The Front Door Is NOT Your Hospital’s Website: Why Reputation Management Matters

September 26, 2017

// By Jane Weber Brubaker //

Jane Weber Brubaker, Editor of eHealthcare Strategy & TrendsHospitals and health systems think of their websites as the digital “front door” to their organizations, but before consumers get there, search engine results could steer them away to competitors with higher star ratings and more positive reviews. Reputation is everything.

The sheer number of places consumers post information makes it challenging for healthcare organizations of all sizes. Empowered patients use sites like Google, Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals, Facebook, and Twitter to praise or complain about organizations they do business with. And other patients pay attention to what they say.

The scope of the challenge is magnified as health systems expand through mergers and acquisitions, adding new facilities, locations, and providers that all need to be monitored. Tracking and responding to patient sentiment, and staying current with listings for every physician and care setting across every review site and social media platform, is an essential but daunting task.

HCA logoHCA, headquartered in Nashville, Tennesee, made a determined effort a few years ago to take ownership of its online reputation and profile listings. It was a massively ambitious undertaking for such a large, geographically dispersed system, operating in 20 states with 174 hospitals, more than 1,000 physician clinic locations, and 90 urgent care clinics.

Elizabeth Davis, reputation manager at HCA

Elizabeth Davis, reputation manager at HCA

Two years into the project, in spite of the digital marketing team’s best efforts, they hit the wall. “We knew we really couldn’t continue to do all this work manually. We weren’t even scratching the surface of all those online directories,” says Elizabeth Davis, reputation manager. “To scale our strategies through the enterprise and manually continue to monitor in real time, in addition to maintaining the data on all of our profiles, would have required in our estimate about 25 full-time employees, which needless to say was not in the cards.”

In our latest article, we’ll see:

  • Why HCA began its reputation management journey
  • How marketing proved the value of reputation management to the organization
  • How the program was scaled enterprise-wide through technology adoption
  • How marketing is using the tools to acquire new patients and impact patient experience using data-driven insights

Are your patients and prospects booking appointments with your providers based on what they see in search results? Or are they steering clear?

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