Facebook Rankings in Healthcare Marketing

As marketers, we know there are several benefits to being active on social media. Now, a new study suggests that Facebook ratings correlate with an important operations metric — readmission rates.

A study performed at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that hospitals with higher readmission rates had lower Facebook ratings.

Facebook allows patients to comment about their experiences online with the same five-star rating they use to review movies or restaurants. It is common for users to rate in the extremes– meaning that people are more likely to give a review if they have either a very good or very bad experience.

So are these ratings and comments effective? Do they really have an impact on your health system? Massachusetts General Hospital wanted to find out. Through their research, they found out that nearly 93.3 percent of the hospitals with low readmission rates had a Facebook page with an average of 4.15 stars, while about 82.4 percent of hospitals with high readmission rates had Facebook pages with an average of 4.05 stars, a full tenth of a point lower.

Healthcare organizations should see social media as a tool to gather data that can affect changes in delivering patient care and improve patient experience.

How marketing and operations can work together:

1. If your social media monitor encounters a negative review on Facebook, they should always respond but take the conversation offline. For example, acknowledge the comment and ask the reviewer to email situation specifics to further discuss and resolve the issue.

2. Track responses to determine if there is a recurring theme that is causing patients to give your organization poor Facebook ratings.

3. Work with your operational team to address the issue.

4. Let reviewers know that the situation has been addressed and explain the changes your organization is making to avoid similar problems in the future.

If your organization has lower than desired Facebook ratings, create an internal effort to improve these ratings. Brainstorm with your staff to think of creative ways to implement the effort. For example, give a gift to the nurse with the most mentions on social media. Make it fun and something engaging for employees.

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