Imagine if your patients were given carte blanche to edit your hospital or medical practice website based on their own experience. Would the copy change? Are you what you say you are?
We’re in an age of consumerism when everyone has access to information via the web. People often make decisions about healthcare providers based on what they read on the company site, but most often by reading other consumer reviews. Your web presence can determine whether or not a patient will even call or make an appointment in the first place. But once the patient has a real–life experience with a provider, they can confidently determine if they would return or if they would recommend. And others listen!
My mom was an informed patient. She loved most of her providers but was never intimidated about speaking up when there was a problem. On one particular occasion, I had brought her to a wound care clinic with a wound care specialist. According to his online profile, the wound specialist was highly qualified, which raised our confidence. His smiling photo presented a friendly, approachable persona. But once we got into the clinic, we found him to be abrupt, rude and disrespectful to both his patients and staff.
Since my 86 year-old mom was dealing with long term wound care, we were told to expect weekly appointments at the center. When it came time to check out and schedule the next appointment, my mom simply told the scheduler, “That won’t be necessary. I won’t be back.” The scheduler looked shocked and asked if there was a problem. My mom respectfully explained, “I find the doctor to be totally disrespectful. I have choices for where I go. I plan to find a physician who treats his patients and his staff with more respect.” And we left.
Every healthcare encounter is filled with individual moments of truth. Those moments of truth are defined as the moments when your patients decide if you are what you say you are. If my mom had been allowed to edit the web site verbiage she would have added a note under the doctor’s qualifications that read, “He has the right training, but be prepared to tolerate rude and disrespectful behavior.”
My mother wasn’t the type to bash a provider (or anyone for that matter) online. She quietly voted with her feet like millions of other consumers who don’t post their comments. Remember that; for every one patient who speaks up, there are 15-20 who quietly slip away.
How are you determining if you are what you say you are during every touchpoint?