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Your Online Reputation—How much is it worth?

As Digital Assent continues to explore the importance of online reviews for physicians, they gathered some new data to help answer the question, “How much does your online reputation impact your practice revenues?”

First, let’s revisit some of the more interesting statistics from Digital Assent’s 2013 Online Patient Reviews Survey entitled, “What do patients think about online ratings for doctors?”

  • If you have at least 10 reviews, 50% of patients will believe that your online reputation is worth considering

  • 72% of patients said that “negative reviews” could prevent them from choosing a doctor

  • 50% of patients reported that “positive reviews” could encourage them to choose one doctor over another

While these statistics are compelling, Digital Assent has done some further analysis to understand how they translate into actual patient volumes.

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For this task, the market research team at Digital Assent sought out perspectives from physicians who have a significant online presence. In a recent webinar, Dr. Kevin Pho said that since he started tracking the sources of his new patients, 10-15% of his patients have reported that they chose him because of what they found online. Another online advocate, Dr. Howard Luks, says that 15-18% of his new patients find their way to him based on his positive online presence.

Based on some conservative assumptions, we start to get a sense for the financial impact that a doctor’s online reputation can have on physician revenues.

To keep the math simple, Digital Assent used the example of a physician practice that generates $1 million in revenues per year and has a neutral online reputation (defined by having less than 10 online reviews and a “middle-of-the road” rating of 3.0 out of 5 stars). We also need an assumption regarding what percent of annual patient volume is comprised of new patients, and while we know this varies significantly we assumed a conservative 20%.

If this practice were able to collect 10 new positive online reviews on each of the major doctor ratings websites, it is reasonable to believe they could expect a 12% increase in new patient volume in the first year, which would add approximately $24,000 in new patient revenues! Best of all, a strong online reputation will pay dividends long into the future. In subsequent years many of those initial “new” patients will become returning patients and there will be more brand new reputation-seeking patients walking through the doors that would have otherwise gone elsewhere.

If the doctor started with a “bad” online reputation (less than 10 online reviews and a low average star rating) we can assume that 12% or more of prospective patients could be actively avoiding this doctor. Based on this additional assumption, this doctor could reasonably expect to see a 24% increase in patient volume in the first year after growing and improving their online reputation.

In both of these scenarios, the increase in new patient volume should not add significant incremental operational expenses, so most of your new patient revenue should translate into additional profit for your practice. As the importance of online patient reviews continues to grow, your best strategy is to start now and implement a reliable system to maintain and grow your online reputation.

Tablet-based review capture systems like PatientPad® make it simple and affordable to collect patient reviews and testimonials at the point of care, while the patient’s experience is fresh in their mind. Most physicians who care about their patients (and work hard to run a good practice) believe that the vast majority of their patients are happy and satisfied with the care they receive. Systems like PatientPad enable doctors to capture feedback from this “silent majority.”

To explore this topic further and explore the ROI of making an investment in growing your online reputation, be sure to sign up for the PatientPad Blog with your email address to receive updates about this and other upcoming webinars.

And remember, MedResults Network members qualify for a 10% discount off of PatientPad setup fees and monthly subscriptions. If you’d like to talk to someone about PatientPad®, please contact Digital Assent directly at info@digitalassent.com or 404-382-7574.

*Contributed by MedResults Network Valued Partner, Digital Assent, LLC.

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