The healthcare industry remains in turmoil. Many of the proposals should benefit smaller and rural hospitals. Plenty of consultants are at the ready to help you take advantage of these opportunities and charge you handsomely for it. Cash flow is ever more scarce and compliance ever more difficult and expensive.

One area that does not get much attention in rural hospitals is the online patient reviews of your staff physicians. This is a mistake and driving this revenue is not only inexpensive but can drive a significant ROI. About one-third of physician online reviews are less than stellar. The overall average is about four reviews on the voluntary review sites such as Healthgrades and RateMDs. Once the prospective patient finds your physician, these review sites offer other physician opportunities that may be 50-100 miles away and perhaps with higher reviews. Away goes your staff physician's patient opportunity and additional revenue. Along with your physician's revenue loss, potential hospital revenue of 1-3 times that amount goes away. Their businesses are using you to sell advertising.

Rural physicians have fewer reviews so an adverse review can have a great impact. Eighty-four percent (84%) of prospective patients search a physician on the web before making a decision. In most cases, less than two-tenths of one percent (0.2%) of active patients are making that web reputation. Statistically, there are more than 500 new patient opportunities per year for each physician on the web and forty-six percent (46%) leave without making an appointment.

Some are addressing this situation by asking clearly happy patients to go to a voluntary site and give them a good rating. This is a "better than nothing" solution. Others are relying/waiting on the government mandated sample surveys which will eventually be published. This is a bad idea. The data will be stale when published and, if it was poor, it will also make things worse by lowering reimbursements.

As you work on improving patient and employee satisfaction, you need to be focused on identifying and correcting problems in real time. Why not gather that data in a format to take to the web and reflect how good your staff physicians really are? Some of the large organizations e.g. Cleveland Clinic have built their own software to do just that. That is out of the reach of most.

There are some companies that are starting to address this problem. Ours is one.

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