Busting Myths Series #4


Myth Busted!

Busting Myths with Marie Olesen

Separating Fact from Fiction

Myth #4: All ratings and reviews are considered equal

Busted: Consumers demand transparency in the form of ratings and reviews that are authentic, statistically-valid, relevant, recent and consistent.

Reviews are here to stay. They’re the new advertising and the most effective practice growth strategy in years. Consumers reward transparency. You must be willing to share the complete story of your patient experiences, good and bad. Consumers expect to see a believable distribution of 1-5 scores that mirror what they see on major consumer sites like Amazon and Google. While this seems risky, it’s not.

92% of consumers now read online reviews

Unfortunately, many doctors still fear ratings and reviews. Either they’ve had a bad experience or heard about a negative patient having far more impact than is justified. The longer you wait or use a partial or wrong strategy, the more competitive advantage you lose. With the right strategy, you can influence the messaging on your website and in searches as you learn what matters to your patients the most.

  1. In the cherry pick strategy, the practice only asks patients who are highly satisfied to write reviews. Unfortunately, there are too many 5 star reviews for believability and there are very few reviews because those asked don’t always comply. Still it’s worth the effort and important for third-party sites.
  2. With the in-office approach, practices use an iPad to garner reviews. This involves disguising IP addresses and potentially making patients uncomfortable. There’s a risk that the practice will game the system with fake patients.
  3. Lastly, there’s an inclusive strategy that seeks feedback from all patients consistently. It’s automatic and ongoing. Everybody wins.


Consumers want 100% verified reviews they can trust. Verified reviews differentiate your practice and help consumers make informed decisions more quickly. Google’s new AdWords™ focuses on verified reviews, validating the need for authenticity. They’re demanding that practices use a byline indicating that the reviews are verified. Do you really want to risk challenging Google and the future traffic to your site?

95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores

Statistically Valid

Many doctors complain that their ratings do not accurately reflect practice quality. They’re right. Press Ganey’s standard for statistical validity is a minimum of 30 reviews. Any sites where you have less than 30 reviews are problematic and effectively providing false information. This is why it’s so important that your own website contain the ratings and review information that consumers seek.

88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into purchase decisions


The volume of reviews increases believability. The greater the number of reviews, the more convincing the actual percentages become. The expected outcome is speedier conversions and greater growth. It’s important to have a large body of reviews, as customers are reading more reviews now than in all years past.

88% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to ten reviews vs. 84% in 2014


Recent reviews are also essential to consumers. Review content is perishable. Therefore, you need reviews that arrive consistently. Long breaks between reviews and older reviews, especially for medical services, are less trustworthy and less indicative of current quality. Actual dates of reviews are important to consumers because recency counts.

44% say a review must be written within one month to be relevant


Consistency is one of the most important attributes of your ratings and review strategy. It allows the consumer to evaluate the patient experience at your practice with some certainty. Consistency is important for search engines and rankings as well.

The Myth is Busted

Using patient feedback to protect and grow your practice

Verified reviews help practices understand their patient experiences and benefit from improving them. If you’re concerned about your scores, you must have a feedback system that enables you to use data to target opportunities to improve patient experiences and grow revenue predictably. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Here are two insights from over 2.5M responses to surveys by RealPatientRatings™:

  • Proactive pre-op contact increases Overall Procedure Satisfaction by 38%. Patients who responded that they had no pre-op contact rated their Overall Procedure Satisfaction at only 52%. Patients who were contacted proactively rated their Overall Procedure Satisfaction at 72%. (n=42,045) If you don’t have routine pre-op communication protocols, this data confirms the importance of pre-op communication to patients and how much it impacts their satisfaction, retention and referral.
  • Successful problem resolution efforts increase Overall Satisfaction by 88%. Everyone is paranoid about negative reviews. The reality is less than 5% of patients’ report experiencing an unresolved problem (n=5556 of 111,200). More astonishingly, patients who were highly satisfied with problem resolution reported 81% overall satisfaction with their surgery experience. This compares to the 43% score from patients who were merely satisfied how the practice resolved their problem. You can protect your reputation by having a system that enables you to find disappointed patients before they write a negative review and resolve their issues to your ultimate benefit.

If you’re interested in specific insights to protect and grow your practice, ask us about our new PxInsight™ assessment.

To discuss more, please call our team!
1.800.267.1228, ext. 1

All stats sourced from Vendasta, BrightLocal, Business2community, Bazaarvoice, webrepublic, reprevive, Econsultancy, Reevoo, and Social Media Today.

RealPatientRatings - Marie Olesen Founder and Chief Patient Experience Officer