What Is Your Healthcare Organization’s Reputation Worth?

Patric Wiesmann
Patric Wiesmann , Managing Director and General Manager, Healthcare & Life Sciences at Reputation.com

Trust between doctor and patient has been key to the medical profession since the creation of the Hippocratic Oath, which swore doctors to not only do no harm, but also to protect their patient’s privacy and to be humble enough to defer treatment to specialists.

That trust has become even more essential to patient care, as patients who don’t trust their doctors are less likely to follow treatment regimens, resulting in poorer health outcomes. Unfortunately, patients today trust their doctors far less, with only 34% expressing complete trust in their physician, down from 75% in 1966. Reputation has become key not just to getting new patients, but also maintaining the relationship.

Reputation.com has recently published the Healthcare Reputation Report to illustrate how these changes have affected the healthcare industry. Our data science team analyzed 3,824 hospitals with ten or more reviews posted on Google or Facebook between January 1, 2016 and August 31, 2018. We used artificial intelligence, machine learning and sentiment analysis to understand the online text reviews of these hospitals.

Each hospital was given a Reputation Score, a 1- to 1,000-point rating scale that measures overall review sentiment, volume, recency, spread and factual accuracy of reviews, among other factors. We then compared that Reputation Score to 2016 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revenue data to analyze the connection between per-bed revenue and the overall trust patients had in the institution.

Medical doctor discussing care with a patient.

Bedside manner determines health outcomes in more ways than one.

Simply put, if a patient trusts an organization, they come back. Organizations with a high Reputation Score generated $1.2 million more revenue per bed per year than those with a lower score. We also found that Google and other search engines often set the tone for first-time patients, far more than healthcare-focused sites such as Vitals.

Further, we found that people are what matters most. Highly ranked hospitals saw words such as “staff,” “bedside manner” and “nursing” turn up in a positive context in their reviews, while hospitals that ranked lower  often featured complaints about staff, wait times and other common service issues.

Here are the three key takeaways from our 2019 Healthcare Reputation Report :

  1. Online reviews are an important diagnostic tool for your organization. Patients are honest on Google in ways they may not be with patient experience surveys or interviews with their provider. Analyzing online reviews gives you real-time feedback and answers questions you didn’t know you needed to ask.
  2. A better online reputation predicts higher revenue for healthcare organizations. Of the 3,824 hospitals we analyzed, those with a Reputation Score in the top 25% generated $1.2 million more revenue per bed than those with a Reputation Score in the bottom 25%.
  3. Tracking your Reputation Score helps improve patient experience. The ability to drill down into various factors that contribute to your Reputation Score helps identify and address problem areas, before they impact the patient experience. It also helps you optimize service categories your patients value most.

From individual providers to entire healthcare systems, reputation management is essential. It doesn’t solely impact how much revenue is generated per bed; in some cases, it might decide a patient’s health outcomes. Just like care and forethought is needed in the exam room, the same is true with your online reputation. To learn more, download our report today.