By Rick Mankin, MD, President, Main Line HealthCare
Colleagues—I hope your New Year is off to a good start.
The year of 2020 is one that will further put the tremendous expertise and service of our MLHC providers on the map with the implementation of ratings and reviews posted online from Press Ganey data.
Did you ever look yourself up on Google? Discover a rant from an angry or disgruntled patient? We may be appreciated and valued by the vast majority of the patients we touch, but it only takes one unhappy patient to sully a reputation, and those comments can live on in internet perpetuity.
It’s human nature to only “go online” to air grievances and take satisfaction for granted. But these sporadic comments can stand out and draw undue attention, influencing other potential patients indefinitely. It seems particularly unfair when we have objective evidence that we provide excellent service to our patients, from consistently high ratings we receive in our validated Press Ganey surveys. We have no control over reviews posted on third-party sites (Yelp, Vitals, Facebook, Healthgrades, younameit.com). This is one reason why it’s so important to include our very strong ratings and reviews on our website for the public to view.
We have a solution! As part of our commitment to excellence, integrity, and patient centered care, we have partnered with NRC Health to post provider ratings and reviews on our website. Starting in Spring 2020, we are going to use our MLH website to share star ratings derived from our Press Ganey surveys (1-5 star), followed by a selection of actual comments from your patients.
We are going to let all consumers know all the good things our patients have to say about us. Our overall ratings are consistently in the top tier in our market, and our comments are going to help attract new patients. In fact, our ratings are typically very high—with a mean of 4.84 out of a 5 point scale.
We are not the first to use this strategy. It started years ago very successfully with the University of Utah, and now includes Penn and Lehigh Valley locally, and Duke, MD Anderson, Northwell, Inova, Aurora, MedStar (Georgetown et al), and numerous other large group practices around the US. We can anticipate a few likely concerns you may have about this program:
- Why post any negative comments?
It’s about credibility. We collect comments every month for each of our providers, and reading them is generally a pleasure, because they accurately reflect your compassion, skills, and professionalism. No question there are some complaints in there, because we’re not perfect, and our patients are going to tell us when we’ve let them down in some way. But if we are going to share our comments, we need to post a realistic sampling. Nothing turns off patients faster than an artificially curated sample that disingenuously leaves out any criticism. We reflexively ignore such reviews when we see them, and we are more likely to give credence to reviews when they seem to have a full range of comments, without obvious filters.
- What about complaints that are simply untrue, or reveal personal health information, or are profane or otherwise inappropriate for public viewing?
In advance, we will share with you all comments proposed for publication. You will have an opportunity to flag any comments that you see as inappropriate for further review. Mind you, not every negative comment is inappropriate, but a committee that includes peer physicians, as well as lawyers, social media and communications leaders and others, will review every one of your objections, and strike comments that do not fit a series of criteria we will establish and share with you. We will not post reviews that are libelous, slanderous or profane or those that risk the privacy of our patients and families.
- Why now?
Actually, this is nothing new. Those MLHC physicians currently on ZocDoc already have your reviews published online, and some of our payer partners already collect and publish similar comments on their own web sites. Of course, there are third party web sites (e.g. vitals.com) that are collecting reviews on you and using it for their own proprietary (advertising) purposes. This is simply taking control of the existing environment and using it for our own purposes to promote you and your practice.
You soon will have the ability to review your comments before they are published via our hosted internal preview environment and monthly StarCard, which you will receive via email next week with instructions on how to access.
We invite you to join our Town Halls to learn more details including the way that we will share your patients’ comments with you in advance, the criteria for physician appeals and the composition of the review committee. If you are unable to attend one of the sessions below, we will also share a recording after the fact.
Thursday, January 30, 7 am in the LMC auditorium (breakfast will be served)
Thursday, January 30, noon, in the RH Vakil Conference Room (lunch will be served)
We strive to deliver excellent care and superior service. We have a great story to tell and given that 77 % of consumers begin their health care search online and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, we are committed to adapting to the digital realities of our consumer-driven world and meeting our patients’ expectations. This is one way that we will change, and we welcome your active engagement in this new initiative.