News Headlines Article

How hospitals hope to boost ratings on Yelp, HealthGrades, ZocDoc and Vitals
Washington Post

Laura Markowski used to worry every time a text alerted her that a patient had posted a negative review online of a doctor at her health-care system. She’s in charge of “reputation management” at a group of hospitals and clinics in Virginia, and it’s her job to monitor complaints about rudeness, long waits, lack of face time with a doctor or something more serious.

But after several months of reviewing comments in real time on nearly a dozen Web sites, including Healthgrades.com, ZocDoc.com and Google Plus, as well as Facebook and Twitter, she’s calmer. Most reviews have been “one-offs for different physicians,” she said, not focused on just one doctor or group practice that would raise a red flag.

Markowski is part of a new and urgent effort by hospitals and health systems to track and control their online reputations. As out-of-pocket costs for health care have risen, people are increasingly shopping for their medical care and comparing reviews. And younger consumers who have grown up on Yelp and Rate My Professors expect the same seamless, digital experience with health care that they have used in other aspects of their lives.

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