Doctors, ignore millennials’ online reviews at your peril

Physicians who think they can safely remain under the radar of online reviews should sit up and take notice. That’s because millennials will soon outnumber seniors as consumers of healthcare—and millennials look to the internet to check out their friends’ referrals.

As more healthcare providers transition to value-based care—where the name of the game is managing the health of large patient populations—millennials will be the most sought-after patients of the near future, reported Physicians Practice.

Indeed, a 2015 survey by PNC Healthcare of 5,000 consumers across age groups found several trends among millennials that will drive sweeping changes in healthcare. It found that almost half of millennials and Generation-Xers incorporate healthcare providers' online reviews into their shopping process.

And, if you’re a physician and you don’t show up in the first five results of a Google search, you might as well not exist with millennials, according to Physicians Practice. "Physicians need to ensure their safety in this new market by using everything in their power to succeed, including online reputation management," the article noted.

That means responding to negative critiques. Practices must be willing to make changes to their business operations based on reviews and they also need to communicate the fact that patient feedback drove those changes, according to Alex Membrillo in a recent piece for Medical Economics. It’s how and when you handle negative reviews that can help your practice stand out from the competition, he said.