MAR 2020

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

Issue link: https://digital.eyeworld.org/i/1215009

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98 | EYEWORLD | MARCH 2020 I NSIDE THE PRACTICE by Liz Hillman Editorial Co-Director S urgeons are acutely aware of the im- portance of word-of-mouth referrals and, to Lance Kugler, MD, online reviews are simply an extension of that lead source, yet with the potential to reach a much broader audience. While the accuracy of these reviews reflecting clinical perfor- mance has been questioned, 1 they are of growing interest to potential patients and could influence their search for a new physician. In 2012, a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population was surveyed about online ratings and more than half (59%) said physician rating sites were "somewhat important" or "very important" in physician choice. 2 The experiences of friends and family carried more clout than online reviews, according to the report. At this time, 35% said they had chosen a physician based on positive ratings, while 37% avoided other physicians due to neg- ative reviews. A more recent survey conducted by the website Software Advice found that 72% of respondents use review sites to select a new provider. 3 One study found that "individuals [perceived] nonclinical ratings provided by commercial websites as important as clinical ratings provided by government websites when choosing a primary care physician." 4 EyeWorld asked Dr. Kugler, Trent Richards, MD, and Josh Weiner, president and chief op- erating officer at Solutionreach, to share some ideas for growing your body of online reviews. Do doctors realize the influence that online reviews can have on patients? According to Mr. Weiner, physician awareness is growing, but he acknowledged that doctors and office staff worry that encouraging reviews could open the door to potential negative feed- back. Many also think word-of-mouth referrals are more effective. "Data shows that even when someone gets a personal referral, they still go out and look Growing your number of online reviews About the sources Lance Kugler, MD Assistant professor Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute Omaha, Nebraska Trent Richards, MD Tanner Clinic Layton, Utah Josh Weiner President and chief operating officer Solutionreach Salt Lake City, Utah References 1. Daskivich TJ, et al. Online physician ratings fail to predict actual performance on measures of quality, value, and peer review. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2018;25:401–407. 2. Hanauer DA, et al. Public awareness, perception, and use of online physician rating sites. JAMA. 2014;311:734–5. 3. How patients use online reviews. Software Advice. www. softwareadvice.com/resources/ how-patients-use-online-reviews, 4. Yaraghi N, et al. How online quality ratings influence patients' choice of medical providers: Con- trolled experimental survey study. J Med Internet Res. 2018;20:e99. continued on page 100 you up online," Mr. Weiner said. "In addition, reviews impact [search engine optimization]. They represent about 15% of the search ranking. In other words, they also help you get found, so it's a big deal." Dr. Richards said he thinks physicians in established practices might underestimate the value of online reviews. "Online reviews can help patients have confidence in a new physician. They are able to read about how others have had a great expe- rience, which makes them feel confident in the physician's ability to care for them. I think they are vital for anyone who is looking to recruit new patients," Dr. Richards said. How do doctors encourage patients to take the time to give ratings and reviews online? The first thing is to ask, Mr. Weiner said. "It's ideal to ask in person, and it's more effective

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