patient feedback appToday’s healthcare providers are getting savvier at social engagement – and for good reason. In a 2012 survey, 41% of patients said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.

Dr. Kevin Campbell, a nationally known cardiologist, had this to say about patient feedback in his recent interview in Forbes:

“Social media provides patients an opportunity to easily interact with physicians, nurses and other patients…. to express opinions and share patient experiences.”

However, patient experiences are not always positive, and patients do not hesitate to use social channels to vent.  How can your organization efficiently leverage social and mobile outreach to enhance your healthcare brand, while mitigating the negative buzz?

Channel the Negative Feedback – Offer a “Complainer” App

Customer feedback can be an eye-opening experience.  Remember Domino’s Pizza’s “humble pie” campaign of 2011, which helped the brand turn the tables in public opinion and quickly improve sales?

If your organization is struggling with negative patient feedback on social channels, offer them a dedicated mobile channel – a user-friendly app allowing them to enter immediate feedback in the context of their healthcare experience.

By offering them a feedback-ready mobile app, you are telling your patients: “We are listening. We are ready to address the problems.” Patients will appreciate the opportunity to vent directly to you, as well as the certainty of receiving a prompt response.  Your app can allow the users to take pictures, enter comments, and select a topic or category from a drop-down.  But don’t forget to ensure that your patient’s complaints are promptly responded to!

Include Context-Aware Patient Feedback Options in Your Apps

Today, nearly two thirds of American adults own a Smartphone, and 62 of them used their phone to get information about a health condition in the past year, according to Pew Research.  Offering a portfolio of targeted mobile apps is a must for any hospital looking to improve its competitive advantage and patient engagement.

So, why not include patient feedback options in all of your patient-facing apps? Interactive, context-aware functions can make these options unobtrusive and timely. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Use geofencing to pop up an exit survey when a patient leaves your facility
  • Use beacons to track dwell times in your waiting rooms and pop up a “vent board”
  • Pop up a coupon for a free coffee if the wait time exceeded X minutes (hours)
  • Respond to entered feedback with an immediate message of gratitude.

The MobileSmith platform allows you to quickly design and test different feedback functions in your branded apps – you can modify them dynamically and ensure that your strategy works.

Use Mobile to Target the Root of the Problem

Mobile can be a powerful ally in managing your hospital’s online reputation and social buzz.  But if patients are genuinely unhappy with the service, some of this frustration and negative patient feedback will inevitably spill out on social media.  Mobile apps are not a panacea.

Fortunately, mobile can help you target the root of the problem – be it long wait times, insufficient information, or high cost of services. We at MobileSmith have been working with hospitals for many years and have identified many areas where introducing mobile tools can improve the quality of service and patient engagement.

Struggling with negative social buzz?  Reach out to us, and we’ll figure out together if there’s an app for that!