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[New Poll] 43% Of Patients Read 3 Or Less Online Reviews

As a health and medical practicioner, your professional reputation is important.

More patients than ever before are going online to sites such as Healthgrades, RateMDs, Vitals and Yelp to evaluate a doctor, dentist and other healthcare practitioners.

It’s so important that you may already be investing in a reputation management program, actively monitoring your doctor review site profiles and soliciting new online reviews from patients. (If not, contact us!)

As online reviews continue to impact search engine rankings and whether or not a patient decides to schedule an appointment, we decided to learn more about the depth of which patients read online reviews.

So we took to twitter for this month’s poll and thanks to over 500 respondents, we learn something new!

How many online #patient #reviews do you read before choosing a new #doctor, #dentist or other #healthcare practitioner?

For all the emphasis and importance placed on having great online reviews from patients, we were curious as to how many of those hard earned reviews the average patient actually reads.

As it turns out, 43% of patients read less than 3 online reviews before making a decision about a new doctor, dentist or healthcare provider.

43% of patients read 3 or less online reviews

These results were surprising, given the vast number of doctor review sites that exist. With over ten major review websites, one might assume that patients are going to much greater depths on these sites.

Apparently not.

While the next biggest percentage of patients who responded, 23%, showed greater depth of research, reading over 10 reviews about a particular practicioner, over 60% of patients read less than six reviews.

What does this mean for doctors, dentists, derms and everyone in between?

First impressions matter.

Since the majority of patients looking for a new health or medical professional are not reading a large number of reviews online, it’s important that the ones they will read are impactful.

As most doctor review websites show the most recent reviews left by patients, consistently soliciting new positive reviews from your patients after their visits.

Remember, the best way to get rid of a negative review is with lots of new ones. It seems like the best way to also get a new patient is to also have a constant stream of new positive reviews!

Focus your online review efforts where patients go first

Further, since most patients are not reading a many reviews, it makes sense to concentrate your efforts on where patients are going first: most often Google and Facebook.

For example, a quick Google search for your name and practice will bring up, ironically, 3 reviews left on your Google My Business profile.

Same thing with Facebook.

When patients use the new Facebook Recommendations feature, their friends can recommend a new health or medical practicioner and embed their Facebook page in the comments. Doing this displays your image, page name, and you guessed it: your star rating.

So, while patients may not be reading tons of reviews, the ones they do see, matter.

Do you know what they’re seeing?

Garrett Smith

Garrett is the Founder, and Chief Marketer at InboundMD. Garrett has been successfully leading internet marketing campaigns for health care practices across the US for almost a decade. He's a frequent speaker at events, and author of "Book Now! Internet Marketing for Healthcare Practices", and the host of The Practice Marketing Podcast that details how successful practices are winning online.

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