Debunking healthcare listings management: Why it’s not as difficult as you think

Brands today are grappling with unprecedented challenges of customer acquisition and loyalty due to one common issue: the centralization of choices.

Consumers have power like never before. All the information they need to make or validate a decision lives online, and access is at their fingertips. This truth prevails across industries — from retail to hospitality and especially in healthcare.

It may seem like healthcare organizations are locked in a losing battle to the vast and complex web. Physician information gets pulled from countless data sources, then dispersed across third-party destinations. According to research by Doctor.com, patients “shop around” for healthcare, visiting at least 2–3 websites before choosing a provider. So, the question becomes, how do you keep track of it all? From basic functions — like finding a telephone number — to reading physician reviews, the patient journey largely unfolds on sites outside of an organization’s purview. Right?

Not so fast. After healthcare organizations stopped trying to compete with (or ignore) this new reality, they discovered that managing provider and location data across an ever-growing list of third-party sites is not just possible, but it’s also more simple than they once believed.

A brief history of healthcare listings management
As organizations took their first steps to control listings, developing an in-house solution initially seemed logical. But this approach quickly grew unsustainable: Automated verification calls, direct mailings, and conflicting variations of data requirements led to endless frustrations and finally drove them to seek outside help.

Tech companies sprang into action, addressing this challenge like they did for other early-stage industries: hiring overseas contractors to log in as each healthcare organization and manually make changes on its behalf. But many sites actively block these vendors’ access. Instead, they update their systems with data from external sources, overwriting the accurate work that had already been done.

Listings management in 2020
Fast-forward to today, and companies have developed more inventive ways to fill the gap in healthcare data management. Some, of course, have proven effective while others have failed to meet this new challenge.

The shotgun approach: This strategy casts a wide net, attempting to accommodate as many sites and industries as possible. As a result, the solutions are very simple and lack focus. Niche, vertical-specific resources — like Healthgrades and WebMD, for example — remain outside of their domain. Companies that take this approach and create generic networks spin their value as offering more “coverage” than competitors and improving SEO. Today, however, this claim no longer holds water.

The façade: More troubling, perhaps, are the companies that throw a “veneer” over listings instead of updating the data source itself. While everything may look polished and accurate, underneath it all, the information remains disorganized, and profiles will revert to the original bad data if a contract is canceled — putting an organization back at square one.

The power broker: Some companies simply pass hospital and provider data to aggregators, which then make it available to any site that’s interested. But this approach has considerable shortcomings too. Notably, many third-party companies either don’t use this data at all or devalue it in their data chain.

The solution provider — a clear choice for healthcare: Patient behavior is constantly evolving — including how they search for care. To keep up, healthcare organizations will need a listings management solution that can take disparate data flows, standardize them, and transpose them to all the right places. Today’s web strategy requires a different approach — one that prioritizes partnerships and the ecosystem on a more holistic level. This need has given rise to the most modern and nuanced method of listings management yet.

Solution providers are able to claim and secure profiles for physicians and physicians of affiliated hospitals, push data to the right channels through credible sources, and troubleshoot quickly if an issue arises. Compared to other methods, which make listings management hard to both measure and quantify, they can track patient traffic and conversions, demonstrating much more tangible value overall.

Doctor.com, a Press Ganey solution, has built exclusive partnerships with the most visited healthcare sites and directories to ensure physician and location accuracy across all major platforms. With advanced analytics, healthcare organizations are able to seamlessly track both listings accuracy and patient engagement. More than 200 hospitals — and over 30,000 private practices — rely on its robust listings management solution to easily syndicate data to every place patients are searching for care.

Listings management is a messy business. Nowhere is this truer than healthcare, where the data is complex, often interwoven, and not uniformly aligned with the consumer web. As market consolidation accelerates and industry-specific category sites emerge, it is crucial to partner with a company that both deeply understands and is embedded within the data ecosystem. As a result, healthcare organizations will streamline the listings management process, ensure patients always get the right information, and make things easier today and moving forward.

 

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