Conduct patient satisfaction surveys first

Do not participate in patient reviews gating. First, run a satisfaction survey, then address patient complaints (if needed).

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Instead of patient review gating process – implement a satisfaction survey process first.

Create a first step that’s more like a survey wherein you ask a patient for a star rating (e.g. 1-5 stars).

With that, have a little area where the patient can leave comments.

This allows you to collect the true response of the patient and an explanation of their review.

The most important thing to tell patients here is that they can choose to leave this review anonymously.

If patients are allowed to leave reviews anonymously, they tend to leave more reviews.

And do tell you the truth.

This allows you to truly diagnose problems in your own practice and categorize them based on the responses thus:

  • Wait times
  • Staff tardiness
  • Provider tardiness
  • Provider bedside manner

Since this step is anonymous, patients will leave details like “Dr Patel was not courteous” or “Summaiya was rude” or “I waited to 4 hrs” etc.

This allows you to monitor your staff and providers as well, and provide them the much needed feedback.

Ask the patient to post their review online

This allows them to have a choice of going “public” with their review.

Every reviews website forces users to sign in and have a profile before they can leave a review (for the reviews to be genuine).

This allows patients to provide you feedback and remain anonymous OR provide you feedback and post the same feedback online.

Create review request templates

In general, you want to communicate with patients in the language(s) that they prefer.

But don’t make assumptions.

I see this all the time and one of our practices has also made this mistake multiple times.

As you can guess, patients in Jackson Heights and Jamaica are, invariably, going to want to speak Hindi, Bengali and other south asian languages.

Meanwhile, patients in Washington Heights, Bronx are going to speak more in Spanish.

While Manhattan is going to have primarily English speaking patients.

However, do not make the mistake of addressing folks in a language that you assume they are going to prefer – until the patient actually tells you so.

The same theory goes with asking for patient reviews via SMS or email as well.

Don’t assume.

I made this mistake once.

I sent out patient review SMS for patients in Bronx – chose Spanish as the language.

Many patients wrote back in English.

Before you start this process, understand that you are going to have to play around with review request templates.

It’s not a set-once and be done kind of approach/strategy.

Start with 4-5 different templates of review requests and see how each one performs.

Here are a few examples.

  • “Thank you for visiting us today. On a scale of 0-5 (5 max), how would you rate us?”
  • “Thanks from New York Ophthalmology, Jackson Hts! Kindly review our doctors on google – https://g.page/NewYorkOphthalmology-Jackson-Hts/review . It helps us. Thx”
  • “Thank you for coming to New York Ophthalmology ? Our doc wanted to check in – does everything seem good?”
  • “Good afternoon & thank you from New York Ophthalmology! Kindly review our doctors – good/bad? Here’s the google review link http://bit.ly/nyoph-jackson-hts “
  • “Hi ? Were you happy with our docs & staff at NY Ophthalmology? Kindly let us know here – http://bit.ly/nyoph-jackson-hts or reply back. Thanks so much! ~ Ron”

Keep in mind that your reviews templates for email can be much longer than those short text messages.

Also, keep in mind that to shorten your URLs, you can use services like bit.ly.

This also allows you to track how many people actually clicked on your bit.ly reviews link and then left a review (or didn’t).

Create those same templates in languages that your patients speak e.g.

  • “Gracias de New York Oftalmologia… revise amablemente nuestro medicos en Google – https://g.page/NewYorkOphthalmology-Bronx/review . eso nos ayuda gracias :-)”

Keep track of the outcomes daily

You are going to have situations where patients leave reviews for your provider, staff or the practice in general.

Make sure you categorize reviews responses and assign it to the appropriate staff within your practice to address the same.

The same goes for online reviews as well – keep track of those.

The only thing that’s truly difficult to do is to match patients with their online “names”.

I have seen cases where a review request patient’s name does not match their online names at all.

You are going to have to learn to deal with it and live with it.

My suggestion is that you use a patient survey / reputation management software.

Then, send automated surveys and review requests to patients when they leave your practice.

While you can start with a manual, spreadsheet based process – this only works with really small practices that see 15 patients or less per day.

Do the math.. Even at 15 patients per day, you are tracking and managing 300 patients a month, 3,600 patients a year.

It does get cumbersome.

Plus, sending SMS or emails with surveys or reviews requests being done once a day does end up becoming a chore.

Try to pick a software vendor that integrates with your EMR.

Then make sure that you set it up so that surveys and follow up review requests are sent within 10-15 mins after the patient has CHECKED OUT (left your practice).

There are so many free options available – most of them are not really HIPAA compliant (that’s the problem). E.g.
opentexting, Globphone, sendatext etc allow you to send SMS without having to sign up or download anything.

However, you need to choose an option that keeps your patient data HIPAA compliant.

Because information about a phone number + the specialist they went to, borders on PHI.. as any phone number can be enriched with social profiles these days and the actual human behind the phone can be discovered.

Preferably, choose a vendor that allows you to send patient review SMS and that will sign a BAA with you. Several options to consider are:

  • Repugen
  • Curogram
  • Solutionsreach
  • Lumahealth
  • Patientpop
  • Patiengain
  • Patientbond
  • Podium
  • Birdeye
  • Our software