Many healthcare providers are starting to realize that word-of-mouth marketing isn’t enough anymore and are turning towards digital; trying to boost their online presence and keep it as accurate and positive as possible. The stats highlighting the importance of healthcare review platforms are clear – more than 94% of healthcare patients use online reviews as the first step in researching physicians and hospitals.
Online reviews are the most important factor in the process of selecting a new healthcare provider, along with insurance acceptance and location. That’s why a strong presence across multiple healthcare review platforms is a secure way to improve your online reputation and attract new patients.
However, your job is to provide patients with the best possible standard of care, not to be a marketing expert, so it may be hard to decide where to concentrate your efforts. Some malicious healthcare marketing providers take advantage of that fact. They charge unassuming doctors a lot of money to feature them on review platforms that sound relevant but are basically a fraudulent scheme. So, let’s explore which healthcare review platforms can help you with your reputation, and which are a waste of your time and money.
What Makes a Good Healthcare Review Platform?
For healthcare consumers, quality of care and well-being is the top priority, but online reviews can tip the quality scales in your favor when they search for a doctor. Healthcare reviews help prospective patients understand the level of patient care you offer and curb their anxiety. At the same time, they can impact the growth of your healthcare organization and help you get more patients. That’s why it’s important to know how to distinguish between a trustworthy healthcare review platform and a scam.
This is where things become tricky because new platforms emerge every day and some of them are intentionally created as a scheme to charge you money without providing value. In addition, the review market is very saturated and already dominated by a couple of strong and trustworthy platforms that have been around for a long time. So, even when created with the best intentions, some healthcare review platforms may not have the impact you need.
Don’t get us wrong. It doesn’t hurt to be featured on multiple platforms — it’s actually highly recommended, but you need to pick credible ones. Here are some of the features of trustworthy healthcare review platforms to keep in mind:
A Detailed Profile with A Full Range of Data on Physicians
In addition to information such as office location or phone number, you can add other details you consider important to create a well-rounded snapshot of your competence. These might be board certifications, specialties, procedures performed, or research your providers have conducted.
Accurate, Timely, and Reliable Data
Credible healthcare review platforms deliver data in the most accurate, timely, and reliable manner possible. You definitely don’t want to deal with issues like seeing duplicate or outdated reviews. Also, a dozen reviews from a few months ago won’t do you any favor — you need to aim for a large number of recent reviews from current patients to prove your trustworthiness to potential new patients.
Thorough Verification Policies
Trustworthy review platforms have verification policies that help determine if the feedback you’re receiving is valid. This means that they work to eliminate fake reviews while respecting their users’ data privacy. These platforms may remove reviews that contain off-topic comments, are illegal, deceptive, or contain obscene remarks, among other violations. They also allow their users to report any suspicious activity and use those insights to better filter the information they display.
Great User Experience & Ease of Use
With a well-designed healthcare review platform, it should be easy for customers to leave reviews. This means that anyone can easily sign up and create a profile which they will then use to interact with providers and other reviewers, leave feedback, ask questions, discuss and engage. At the same time, you need access to all the features necessary to stay on top of what your customers are saying online — thank them for kind words, mediate the negative feedback, and provide service recovery. And — last but not least — the honest feedback you receive provides you with valuable insights that can help you improve the quality of your services.
Search engines have their unique ways of analyzing content, but they all value original and fresh content. Patient reviews give you a steady source of content that positively influences search engines when choosing which results to show. However, if your reviews are featured on third-party platforms, the reputation and domain authority of these platforms determine whether your reviews will rank well or not. Reputable healthcare review platforms always rank on the first page of search results.
The more your patients trust you and leave reviews about you on credible healthcare review platforms, the higher your chances are to boost visibility, get a better position in search results, and attract even more patients.
Reliable Customer Support
This means more than having a 200-word FAQ section to provide “customer support.”. Trustworthy healthcare review platforms provide you with resources such as a comprehensive, easily searchable user guide, access to live chat, robust user community forums, or a dedicated call center with accessible hours. You should be able to get quick and accurate answers to your questions, needs, and cases. If things go wrong, you should get support to find the optimal solution.
The Platform is Free for Both Providers and Patients
All the great review platforms are free both for healthcare providers and for users who want to leave reviews. Some of them may have premium features that come with a monthly subscription, but the basic notion of reputation management is free and available for anyone. These platforms can afford to function this way because their immense popularity and millions of daily visits allow them to earn through other funnels; such as ad placement.
Paying to be featured on a review platform that can’t possibly compete with the likes of Google, for example, is not a smart way to invest your healthcare marketing budget — instead, you should recognize it as a red flag.
What Else Can You Do?
In addition to considering these factors, you can do your own research about healthcare review platforms. Simply google the ones you’re interested in and see what comes up. Pay attention to forum discussions, Reddit threads, blog posts, or even media articles that can help guide you. If you find little information or just the information written or posted by the platform owners, that’s not a great sign.
Another easy but great way to examine a platform’s performance is to google a hospital, practice, or practitioner’s name and see if a review from that platform ranks on the first page of Google. Make sure to try this with a doctor whose Google Business Profile (GBP) looks good and has a lot of reviews because not all doctors and hospitals are featured online.
It may also be useful to browse through the platform itself. Review the profiles of featured doctors and locations and check if they have a significant number of reviews from valid patients. Do they interact with reviews and respond to negative ones in a timely manner? And while in the process of doing this, remember — if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Trustworthy Healthcare Review Platforms You Should Be Featured On
Even with the advice given above, it still might be tough to distinguish great healthcare review platforms — and new and not (yet) impactful platforms — from fraudulent ones. So, here’s a list of healthcare review platforms you want to be featured on:
Google is the gold standard. You may think that being present on a healthcare-specific platform is more important and impactful than a seemingly generic search and review site such as Google, but that’s not necessarily true. Google is one of the most used and trusted search engines, taking up more than 90% of the global search engine market share. This means that the first stop in your potential patients’ research journey is a Google Business Profile (GBP) for your providers or locations — and they’ll only explore more about you if they like what they see on Google.
Creating and managing GBPs is completely free and if you want your business to show up in the relevant searches performed by people who need what you offer, it’s the best platform to focus on. If optimized well, GBPs are the first thing users see when they search for a doctor or hospital’s name. Accurate and up-to-date information in these profiles, along with being able to read what other patients have to say about your healthcare organization is what makes prospective patients more likely to choose you.
By optimizing GBPs for each physician and location, you’ll gain the following benefits:
- Allow your business to appear on Google Search and Google Maps,
- Feature your business name, location, and hours,
- Manage how your business appears, including by adding photos and videos,
- Monitor and reply to patient questions and reviews,
- Get insights on how and where people are searching for and interacting with your healthcare organization,
- Share updates about your business,
- Schedule and manage appointments in a simple way.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of ensuring your providers and locations have optimized GBPs is that when someone searches for you, they instantly see this information at the top of Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Why does that matter? Because if anyone wants to see reviews on one of the sites we cover below, they either have to find the link in Google’s SERP — which could be toward the bottom of the first page or even on subsequent pages — or go directly to one of those websites and perform a search.
With “googling” things being much more convenient than navigating to another site, and the fact that the majority of users end up clicking on links found at the top of the SERP, Google really is the very best place to focus on building awareness of your business.
Yelp allows patients to rate local hospitals, doctors, and healthcare organizations while showing the most helpful reviews at the top. It uses an automated filter to hide certain reviews in order to display only the most helpful and honest reviews. The filter’s purpose is to remove overtly fake or illegitimate reviews, but also to flag legitimate reviews considered to be too positive or too negative.
There’s some controversy surrounding Yelp for allegedly providing benefits for paid advertisers. However, this review platform has up to 73 million new users every month, so it may not be wise to ignore it.
With more than 9 million total reviews, being listed on Healthgrades could be beneficial for any healthcare provider. It compiles trusted data and government records to create a massive directory of over three million providers. This data is then used to create your Healthgrades listing, where patients can find relevant information about you.
Much like Google, your Healthgrades listing doesn’t have to be claimed to be live and receiving visits each day. However, not claiming it could spell disaster as patients may find outdated information about your practice or even negative reviews that haven’t been responded to.
While WebMD is primarily known for its health research forum, it also includes a directory of physicians. More than 75 million consumers access WebMD each month and each of them can check reviews for doctors and also rate them based on their overall experience, including how well the physician explains conditions and treatments. It could be worth your time to ensure that what users find here is accurate and up-to-date.
In addition to the basic public information about healthcare providers, Vitals uses data from medical boards from all 50 states, federal websites, hospitals, doctors, surveys, business alliances, and third-party affiliates.
How to Recognize Bad Healthcare Review Platforms?
Just like credible healthcare review platforms help you improve your reputation, build patient trust, and get new patients, bad review platforms can do just the opposite. It may seem that platforms such as Doctor Reviews, Orthopedic Reviews, or Surgeon Review are just the thing for you because of a niche-specific name. But in reality, their trustworthiness is questionable at best. A quick browse through their platforms shows that they significantly lack in content and authority, they don’t rank high in search engine results, even for their own brand name, and all these things imply that they can’t bring you any value or visibility.
Here are some of the red flags to look out for when it comes to bad healthcare review platforms:
- They condition you to be their client or pay a lot in order to have a profile on their platform,
- The platform doesn’t show up on search engine results when you search for reviews for a location or a practitioner,
- There are no patients reviews on the platform or there are just a few per doctor or location,
- Time and date aren’t featured so it’s impossible to find out when the review was written,
- Platforms contain plenty of generic names or a random string of letters and numbers and profiles without pictures,
- You can’t click on the name/profile of the person who left a review — this brings the integrity of reviews into question;
- There are no visible Sign Up/Log In options — meaning users can’t simply sign up to leave a review and interact with providers and other users;
- Positive reviews appear together on the same day or the same people leave reviews for different providers, indicating that reviews are fabricated.
Handle Your Healthcare Reputation Management Properly
Healthcare providers are becoming more aware of the importance of online reputation management. The need to catch up combined with the lack of marketing and digital knowledge may push you into the hands of manipulative marketing schemes, offering niche-specific review platforms.
It’s hard to distinguish between good and bad healthcare review platforms, especially when your primary duties revolve around saving lives and working under pressure. However, it’s possible to manage your reputation — and even go beyond it — all in one place.
Not only does SocialClimb’s HIPAA-compliant platform help you generate, monitor, and respond to reviews across multiple review platforms, it lets you integrate your Google Business Profile data with relevant healthcare websites in a user-friendly and, most importantly, searchable manner. With our platform, you can go far beyond establishing and maintaining a great reputation and begin to make proactive marketing efforts with digital ads and tracking patient acquisition data. Take advantage of our simple-to-use tools to continually grow your review count with automated review requests, attract new patients with predictive targeting, set up brand advertising, and measure your marketing ROI.