A recent study conducted by practice management consultancy group Software Advice in November of this year surveyed a sample of 4,620 patients in the United States, collecting a minimum of 385 responses for each question. Their research gleaned helpful insight into what motivates patients to leave online reviews, what causes patients to disregard negative reviews, and what topics prospective patients are most interested in learning about when searching for online reviews.
Practices and physicians who are cautious of increasing traffic to their online profiles may find comfort in knowing a greater percentage of patients are motivated to go online to leave positive reviews than to go online to leave negative reviews.
The study also asked respondents what their most common reasons were for disregarding negative reviews. 34% of those surveyed said the most common reason they disregard a review is because it sounds exaggerated. Almost 20% of respondents said that if a physician (or practice) responded thoughtfully to the review, they may still consider seeing the physician.
When asked what specific topics they were most interested in when reading online reviews in terms of quality of care, 34% of respondents stated that accuracy of diagnosis was the most important insight, while 22% stated they were more interested in learning about the doctor’s listening skills. The most sought after information in terms of healthcare administration was wait times, with 25% of respondents citing this as the most important insight gleaned from online reviews. Respondents also cited staff friendliness (22%), ease of scheduling (19%), and payment/billing issues (16%) as other topics prospective patients are most interested in learning about when searching for online reviews.