Online healthcare reviews have the potential to enhance or diminish your hospital’s reputation and impact patient choice. But it is possible for healthcare providers to take proactive steps to address this issue.
Here are the 10 things your hospital needs to learn about online healthcare reviews:
1. A research study by physicians at the Mayo Clinic shows that online reviews sites have poor correlation with patient satisfaction assessments, such as Press Ganey. 
2. According to research carried out by the Mayo clinic, negative online physician reviews are not associated with physician related interactions, but rather non-physician related complaints. 
3. Pain points in healthcare processes, such as long wait times, billing errors, parking problems, etc., can produce negative reviews. These reviews are not always reflective of overall patient care.  Learning of these issues after the fact leaves physicians and healthcare systems at a disadvantage, unable to address issues at the point of care when opportunities exist to change processes.
4. Online reviews often have a small sample size and may have a significant bias, creating unfair ratings.  Many times these reviews manifest as extreme negative or positive comments and are not representative of the true picture.
5. Often physicians are unaware of these unfair online reviews which can damage their reputation along with that of their institutions.  Frequently, online reviews are posted anonymously, with no screening process in place to vet them. HIPAA regulations prevent healthcare providers from violating patient confidentiality to respond to false claims.
6. The Mayo research suggests that the time has come for “improved mechanisms to support healthcare organizations and their physicians to allow a more qualified and verified form of patient satisfaction scores to be included online in an attempt to overcome often single and unsubstantiated online reviews by open source online websites.” 
7. One suggestion is for institutions to provide valid reviews to patients, both positive and negative. Any negative information could assist with performance improvement efforts. Any positive information could be highlighted to help build strong online reputations. 
8. Physicians and healthcare facilities could feature this valid data on social media platforms and their websites. Trust is therefore created through transparency.
9. Many patients and families are uncomfortable sharing comments on social media and would prefer to share comments through a confidential venue. Providing a mechanism for patients to privately express opinions, suggestions, compliments, and concerns would be appreciated.
10. All the tools we currently have in place are ineffective in representing a true and fair assessment of healthcare provider performance. Hospitals need to find a new way to gain vital insights at the point of care to assist with creating a superior patient experience.
What is the solution?
A simple to use hospital provided app, iSUGEZT empowers patients and their families to offer suggestions, praise staff and express concerns in real-time during their hospital stay.
The benefits of iSUGEZT
- This unique, groundbreaking technology provides a window into the patient view as it happens.
- By providing specific real-time insight into the true patient experience, hospital leadership can respond and strengthen the patient-provider relationship.
- Patient comments can be collected, categorized, analyzed, responded to quickly, and shared.
- Patients feel respected and listened to. Process improvement can be expedited, recovery of a challenging issue can be immediate, and negative reviews can be thwarted.
iSUGEZT is a win-win situation for patients AND healthcare providers!
 R. Jay Widmer, MD, PhD; Matthew J. Maurer, MS; Veena R. Nayar, MBA;
Lee A. Aase, MA; John T. Wald, MD; Amy L. Kotsenas, MD; Farris K. Timimi, MD;
Charles M. Harper, MD; and Sandhya Pruthi, MD; Online Physician Reviews Do Not Reflect
Patient Satisfaction Survey Responses; Mayo Clin Proc. 2018;93(4):453-457.
 Gregory P Murphy, Kushan D Radadia, Benjamin N Breyer; Online physician reviews: is there a place for them?; Risk Management and Healthcare Policy 2019:12 85–89.