How do your patients view you?

Research by The London School of Economics in conjunction with other London Universities has revealed some interesting statistics in respect of doctor-rating websites.  Whilst the researchers only interviewed a relatively small number of people within the London area, the results revealed that only 15% of those interviewed were aware that web sites existed on which they could rate the performance of their local health provider.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who used doctor-rating sites either had a good relationship with their GP or felt that their GP did not provide clear explanations.  The young were also more likely to make use of sites which enabled them to rate their local health professionals.

Whilst the research was aimed at NHS feedback sites it does have implications for all health professionals.  The researchers concluded that although “online rating websites can play a major role in supporting patients’ informed decisions on which healthcare providers to seek advice from” there is a danger of bias as those who provide feedback on doctor-ranking websites “are unlikely to be representative of the overall patients’ pool.

Of course it is not just official rating websites which can affect how health professionals are viewed by their patients and prospective patients.  In this social media age reputations can be made and broken in an instant with comments on chat forums, social media sites and even e-mail.  Every business therefore needs to be aware of and keep on top of their online reputation.

But there are also a few steps which healthcare practices can take to avoid receiving negative comments online.  Patients are only moved to complain if they receive poor service and therefore taking steps to improve service levels will help to create a positive image.  Perception starts with first contact and there is nothing more frustrating for someone who is in pain than to be faced with a never-answered telephone.

Making use of the Clinic Appointments virtual receptionist service means that a healthcare professional need never force their clients to make multiple unanswered phone calls again.  Trained call handlers will answer that first contact telephone call in a professional and friendly manner, helping to create that good first impression which can make all the difference.  And with diary management, appointment reminder and record storage services available as part of the package, Clinic Appointments can help to free up healthcare professionals’ time; enabling them to concentrate on providing a high standard of care to their patients and hopefully leading to good feedback on any health-review website.

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