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into the lives of potentially hundreds of
thousands of people. It’s the type of story-
telling that instantly draws people in.
2 Remember the internet is forever.
What goes on the internet stays
on the internet. That’s why it’s import-
ant to keep tabs on everything said about
you online, Katcher says. She recom-
mends working with a brand management
company such as Binary Fountain or
Reputation.com to monitor what is said
about your hospital and employees on
social media and review websites. It’s also
helpful to set up Google Alerts for your
hospital name and use a social media man-
agement tool such as Hootsuite Analytics or
TweetDeck to measure the impact of your
Remember that most consumer rating
websites will not remove reviews, even
if the hospital is portrayed negatively. In
some cases, when a review is defama-
tory or libelous, you’ll succeed in getting
it deleted—unfortunately, most likely
only after it has already been seen by site
3 Always take action. A negative
comment or review is inevitable. But
it’s possible to turn an unfavorable com-
ment into a positive situation. A challenging
or discouraging comment should be taken
seriously and viewed as an opportunity to
make a change.
“Some people might look at a 96 percent
patient satisfaction rating and be pleased,”
Katcher says. “And, that score certainly
helps your reputation because a lot of satis-
fied patients are likely recommending you to
other people. But that also means 4 percent
of people were not happy with the service
or care they received, and those patients
and their concerns need to be addressed,”
If a patient writes a harsh review online,
don’t react immediately. Instead, take a deep
breath and follow these approaches:
> Respond on the same channel. If a
person tweets a complaint, respond with a
tweet. If it’s shared on Facebook, respond
> Be genuine. People can tell when you
aren’t being authentic or sincere, Osborn
> Don’t be sarcastic or defensive. “Don’t
deny there was a problem or blame patients,”
Osborn says. “It will only make the situation
worse.” Rather than telling patients they are
wrong, ask questions about their complaint
and show you take their concerns seriously.
> Respect patient privacy. You can’t
disclose details about patients, even if they
are posting about their experience on the
internet. Be careful with the language you
use and facts you choose to discuss.
> Invite private meetings. Encourage
people to call the hospital (and provide
an actual person’s name and number) or
meet personally with them. This shows
that the hospital is willing to give one-on-
one time to customers who have concerns.
4 Leverage employees. Your employ-
ees are your best assets, Katcher
says. Their passion for their profession
make them the ideal candidates for com-
municating the hospital’s mission statement
However, employees can also do the
most damage online. “People tend to pay
more attention to comments and opinions
of people who are ‘insiders,’ ” Osborn says.
“If employees are not treated well or don’t
love their job, it will be reflected in how
they talk about their work online. If your
facility doesn’t have a good internal rep-
utation and work culture, the external
reputation won’t be good, either.”
Hospitals need to provide training about
what’s allowed and what’s not allowed to
be shared, Osborn says.
5 Highlight positivity. Be sure to
recognize and respond to posi-
tive comments and praise, Osborn says. If
patients have a good experience and share
about it on social media or a review web-
site, be quick to respond and say “thank
you” for sharing about their experience.
People use social media to interact and
engage with other people and companies,
and they will appreciate knowing their
review or comment has been seen. •
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
and other social media channels
are a great way to connect with
current and potential patients.
And millennials are not the only
ones using them; baby boomers
are also actively engaged.
To effectively use social
media, David Osborn,
senior vice president of
inSight Advisory Solutions at
HealthTrust, offers these tips:
Keep it simple.
Don’t use clinical or scientific
language. Maintain around a
sixth-grade reading level when
Keep it light.
The hospital is already a
frightening place to many
people. Organizations that
come across online as being
cold, clinical and sterile places
aren’t going to make people feel
Keep it interesting.
Your social media channels
don’t need to be rehashes of
dry and boring press releases.
Instead, provide education,
health coaching, exciting news
about the hospital and input on
trending health topics.
Third Quarter 2017 | The Source 65
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