Editor’s note:Today’s post is from Reed Mollins, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Doctor.com, which helps doctors improve their online presence. Doctor.com uses Acer Chromebooks to gather patients’ reviews of doctors and the medical office experience, so patients can make more informed choices about their doctors.
Most of us wouldn’t dream of choosing a restaurant or a hotel without reading online reviews. So why not use reviews for something really important, like the doctors we visit? However, doctor reviews have been historically scarce online. While 80 percent of patients seek out reviews before they make doctor appointments, according to our research, only about half of medical providers have any reviews to share. At Doctor.com, we’re closing the gap by helping practitioners gather more reviews on site—using Chromebooks—just as patients finish their appointments, when their experiences are fresh in their minds.
When we built the Doctor.com platform in 2012, we searched for devices that would make it easy for patients to submit reviews at medical establishments (instead of asking people to post reviews from home, which few people choose to do). The devices had to be easily accessible for people of all ages and technical ability, and they had to be problem-free so busy front-office staff didn’t have to deal with software updates or hardware problems. Since we planned to buy thousands of devices, they needed to be affordable on a startup’s budget, but also professional looking—and since we were managing sensitive healthcare data, the operating system had to be secure.
Chromebooks from Acer ticked all the boxes. As Kim Stagg, our Director of Client Operations, points out, the touchscreen models are appealing to tech-savvy patients, while people who prefer a standard keyboard can simply type in their reviews. Chromebooks are well-priced for a modestly funded startup like ours; over the past five years, we’ve placed roughly 4,000 of them (and counting!) in medical offices around the country. The Acer Chromebooks look sleek and come in white, blending in well with modern medical practices. The office staff only need to turn the Chromebooks on, enter a device code the first time they’re used, and leave them at a checkout desk or post-op room where patients are waiting.
Protecting patients’ privacy is critical when you’re asking them to talk about their healthcare experiences. With Chromebooks, we don’t need to think about security, since it’s built into the operating system. We don’t even need to worry about updates to the OS, since they automatically run in the background.
David Murray, our Chief Technology Officer, has seen significant increased team efficiency through our use of Chrome Enterprise license to centrally manage the Chromebooks, saving our company time and money. In addition, his team was able to quickly build a custom Chrome extension that gathers each Chromebook’s unique identification data so that we know exactly which screens to deliver to the patients who are entering their reviews. Using Chrome’s kiosk mode, we can customize screens for each medical office, including doctor names. If the healthcare provider wants to add or remove doctor names, we can do that remotely in the admin console, and updates are pushed automatically to the right Chromebooks.
Healthcare is expensive and complicated. Doctors can help patients to make better choices when there are comprehensive reviews about the provider and the practice. Just a few months after placing Chromebooks in medical offices, we can show doctors how their reviews have increased significantly, and that they turn up in more places online. Without our Chromebooks, we’d have a much harder time encouraging patients to share their experiences.