Word of mouth in healthcare is moving online

By - World Healthcare Journal
Word of mouth in healthcare is moving online

Doctify launched in 2016 with the goal of providing more trust and transparency in healthcare. The network has rapidly grown, working with thousands of top hospitals, clinics and specialists to help them collect patient feedback and publish it online. The founders Stephanie Eltz and Suman Saha have been recognised with multiple industry awards and have been invited to speak regularly about their experiences and mission internationally, including at Buckingham Palace. As Doctify now expands across the globe into multiple markets, both founders also have roles to drive entrepreneurship and innovation within the NHS.

How did two orthopaedic surgeons end up launching a healthtech platform?

Stephanie : It started when I was looking for a specialist myself. I asked a network of colleagues and researched online, but I found the process laborious and unsatisfactory. It occurred to me that, if in this day and age a doctor can’t find the right hospital, clinic or doctor for themselves, how does a patient even start to negotiate the online minefield? I turned to Suman and we started thinking about how we could solve the problem. And so Doctify was born.

“A recent survey revealed that 82 per cent of patients use online provider reviews to make a decision about where to access healthcare”

Suman Saha, Co-founder & Medical Director Doctify

How did you transition from medicine to entrepreneurship?

Stephanie : Three years ago, I decided to take time out from my career as an orthopaedic surgeon to work full time at Doctify. It was a tough choice and I missed looking after patients, but I got time out from my NHS career thanks to a Fellowship that recognised our venture was something that ultimately improves care and helps patients when they need it most.

We work with a top-class team who are all highly talented and pioneers in their own right in other industries. They all believe very passionately in building something in healthcare that could have a positive impact on millions.

What are your thoughts on the balance of a clinical career with an entrepreneurial one?

Stephanie : As a doctor, you have a duty towards your patients and your clinical work has to be prioritised above everything else. We would never compromise on that.

How has patient behaviour changed with new technology?

Suman : The advent of the smartphone and Google have rapidly changed the balance between the patient and the provider. The modern patient is more empowered than ever with access to huge amounts of information online. That poses a challenge and an opportunity for providers. At a time where “fake news” is rife, with an explosion of health-related information from unreliable sources which leads to misinterpretation and confusion, we are striving to bring back trust and transparency online.

Why is patient feedback and reviews of growing importance in the sector?

Suman : Patients now demand, or at the very least expect, what they are used to with other services. They want to read verified reviews, find clear transparent information and easily ultimately book an appointment. All online.

There is a lot of data that shows that patients are placing more and more importance on patient reviews. A recent survey revealed that 82 per cent of patients use online provider reviews to make a decision about where to access healthcare.

It’s commonplace for hospitals to collect feedback internally. However, we have often found that what a patient then sees online, or even on the website of a provider, does reflect the often positive feedback the hospital receives internally. With traditional unverified feedback sources only capturing outliers - very happy or very unhappy patients - making feedback available can actually fill a prospective patient with huge confidence and reassurance.

How can providers manage and promote their online reputation in a fast-growing sector?

Suman : Good visibility, as a healthcare provider, means having a strong, attractive online presence that potential patients can explore, analyse and compare with other providers.

We recommend a more proactive (and digital) approach to feedback. We work with hospitals and their teams to empower them to collect feedback on a daily basis. Crucially, that same feedback can be used and shared internally to drive the right behaviour, while also helping to feed a more representative online reputation for providers.

Is this the commercialisation of healthcare?

Stephanie : Patients are changing. And in fact, patients are not patients now. They are consumers; they are people; they are family and friends of those same people. Our society has undergone a digital revolution. Every other sector has been disrupted and it is therefore even more essential that in healthcare we engage people as well.

How are you breaking new ground in healthcare?

Suman : Doctify has managed to revolutionise a traditionally conservative industry, getting clinicians and hospitals to engage with reviews and transparency. We have built the platform and company with the same values we hold dear as clinicians. We can help hospitals and clinics not only collect but also publish verified feedback in a transparent and trusted way.

“Patients now demand, or at the very least expect, what they are used to with other services. They want to read verified reviews, find clear transparent information and easily ultimately book an appointment. All online”

Stephanie Eltz, Co-founder and CEO

Stephanie : We are excited about the launch of our insurer product which helps provide an industry-first seamless digital experience for members when selecting a provider. It also allows providers to showcase their expertise and feedback to patients.

This seems like a great step forward for patients. But how does this improve care?

Stephanie : We have found that hospitals and clinics are using insights from their patient feedback to make tangible improvements to the level of care they are providing, whether that be around wait-times or bedside manner. These things are important to patients and have a real impact on their care.

What does the future hold for Doctify in the UAE and Saudi?

Suman : Doctify wants to empower people to take things in their hands and be proactive when it comes to their health. We work with some of the best providers in healthcare in the world and will continue that journey and passion with providers in the UAE and Saudi to showcase some of the best in healthcare and ensure the best experience for patients in the region. We have been greatly impressed by the facilities and drive for innovation. It’s an exciting time to work in the region.

Stephanie : In what can be an anxious time, having this background knowledge will provide the very best healthcare experience. We believe that this will empower patients and create a seamless patient journey. Our health is the most precious thing we have and we want to help.

T: +44 20 3411 0652


#whjfeature #whjdoctify #whjdubai #whjdigitalhealth #whjclinicalservices