Collection of People in a Review Bubble

Maximize Medical Reviews to Market Your Hospital

When it comes to healthcare, patients are consumers. And just like any other industry, consumers like to read and share reviews  about their experiences.

The average adult spends over 20 hours a week online, with 28% of that time on social media sites. So it’s hard to ignore the potential of internet marketing and reputation management.

It’s imperative to understand the clout of online patient reviews.

One in four new patients report having chosen a physician based on a website reviews. Furthermore, the power of influence is growing, with some insurance companies even linking patients back to these sites. While posts on medical review sites (such as Healthgrades, Yelp, Vitals, etc.) are anonymous, there are tactics that can be used to elevate the good and combat the bad, overall boosting a hospital’s online reputation.


With around 80% of customers searching the Internet for information on doctors, it’s important your healthcare facility is visible on all of the most important medical review sites.

Studies have shown that Healthgrades® is the most searched medical review site, with Yelp following close behind. Placing your hospital on these sites gives consumers an enormous amount of confidence in the brand. It is greatly advised that you do not discourage patients from critique with tactics such as a contractual agreement that prohibits a patient from public reviews. Many hospitals and practices have such tactics in place and are building a relationship of mistrust, suspicion, and hostility.

That being said, too much visibility can negatively affect your online reputation just as easily. Be sure to have a policy in place that advises all of your staff to have private social media accounts for socializing, and public/professional accounts for engaging in medical groups and gaining public trust.


Positioning yourself online, in any platform, makes your hospital open to extreme criticism. There are a few tactics one can take to encourage positive reviews and dissuade the bad from emerging.

As each new generation enters the age where they are seeking health care without parental supervision, the Internet savvy of hospital consumers increases. Newer patients searching for online medical reviews can tell the difference between an authentic and fake review. When requesting reviews, ask your patients directly. Do not rely on family and friends to boost your positive feedback. Advise physicians to ask their patients they have a strong relationship with to take a moment to review their work and the hospital. Not all patients will oblige, but some will.

Another tactic to generate positive commentary is to give surveys to recurring patients while they wait for their scheduled appointment. Linking to an online review site at the end of a survey could generate traffic. You can also link to review sites through a follow-up email. Think of your follow-up emails as a medical thank you card. Kindness goes a long way with patients, and sending a thank you card encourages a strong bedside manner.

Want to discourage consumers from ranting and raving their negative experiences online for the world to see? Presenting complaint cards to patients provides the consumer a chance to get their anger out before going public, declining the likelihood of taking it online.


Once placed on any medical review website, commentary on your services (good and bad) will begin to appear. It’s important to do a consistent scan of these sites for new reviews. It is highly likely that more than a few patients will be disappointed in the outcome of their treatment and say so online.

Respond to these reviews in a timely and conscientious manner. With a proper response, other patients may even come to your defense. Acknowledge the person’s complaint, show a commitment to improving your service, and encourage the distressed patient to contact you directly in order to discuss their complaint and come to a resolution.

Utilize the power of medical review websites! Not only do they encourage more patients to use your healthcare facilityl, with enough positive reviews, you can boost your credibility with Google and receive a higher ranking on search engine results!

Want to learn more tips to market your hospital online? Check out this blog for more information!

Need help marketing your healthcare facility? Contact Jimmy Warren today.

Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

Healthcare Advertising: Do Consumers Really Hate Our Ads?

Advertising tags cloudA recent poll indicates consumers actually have a positive attitude towards advertising.

Everybody is skeptical today, right? Nobody believes anything anymore. And certainly advertising is not to be trusted. This is sometimes the prevailing thought. Some believe that advertising is a waste and all of us involved in the craft are slimy, manipulative, greedy, self-serving hacks.

Not according to a study by Neilsen Media, ” Trust, Value and Engagement in Advertising” . More than 25,000 consumers were polled and revealed that consumers actually have a generally positive attitude toward advertising. Here are some interesting findings:

1.   Over 71% of the respondents believe advertising contributes to the growth of the economy.

2.   More than 68% agree that advertising stimulates the economy leading to better products and lower prices.

3.   Over 70% of North Americans responded that advertising provides useful  information that allows them to make better choices.

And despite what you may hear there was not a huge gap in credibility between traditional and non-traditional media, although text ads on mobile phones finished at the very bottom of the trust ratings with very low scores. And what may be even more surprising, trust in advertising overall was up from the 2007 survey.

And we can certainly conclude that healthcare advertising is no different. In fact, healthcare advertising, because it speaks to one of the most important aspects in a person’s life, has even more credibility and trustworthiness.       

So those of us in the business really aren’t as lowly as snake oil salesmen. There is credibility and effectiveness in what we do. The results of the survey are encouraging. But they will remain that way only if we take our responsibilities seriously by dealing fairly with the facts and always speaking the truth and never misleading.

Advertising is powerful and can be extremely effective, but that will only be true if we are honest, fair, and truthful. It is a serious and important responsibility. And in healthcare advertising we must accept an ever-higher burden of responsibility.

Skeptics can say what they want about the value of advertising but the only real enemy is ourselves. We can quickly destroy consumer confidence in our industry if we don’t hold ourselves to the highest possible standard.

Yes we will be aggressive in our efforts, but if we continue to accept the responsibility of truthfulness and fairness, we can continue to be proud of what we do. And by providing helpful and accurate information through our advertising we will also enhance and improve the lives of consumers who value and benefit from what we do.