Unverified online patient reviews do not always correlate with actual patient experience, according to a new study published by the Mayo Clinic.
Can you trust what people say about doctors online?
That’s the question that researchers from the Mayo Clinic set out to answer when they started collecting data from online patient reviews in 2014. The results of the study, which were released in the April edition of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, corroborate what physicians have been saying for a long time: Unverified online reviews often present an inaccurate depiction of physicians and their practices.
Here’s what happened.
Researchers collected online patient reviews for two groups: 113 physicians who had received at least one negative online review (<50% of possible score), and 113 physicians who had never received any negative online reviews. The researchers then tracked these physicians’ performance over the next several months using verified, tested patient satisfaction surveys. (similar to SurveyVitals’ 360° Survey Solution).
After analyzing the verified patient satisfaction scores, the results were clear: There was no correlation between negative online reviews and patient satisfaction scores.
So to answer the original question-
No, you can’t always trust what people are saying about doctors online.
Why it’s important.
In the digital age, online reputation is paramount to success. Not sure about that? Check out this study that found 54% of millenials look online before choosing a doctor.
Online reviews can create a ripple effect that impacts everything from choosing a doctor to perception of care received. As patients approach healthcare with an evolving consumer mindset, and as the healthcare industry shifts toward a pay for performance model, negative perceptions will inevitably damage an organization’s bottom line.
The unsettling part is that in most cases anyone can go online and write these reviews, regardless of whether or not they’ve ever interacted with the physician. This exacerbates the problem that the loudest voices on the internet tend to be the most upset, creating an unbalanced portrayal that isn’t necessarily representative of a practice’s entire patient population.
The researchers at the Mayo Clinic encapsulated this issue best when they wrote, "Perhaps the time has come for improved mechanisms to support health care organizations and their physicians to allow a more qualified and verified form of PSS scores to be included online in an attempt to overcome often single and unsubstantiated online reviews by open source online websites.”
So what can we do?
The best way to protect your organization’s online reputation is to share your verified patient ratings with the world. SurveyVitals’ Provider Widget is the easiest way to share and promote your verified reviews.
Here’s how it works.
The Provider Widget displays actual feedback from actual patients. Instead of unreliable, unverified reviews from strangers on the internet, the Provider Widget automatically gathers data from the patient population as they submit their patient experience surveys.
Ultimately, the verified reviews give patients the confidence they need in choosing a provider to treat them. SurveyVitals’ Provider Widget shows ratings from not just a few, but often from thousands of verified patient to generate a trustworthy source of information.
Harnessing the power of actual patient ratings creates a competitive advantage against peers who rely on unverified reviews. Patients who see the ratings on the Provider Widget know that they are getting an accurate representation of their provider’s performance.
How to set up the Provider Widget.
If you aren’t currently utilizing the SurveyVitals solution, schedule a demo to learn more about how SurveyVitals can help your organization with patient experience surveys, CAHPS surveys, MIPS Improvement Activities, the Provider Widget, and more.
If you are already running the SurveyVitals solution, please contact your support team or email support@surveyvitals for help setting up your widget.
By providing the information and tools to help people make informed decisions, we can work toward making a better healthcare systems for both physicians and providers. Better insights can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved.