Multicare’s 4-Step Strategy for Increasing Online Visibility, Engagement and Patient Sentiment

Lindsay Neese Burton
Lindsay Neese Burton , Healthcare Marketing Director

Healthcare organizations are feeling the pressure to bolster their online presence to be more visible, engaging and positive.

As consumers continue to consult the Internet — and in particular, Google — for healthcare information and recommendations, only providers who have a strong presence there will be able to attract and convert patients.

But creating a strong online presence on Google and other important sites and directories requires more than simply updating your contact information. Healthcare consumers are reading reviews to find out what your patients think of you — and they want to see recent, detailed positive reviews paired with high ratings.

In a recent Oliver Wyman survey, 83% of participants said that patient-generated reviews influenced which physician they chose. And according to our own research, two-thirds of healthcare consumers will wait longer for an appointment with a doctor who has good reviews. The vast majority (79%) want to read at least six reviews before making a choice.

Yet despite the overwhelming evidence that reviews are important to attracting and converting new patients, 77% of doctors have no reviews on Google.

Unfortunately, providers often lack cohesive strategies for reviews management — and it’s beginning to matter a lot. Today, patient experience and reputation management are tightly linked, and failing to focus on requesting and acting on customer feedback will not only result in a loss of online visibility, you’ll lose business to competitors who rank higher and use patient feedback to gain insights on how to deliver better patient experiences.

Woman leaving feedback on her desktop computer.

Ask for and listen to patient experience feedback to improve your online reputation.

Google First

If you’re looking into increasing review volume, start with Google. Over 70% of consumers favor Google Maps when looking for doctors, and Google is used 52% of the time when looking for healthcare listings information. The vast majority of healthcare searches are non-branded, meaning people aren’t looking for a specific health system or doctor’s name, but rather a “pediatrician near me.” In fact, only 15% of healthcare consumers go directly to a provider’s website when looking for care. That’s why your ranking in search results, along with great reviews and ratings, are so important.

Are your locations on Google Maps? What’s their reputation like? These two factors will determine whether you are found and chosen by today’s healthcare consumers.

Reputation, as defined by your business listings, reviews and social commentary —  is the fastest-growing factor in Google’s search algorithm. Leading healthcare organizations know this, and are focusing on building review volume and engaging effectively with patients online. Let’s take a look at how one Reputation.com customer, Multicare, transformed its approach to reviews management to achieve some outstanding results.

MultiCare: 4-Steps to a Winning Reviews Strategy

Multicare is a not-for-profit regional health system in the Pacific Northwest. Multicare’s marketing team realized it need to uplevel the organization’s online presence. Local competition was fierce, and they wanted to increase visibility by ranking higher in non-branded search, particularly on Google; engage effectively with patients and future patients; and ensure the positive sentiment about Mutlicare’s physicians and locations was showcased online.

Working with Reputation.com, the team developed and executed a 4-step strategy to accomplish its goals for increased visibility, proactive engagement and improved patient experience.

Download our guide on How to Compete for Patients in the Digital Age

Step 1: Improve search rankingsPerson holding their phone with the Google homepage on display.

The first step in Multicare’s strategy was to claim all of its physicians’ business listings on Google and position them to win in “best” and “near me” non-branded searches. They worked with Reputation.com to perform an audit of all third-party listings and optimize them with accurate information, including contact information, office hours, appropriate categories such as physician specialty and appointment scheduling, keywords and photos.

Step 2: Partner with patient advocacy and clinical leaders

With a focus on building review volume, it was critical to have the internal buy-in and processes for consistently requesting reviews and responding to them in a timely manner. The marketing team rallied advocates within its operations teams to help with implementing a process for requesting and managing reviews. They also worked with legal and compliance to develop HIPAA-compliant templates for responding to reviews, which made it easier for the patient advocates and clinical managers to participate in the effort.

Step 3: Generate and better reviews

At the heart of Multicare’s 4-step strategy was creating a repeatable, consistent process for requesting and responding to online reviews. The team provided all patients with a simple one-question survey via text, then gave them the option to leave a review on Healthgrades, as well. They request reviews three times a day — morning, mid-day and afternoon — which enables them to collect a broad sampling of near real-time feedback for its locations. All of the responses are fed into the Reputation.com platform, which analyzes and reports on the results. If the review is positive, the platform automatically sends a thank you message. If the review is negative, it’s sent directly to the clinic manager for handling.

Step 4: Elevate the patient experience

Medical doctor discussing information with a female patient.

Specialized tools can mine unstructured review data to produce actionable insights.

With all review data in the Repuation.com platform, Mutlicare’s marketing team benefits from actionable insights that help improve patient experience. The platform analyzes the unstructured text in patient reviews and reports on findings, helping Multicare to identify trends and patterns in patient experience and address potential issues earlier.

10X Review Volume in 4 Months

Since implementing the 4-step strategy, more of Mutlicare’s providers now have 4-star or higher ratings on Google, and the high volume of positive reviews render the occasional negative review powerless to affect those ratings. Over the first four months of the program, they generated more than 1,000 reviews — a 10X increase — and the average star rating for all of its locations increased from 3.5 to 4.6. Despite receiving more reviews, the number of negative reviews didn’t increase. Now Multicare’s providers and locations have complete, accurate Google listings that feature high star ratings and great reviews and are much more visible in search because they’re ranking higher.

For example, one of Multicare’s pediatricians has generated over 100 reviews in three months — all of which are 5-star reviews. Patients are traveling long distances to be seen by that particular pediatrician despite closer proximity to other Mutlicare physicians, simply because of his great online reputation.

Medical doctor examining a young child.

A larger number of patient reviews will give prospective patients a clearer view of your practice.

Additionally, Multicare’s Google listings are driving future patients to take action. Phone calls and direction requests from Google increased by more than 200% once reviews started pouring in. A high volume of positive, recent and detailed reviews combined with accurate, complete GMB listings was the magic formula for ranking high in search and boosting organic traffic.

Don’t Just Read and Respond to Reviews — Take Action

Reviews management is an essential step in strengthening your online reputation, but it isn’t just about reviews and ratings. Equally critical is gleaning actionable insights from that feedback and seizing the opportunity to improve the patient experience so it meets the expectations and needs of today’s healthcare consumers.

An integrated reputation management platform that can apply machine learning and deep analytics to data from all feedback sources can help you initiate a virtual cycle of improvement and align your brand promise with the patient experience you deliver.

Download our ebook, Online Reviews and Ratings 101: A 5-Step Guide to Improve Your Healthcare Organization’s Online Reputation, to find out how Reputation.com can help your healthcare organization shine online and onsite.