Understanding the Power of Consumer and Patient Sentiment

About New-Wave Social Media and Medical Marketing

By Staff Reporters

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With social media and healthcare data becoming a focus for many healthcare businesses, hospitals and even medical practices, how are doctors taking advantage of consumer and new-wave patient sentiment?

Businesses like clinics and medical practices have more power than ever to start gleaning insights from online patient conversations to measure sentiment, and ultimately put power back into the hands of patient-consumers.

Source: IBM.com


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6 Responses

  1. Doctors Feel Helpless Over Patients’ Online Slams

    Many doctors fret about the power the Internet has given disgruntled patients, competitors – anybody really – to bash practices more efficiently than any town gossip could ever imagine.

    A growing number of consumer review sites – one expert estimates there are close to a hundred – let patients evaluate their doctors, and the results can be brutal. Then there are the online chats, Facebook pages, and blogs where patients can praise or criticize doctors. The doctors feel they can’t fight back publicly because of patient privacy protections.

    Not only are the review sites a burgeoning industry, they are also spawning another: companies that help doctors (and other businesses) fight bad reviews and create a more positive online image. Even doctors who don’t hire these companies may feel compelled to try blogging, tweeting, and writing Facebook updates. In an extreme effort to protect their reputations, some doctors and dentists have required patients to sign contracts that give medical professionals the right to suppress negative online comments.

    Source: Stacey Burling, Philadelphia Inquirer [1/6/12]

    PS Docs – get a clue – now you know how some patients feel.


  2. “The World is Flat”

    Thomas Friedman described empowerment of individuals years ago in his book, “The World is Flat.” Arguably, accountability to consumers does more good for the community than bad – even if rumors of mistreatment are occasionally inaccurate. Even then, most in the community take into consideration the unreliable nature of rumors when reading doctors’ reviews.

    Nevertheless, rumors carry weight. And if a doctor seems to attract one bad review after another, there comes a point when the rumors become more credible than paid advertisements.

    Consider this: When the votes are tallied, and a doctor in the community is unanimously determined to be a rascal that one’s relatives should be warned about, doesn’t that make the reputation repair guy an accomplice in obstructing informed consent? Where’s the honor in that job?

    Personally, I think marketplace transparency is a faster and cheaper way of policing healthcare than waiting on a decision from a state board.

    But what I think doesn’t matter. Transparency is an inevitable consequence of improved communications, and it won’t make everyone happy. Because of the nature of transparency, reputation repair is a dying art. Who couldn’t see that coming?



  3. Sermo Founder Leaves For A New Start Up

    Darrell – More than five years after launching the heralded and closely tracked Sermo web site that formed a burgeoning online community of physicians, Dan Palestrant MD has left day-to-day operations to form a new venture that he hopes will reinvigorate healthcare by directly connecting doctors and patients.


    Talk about physician-patient sentiment!

    Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™


  4. Thanks, David. This looks promising.

    A physician-led revolt against increasingly costly and dangerous stakeholders who quietly complicate payment for leverage is not unlike a delousing for the good of the community, in my opinion.

    Kick butt, Dr. Palestrant.



  5. More Education Needed on Social, Behavioral Health Determinants: AAMC

    Physicians can do a better job of understanding how lifestyle, behavior, and economic status affect people’s health, according to a new report from the Association of American Medical Colleges that is designed to help educators understand which behavioral and social sciences to include in their curricula.

    The report also aims to create a framework to help prepare physicians in training to “address complex social challenges and unhealthy behaviors that can lead to premature death, chronic disease, and healthcare disparities,” according to an AAMC news release.

    Behavioral and social determinants of health such as smoking, diet, exercise, and socio-economic status account for more than 50% of premature disease and death in the nation, according to the report.

    Source: Paul Barr, Modern Physician [1/13/12]


  6. New consumer agency launches bank tell-all website

    The nation’s new consumer protection agency is about to start naming names, albeit in baby steps.

    Despite vocal opposition from the financial industry, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will launch a website that will allow consumers to browse through complaints filed against large financial companies.


    Website users will be able to see the name of the company targeted by each complaint, the nature of the issue, the company response — including timeliness — and the zip code of the complainer.

    Users can also generate charts showing which banks attract the most complaints, which issues are hardest to resolve and which regions of the country seem most irritating by bank practices.



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