Five-Star Reviews in Healthcare Organizations

April 17, 2023 · By Alison Harris
Patient Engagement Platform

Five-Star Patient Experience

Key performance indicators and public reviews continue to be used by individuals and organizations for measuring performance. From gold stars on chore charts for children, to Amazon reviews for books or healthcare reviews for physician performance, the ubiquitous “five-star review” has become a staple in people’s lives in the 21st century.

Better than Average

A “5-star” hotel indicates a hotel’s highest service, amenities, and price worldwide. A “5-star” dining experience indicates a superior gastronomical experience with exceptional attention to detail from greeting to farewell. Receiving a “5-star” experience has consistently indicated that the experience was unparalleled, absolutely exceptional, and noteworthy, but that is a rapidly changing view.

A ”3-star” review on Amazon should indicate an average or good product, with a “5-star” review indicating an exceptional product. As consumers of products and services become savvier with activities that drive reviews, there has been evidence that they distrust only “5-star” reviews and are more trusting of 4.75-star reviews[1]. However, we also know that a business with only three-star reviews will not be perceived as a good place to go. It’s not going to be seen as “average” or “good” it’s going to be viewed unfavorably.

Average, viewed from a sociological or psychological perspective, is seen as something that needs improvement or is even deficient in today’s high-performance culture. An average student is viewed as a student that is not applying themselves, an average employee is accused of “quiet quitting,” and an average house is viewed as something to avoid. Society has become driven to exceed expectations in all instances. This behavior is not new, it’s something that has often been pursued, but in the past 20 years, there has been a slow transition from 3-stars being acceptable to being something to avoid.

Excellence in Healthecare Organizations

When looking at healthcare practices and organizations, there is an emerging trend of follow-up calls or emails for any review of less than 5-stars from a patient. Why was the office visit not excellent? What can be done to exceed expectations? While these questions are vital to ask to improve any business, it seems to be more urgent in a clinical setting. Perhaps it’s because of the nature of the business; a business centered on human healthcare should be excellent in all parts of the experience. Perhaps it’s because of the need to differentiate when there are many options for patients. Or perhaps it’s simply the nature of the type of people who are in healthcare; those who strive for excellence and care deeply about their patients and want to ensure they represent the best.

As a healthcare practice, receiving a passel of 5-star reviews from happy patients is the gold standard. It assures the healthcare staff that they are engaging, answering questions, being understood, and giving the patient their best. Receiving a 4-star review should mean the same thing, but it often indicates to an administrator that something was “missing” from experience. A follow-up call will often clarify to the reviewer that a 4-star review indicates a possible sub-standard experience and gives the healthcare practice the opportunity to clarify what could have been missing from the visit and correct it for other patients in the future. Letting a patient know how important a 5-star experience is to the organization can benefit both patients and staff.

Public Ratings Make an Impact

Average is no longer good enough, and organizations must strive for exceptional at every interaction. To keep up consistent reviews with good insight is to keep reminding patients of the true power a 5-star review holds and how the review scale holds up in this current environment. Despite 5-star reviews being important, honesty is also a priority. The patient experience should stay honest within reviews while keeping up with the scaling of today. At Well iQ, every interaction has its own individual rating, and the importance of ensuring that all staff engagement continues to support the 5-star environment is as important as the overall 5-star review. Well iQ is a great way to give honest feedback on staff engagement, but also give positive feedback to the healthcare organization about the consensus of the overall patient experience while keeping within the bounds of today’s review standards.

Customized Feedback and Reviews

Positivly impacting patient experience can be a management challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Well iQ’s unique badging system helps healthare orgnaizations focus on the areas of patient engagement and staff experience customized to their organizations and goals.

Request a demo today!


[1] Collinger, T. (2021, May 21). How online reviews influence sales Medill Spiegel Research Center. Medill Spiegel Research Center. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://spiegel.medill.northwestern.edu/how-online-reviews-influence-sales


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