that will only hurt your brand.  And, pay your staff to be there; don’t ask them to volunteer.

The more interactive your table is, the more traffic you’ll get.  Offer cholesterol and glucose screenings.  Body Mass Index, blood pressure, are color blindnesses are easy and free.  Your practice could team up with someone like a local hospital doing screenings and do the patient education side.  Don’t stop with the screening.  Once you have the results, have participants interact with one of your providers by having them explain the results.  This is a great way to engage!  And, let them take the results home on a beautiful form that fits with your brand and just happens to have your website, address, and phone number.

If you can’t do a screening, quizzes are another option.  Sleep quality, stress level, and allergies are common examples.  Come up with a quiz participants can take and then have your staff talk to them about the results.

Label your own water bottles at health fairs

Free stuff is always a good draw.  Candy, water (with your label), trinkets, printed tips…always a good way to bring people in.  Find left-overs from employee events or anything with your logo on it.  Or, buy candy that matches your colors.  Keep it in line with your brand and have your information on it, but don’t let it be too salesy.

 

Drawings are an excellent way to get contact information at these

Use a drawing to get contact information at a health fair

events. Drop in a business card to win a fabulous basket of stuff that compliments your business.  Supply your own goodies or ask local vendors to chip in – free yoga class, free smoothie, free cyrotherapy session, etc.  And, then follow-up with everyone that you get contact information for.  Thank them for attending and share some information about your business.

Not getting a ton of people taking advantage of all these great things?  Have somoene get out from behind the table and go talk to people!  Tell them about your screenings/quizzes and bring them to your table. Take your freebies and walk around handing them out.

The key to these events in not just standing behind a table.  Be engaging and give people a reason to stop at your booth!

Common Sense Tips for Maintaining Primary Care Referrals

In addition to the normal things that would help maintain referrals, like good patient care and customer service, a few additional hints are offered.

Get a printed physician directory for the main hospitals that you are on staff at, preferably with pictures.  If there isn’t a published one, print it from the hospital website.   This is a good resource for being able to put a face with a name. It will allow the doctor to be able to personally thank those physicians for the referrals or update them on a patient when he/she runs into them in the doctor’s lounge or on the floor.  It can also help avoid the embarrassing situation when the other physician knows you, but you don’t know who they are.

When a referring physician calls your office, call them back right away.  Same goes for their staff.  Try to work their patients in as quickly as possible and offer them the back line number to call.  Also, it’s nice for them to have a point-of-contact in your office that they can reach out to if there is ever an issue or a need, such as an emergent patient, or even a patient with a billing issue.  And, if you are comfortable doing so, give them your cell phone number.

One of the biggest complaints we hear from primary care physicians is that they make a referral and then don’t know what happens to their patient. It is important to follow-up with the primary care doctors by getting reports back to them quickly and for something urgent, making a phone call or sending a text. A primary care doctor deserves to know right away if their patient is admitted or is given a major diagnosis. It is unfair for them to find out from the patient, and is embarrassing for them.  Ask what they want – clinic notes, operative report, imaging, imaging reports, pathology reports – and provide it to them consistently.  Also, confirm you are sending it to the right fax number.

Additionally, if a specialist needs to refer the patient to another physician, admit them, or operate on them, it’s recommended to reach out to the primary care doctor to the let them know and ask if they have any preferences. This is also something that can be covered in a quick face-to-face visit in the hallway or lounge, as some want to be involved in referrals and others don’t.  Many of the physician affiliated with a health system want them to stay within the system.

Imaging, lab, pharmacy, and other ancillary services are worthy of a conversation as well.  Does the primary care doctor have these services in their office?  If so, send back to them.  If not, do they have a preferred vendor?  Asking makes it easy to be successful.

Track it within your office to ensure compliance and check in with the referring physician once a year to confirm their preferences.

These are small acts, but certainly keep the primary care doctors from feeling like they are left in the dark. It shows them that their patients and their referrals are valued.

Professional photographers capture candid photos of physicians well

Professional Photography for Physicians? Waste or Must?

Definitely a must!  We’ve all seen the ad or the website with cheesy pictures.  It’s a real tragedy to spend several thousand dollars on an ad, but not a few hundred to get the right image.  Spend the money for a professional head shot, group shot, and even some action pictures.  A nice set of pictures should last the practice 2-3 years (unless they change physicians/offices) and will enhance advertisements and the website.

No time?  Most photographers will come to your office and they work pretty quickly.  You should be able to get a head shot done in 15 minutes.  Surely there’s time for that.

No money?  Buy a smaller ad and use the savings for the head shot.  You should be able to get a nice head shot for under $250.  This is an especially good use of resources as the head shot can likely be used in other venues – hospital website, speaking engagements, etc.  Or, contact your local high school or college.  Photography students often work cheap…and sometimes even free to build their portfolios.

When you start photographing the entire group or staging action shots, the time and price definitely increases.  However, it’s still in the several hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars range.  Divide this among a group of five or even 25 physicians and incrementally it’s just not that much.  And, photos of your actual practice are certainly preferred over stock images.

Here are some of our recent favorites.  These were all shot by our staff on-site and in well under an hour!

 

Physician Bios Made Easy

Physician Bios Made Easy

Is writing physician bios making you crazy?  Let us help with these tips.

First, decide what you are going for.  We are usually shooting for smart, academic, accomplished….all while being approachable.  We use training, accolades, skills to convey the first part and humanizing the docs for the second part.

Then, decide what content you want to convey.  It’s hard to write about yourself.  Typically, asking the docs to send you a bio to use isn’t very helpful.  Ask them set questions to have some consistency and then have a copy writer or someone on your team that loves writing craft them into bios.  You can do an interview with the questions and use the recording to write the bio or simply email them over and have the docs respond.  You decide which will be more effective based on your physicians and time constraints.

Here are some questions we like:

  • Name as you’d like it listed:
  • Where did you complete undergrad, medical school, internship, residency, fellowship?
  • Any other notable training we should mention (robotic surgery, urogynecology, procedures)?
  • Any particular areas of clinical interest?
  • What made you want to become a doctor?
  • What do you love about practicing medicine?
  • What do you wish you could tell every patient (and they would actually do) and why?
  • Fun fact about you?
  • What do you enjoy doing when not at work?
  • What city do you live in? Married? Kids? (if comfortable sharing…usually something along the lines of Dr. Smith lives in Dallas with her husband and teenage sons)
  • What brought you to Dallas?
  • Do you have pets?

Essentially, you are trying to draw out facts that will help you convey the personality of the physicians.  If you can make them seem approachable, it really helps “sell” the patients on them.  We are aiming for something like this:

Jane Smith was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and received a Bachelor of Science at University of Texas.  She completed medical school of University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas and both her internship and residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She has extensive training in minimally invasive surgical techniques, such as laparoscopic and robotic surgery.  She enjoys all aspects of Obstetrics and Gynecology, including wellness, infertility, and surgery.  When Dr. Smith isn’t at work, she loves spending time with her family, snow skiing, reading European historical fiction, UT football, and volunteering with the SPCA.

Finally, always let the doctors review the bio before publishing.  Include a head shot and you are ready to go!

 

Social Media Tips for Healthcare

Social media is a must for healthcare organizations that want to have a robust brand that is interactive with the community.  Social media should be fun and educational.  We offer a few tips to ensure both.

  • Post regularly, but don’t post just to post.  No one cares that you had Starbies this morning or are so glad it is Friday.  They do care that your sweet patient brought you Starbucks and you want to thank them (pics please) and that in honor of it being Friday, your office is power walking at lunch together (again, pics) to kick off a healthy weekend.
  • Aim to post 2-3 times per week.  1-2 can be health tips, health articles, and resources.  1-2 should be about your practice.
  • Want a bunch of easy content?  Do a “Meet our Team” series!  Feature every single team member…1 team member per week.  Picture, why they love working there, what they do for patients, and something fun about them.  Bam.  You just got 10-15 weeks worth of posts…and patients love learning about the team.
  • Want more easy content?  Have each provider give you one or two line Pearls of Wisdom for health.  Simple, easy to follow advice is best.
  • Another easy way to gather content?  Follow one of the hundreds of health topic calendars out there.  Here is one of many: https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/.  Either use tips on these topics from your own team or borrow resources and post links.  Mayo Clinic is a great, reliable source for that.
  • Local health/community events can be great content.  It shows your engagement with the community.  Be sure to check them out before posting though.  You don’t want to inadvertently advertise for a competitor or an organization that you don’t know.  If in doubt, skip it.
  • Most importantly, post about things going on in your organization in real time!  Celebrations, new services, new team members, new offices, new equipment, anniversaries, kudos, and anything along these lines.  This gives your practice an identity other than just being a company.
  • Consider non-work, healthy posts on team members.  If a team member runs a marathon or helps organize a local farmer’s market, with their permission, this can be good content to show what a supportive health-conscious organization you are.
  • And, sell yourself every now and then.  Don’t sell all the time.  But, do it sometimes.  Talk about your allergy testing services or hormone replacement therapy or success stories with medically-supervised weight loss.  If you have relevant regular content, no one will mind when you sell on your social media little bit…and you just might get some business from it.  Just space it out and be sure lots of non-salesly content lives in between posts where you are self-promoting.
  • Don’t use patients names, discuss patients, or talk about anything that would normally be an issue under HIPAA.
  • Don’t tag your physicians or staff members.  We generally think it is best to keep business and personal lives separate, particularly if patients may see anything “questionable” on the personal pages.  And, it gets messy if patients “friend” staff members and/or providers…and particularly so if they “message” them regarding health issues.  Evaluate the pros and cons…and make your own decision here.
  • Don’t allow photos of your team drinking or smoking.  While it may be innocent, it may not be perceived that way and literally could be used against you in a court of law.
  • Use the “front page of the paper” + “mom” + “grandma” + “pastor” test.  If you wouldn’t want it on the front page of the paper, wouldn’t want your mom, grandma, or pastor to see it, then don’t post it on social media.  If it passes all four of those, it’s probably fine to post, unless your mom or grandma is also a pastor that owns a gossip paper.  If that’s the case, we want to meet her!  🙂

Have fun with it and allow it to showcase your brand and your culture.  And, really, if you find that mom/grandma, introduce us!

Tips for Physicians When Speaking to the Public

Speaking at non-academic events should be a fun and easy way for you to interact with the local community, employers, and potential patients.  If you hate public speaking, consider more one-on-one interactions like an Ask the Doc table at a health fair.  If you are comfortable with public speaking, use this skill to educate potential patients on topics and use this as a way to build relationships.

Considering the goal is to make a good impression, put your best effort forward.  The following tips are based from years of observing what does and doesn’t work.

Attire

Wear something you are comfortable in.  If you don’t normally wear a tie or high heels, don’t.  Wear business attire or pressed scrubs.  Consider wearing a lab coat if wearing scrubs.  It looks both “doctory” and professional.  But, don’t wear a lab coat over regular dress up clothes.  Well-groomed fingernails and clean shoes are a must – as they are typically two areas people tend to notice.  Ladies, wear a little foundation and be sure to put on powder.  Mascara, blush/bronzer, and lip color will enhance your face.  Men, be sure to be clean shaven and have a fresh haircut.  Most important, look “clean” – clothes, hair, overall appearance.  No one wants to go to a doctor that looks like they just rolled out of bed.

Presentation

Keep the prepared talk about 20 – 30 minutes, allowing time for questions.  It’s great to survey the audience (if it is small enough) about what they are interested in hearing about before you start.  Consider using PowerPoint, rather than notes.  Keep slides simple and don’t put everything you plan to say on the slide.  No one wants to a hear a presenter read the presentation.  Only use pictures where they enhance the concept, not just to look nice (i.e.: picture of cancerous lungs for smoking cessation).  Be sure to speak in layman’s terms or explain medical terms, such as using the phrase high blood pressure in place of hypertension.

Take care not to be salesy about yourself or the practice.  Let your presentation, engagement with the audience and knowledge be the sales tool.

Handouts

Participants usually appreciate anything they can have as a take away.  Develop a one page “pearls of wisdom” on the topic that they can take and be sure it has your logo, website, address, and phone number on it.  Bring business cards.  If additional literature is available on the topic or about the practice, feel free to have available. These handouts are a great way to softly sell yourself.

In short, have fun with it and try to engage the audience.  These people could be great potential patients!