How Important is Effective Hospital Reputation Management?
Throughout history, hospitals have relied, largely, on word of mouth for reputation management. Today, competition is fierce and people are far more proactive about their healthcare than in decades past. For hospitals to remain relevant and competitive in an ever-tightening market, it is essential to engage in effective online hospital reputation management.
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Hospitals rank third, behind only restaurants and hotels in popularity for consumers to read reviews? That means people want to know what other patients are saying about your facility.
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By reading these reviews, people make decisions about your hospital before they ever walk through the doors. If you’re not actively managing your online reputation, many of them are making the decision not to walk through your doors.
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In other words, failing to engage various hospital reputation management strategies or any at all, is costing your hospital money.
Why is Your Hospital’s Reputation Important?
Chances are good that you operate in an area where patients have other options when seeking healthcare. In emergency situations, you may the nearest hospital. However, for elective surgeries and ongoing treatment, patients have options.
If your hospital isn’t meeting expectations, people will leave negative reviews. For something as important as healthcare, people are reading the reviews and listening to what they reveal.
The more negative reviews out there about your hospital, the more credibility these reviews have. Over time, these negative reviews affect much more than your ability to attract patients. They affect your hospital in all these ways and more.
- Poor employee morale.
- Inability to attract top physicians and medical care providers.
- High turnover rates.
- Loss of confidence of patients.
- Lack of confidence from the community.
Employees don’t want to be associated with a hospital that has a bad reputation. Whether deserved or not, the negative associations diminish job satisfaction and make good employees eager to seek greener pastures.
Over time, these negative reviews become an albatross for the hospital that only serves to perpetuate them.
Plus, everyone wants to be associated with a hospital that has the best reputation for patient care, favorable outcomes, positive experiences, and outstanding patient relations. It’s not only about attracting the patients you desire for your hospital, but the professionals you desire to work there as well.
What Does it Take to Build a Positive Hospital Reputation Management Strategy?
Many people falsely believe that hospital reputation management is about little more than managing negative reviews about your hospital online. While that is part of the process of managing your reputation, it’s only part of the story.
It’s not even the biggest part of the story at that. There are many angles that go into an effective reputation management strategy for hospitals. You play an important part in that strategy whether you hire an agency to do the heavy lifting or go it on your own.
Developing Your Hospital Reputation Management Strategy
The first step when it comes to reputation management strategizing is to create a positive online presence. Most hospitals have websites. How does your website compare to others in your community?
- Website. You need to create a website that is the ultimate resource for healthcare news, information, and advice in your community. You want it to be the first place patients go to learn about their health.
- Blog. Do you have a blog? If not, it’s time to start one. You need to fill your blog with relevant, factual, and actionable information people can turn to. You want your blog to be a showcase for healthy living, disease management, and much more.
- Content. You must provide a steady stream of positive, informative content for your blog. By doing this, you’re making the top stories about your hospital the stories about the services you provide the community through your website and blog.
- Social Media. Once your blog is up and running, you need to develop an impressive social media presence. You need to be widely available on multiple platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more. Plus, you need to interact with your followers, share your blog posts, and comment when they come to you with concerns and questions.
- Reviews. Respond to negative views about your hospital. Show prospective patients you care and get to the bottom of problems to avoid them in the future. Whether the initial reviewer changes these reviews or not, people reading the reviews will see you’re making an effort. It matters.
- Requesting Feedback. The other side of this is that you want feedback from your patients. In fact, you need it. Good or bad, there is a lot you can learn from patient feedback and reviews. And prospective patients can learn from them too. The changes you make to avoid negative reviews in the future can fuel growth for your hospital and change the conversation completely.
- Negative Review Removal. Sometimes, the strategy of addressing negative reviews directly does not result in the removal of these reviews. When this occurs, you may have to go to the review organization to request review removal. This is a process that takes time as each organization has different processes and requirements. However, it does work sometimes, making it worth the effort.
Are you exhausted yet? Keep in mind that this is in addition to all the other responsibilities you have when operating a hospital. This is why many facilities hire professional hospital reputation management teams to handle this important task.
The process of hospital reputation management is time-consuming and tiring. It is even more so when you have to add a learning curve for things like
- Writing quality content.
- Managing and maintaining websites.
- Creating and building a blog.
- Generating social media content and sharing regularly.
- Responding to social media mentions, callouts, complaints, etc.
- Coming up with an editorial and content schedule.
- Compelling content ideation.
- Identifying hospital review websites.
- Finding negative reviews about your hospital.
- Negative review response.
- Review management.
- Negative review removal.
Not only will bringing in the professionals take these responsibilities off your plate. It also helps to reduce the learning curve so that you see real results quickly for your hospital.
Allowing a qualified hospital reputation management company to take over the responsibilities of managing your reputation does one important thing. It frees up your time and attention to attend to the most important detail of positive reputation management – improving patient experiences.
That is what you do best. When you’re not worried about the ins and outs of managing your reputation, though, you can invest your time and energy into more proactive pursuits, including:
- Improving staff training.
- Addressing complaints.
- Solving billing problems.
- Building employee morale.
- Attracting talented physicians and nurses.
- Strengthening your company culture.
People take pride in working for an organization that has a good reputation. It really is as simple as that. As we’ve said before, controlling the narrative about your hospital online is only a small, but important, part of the hospital reputation management process. The work you do, though, to build a better brand for your hospital is the other half of that battle. One you can’t afford to overlook or ignore.
InternetReputation.com understands how easy it is for the wrong information to dominate the story of your hospital. Our mission is to help you correct the narrative online by generating more positive press, eliminating much of the negative, responding to what can’t be removed, and helping you develop a winning strategy to take back control of your online reputation for the good of your physicians, practitioners, patients, and community.
Contact Internet Reputation today to learn more about our organization and how we can help you with your hospital reputation management needs. Our goal is to help you build a well-deserved positive reputation by developing a robust strategy designed to change the conversation about your hospital to one that is positive and uplifting.