Robust Online Presence Needed to Meet Expectations of Today’s Patients

Psychiatric TimesVol 41, Issue 3

Here's how a good online reputation can help clinicians provide a positive patient experience.



It used to be that the only things that mattered when choosing clinicians were their (mostly word-of-mouth) reputation, referrals, and how quickly you could snag a spot in their often-packed schedules. But that is changing. Today, patients have a consumer mindset, and they are demanding more access to information about their health care professionals.

We have the internet and social media to thank for this change. Just like they would pick a spot for dinner, individuals seeking health care services are turning to online reviews. These reputation sites have become gospel among some demographics, especially younger patients. Patients “doctor shop” via Instagram and TikTok amid the rise of doctor influencers on these platforms.

What does all this mean for clinicians? First, clinicians need to be more “online”—if not now, soon, as this trend is not going anywhere. Second, clinicians need to pay attention to the things that drive good online reputation. No. 1 on that list? A positive patient experience.

Changing Factors Driving Patient Loyalty

Elevated patient expectations

The modern patient is an informed consumer, seeking a health care journey that transcends traditional boundaries. The pivotal role of patient experience highlights a significant shift. Health care professionals are now navigating a landscape where data-driven insights and predictive analytics are key to meeting heightened expectations.

Data not only win over customers, but they also count directly toward the bottom line. This year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services doubled the weight of patient experience metrics in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems patient survey.

The digital doctor’s persona

In this digital era, the clinician’s role extends beyond the office. Social media has emerged as a powerful platform for health care providers to establish trust and build loyalty in their communities.

By sharing their authentic selves, experiences, and expertise online, they can connect with patients on a more personal level, creating a sense of community and trust that traditional advertising strategies often fail to achieve. Although this trend is still fairly nascent, confined to a small but growing community on social platforms, it will continue to grow.

Influence of online platforms

The rise of health care grading systems and data platforms signifies a critical shift in how patients make health care decisions. Clinicians must learn to adeptly navigate these digital arenas, understanding that their online presence and reputation are integral to attracting and retaining patients in this tech-savvy era.

Responding to the Digital Shift

Rather than emulating the typical influencer model, health care professionals should focus on authentic communication. This involves sharing meaningful insights, engaging in public health discussions, and demystifying medical processes and advancements.

It also means demonstrating health care innovation. By showcasing and discussing novel treatments and technologies that improve safety and enhance patient experience, clinicians can position themselves at the forefront of their field. Such genuine engagement will resonate more deeply with a patient base seeking reliable and relatable health care guidance.

The Importance of Patient Experience

As the digital revolution reshapes health care, patient experience has emerged as pivotal in increasing loyalty, transcending mere clinical outcomes. This paradigm shift recognizes the patient journey as a holistic experience in which every interaction—from initial contact to posttreatment care—contributes to the overall perception of care quality. Now more than ever, the nuances of this experience are crucial to defining patient satisfaction and loyalty.

Harnessing emerging technology

Technology, when thoughtfully integrated, can be a catalyst in enhancing patient experience, but it requires solutions that are adaptable, convenient, and safe. The ideal technological integration enhances diagnostic accuracy, patient safety, and care quality while being adaptable to various clinical settings.

Focusing beyond technology

Patient experience is a mosaic of interactions that extend far beyond technological advancements. It encompasses the nuances of clinical care, the efficiency of administrative processes, and logistical considerations such as accessibility and facility amenities. Clinicians must cultivate an environment of empathy, clear communication, and personalized care to elevate the patient experience to new heights.

A successful practice hinges on more than medical expertise; clinicians need to create a harmonious blend of technology, enhanced patient experience, and meaningful digital engagement. By embracing this multifaceted approach, clinicians can meet the evolving demands of patients and emerge as pioneers in a patient-centered, digitally forward health care landscape.

Dr Kolovich is chief medical officer and cofounder of OXOS Medical, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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