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Time to Accentuate the Negative

10 Unexpected Keywords in Reviews that Need Your Attention Now 


Impact of Online Reviews

Studies show that a single one star overall rating increase can result in a revenue increase of up to nine percent. In other words, the improvement from a 3-star to 4-star rating, for example, is directly correlated to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra revenue each year.

It is common knowledge that online reviews have a tremendous impact on healthcare organizations. But what are the things that make the difference between a great review and an okay one? Are there surprising commonalities found in poor reviews that could be addressed by healthcare organizations in order to get better reviews in the future?

Our Solutionreach analysts wanted to find an answer to these questions. To do so, they used the latest in AI technology to comb through 20,000 online reviews, looking for statistically significant trends in keywords found in the reviews of healthcare organizations.

The objective of the study was to determine if there were recurring themes in positive and negative reviews. Hundreds of thousands of keywords were analyzed to determine which ones had a frequency that was unusually high in comparison with the norm.


The results were fascinating. Yes, there were many of the types of words you would expect. But there were many surprises as well. The following unusual words were found to be highly correlated to negative results in reviews. This may mean that there was a remarkably high rate of them found in one-star reviews or the occurrence of that word meant the difference between a top review and a mid-tier review.

It is time to look a little more closely at the surprising things that may be putting off your patients—and hurting your overall online ratings. Here are ten unexpected keywords in reviews that need your attention now.

One-Star Review Keywords

This first group refers to keywords that are found in statistically significant rates in one-star ratings.




The word “gloves” was frequently found in one-star reviews. The word was, unsurprisingly, associated with poor hygiene issues. Patients would complain that gloves were not changed often enough, were not thrown away, or seemed dirty.


One-star reviews also had an unusually high frequency of the word “hold.” These were in reference to being put on hold on the telephone. It is important to note that many of these reviews may have even been left by people who were not yet patients. Your reputation is on the line from the minute someone contacts your healthcare organization.


This unexpected word popped up with high regularity in one-star reviews. The word “cattle” was typically found in phrases such as “herded like cattle.” This shows that patients do not want to feel like one in a crowd or just a number. Personalized care is critical to avoid this concern.


Another common keyword found in one-star reviews was “balance.” This was most often in relation to confusion over the balance owed to the healthcare organization. This word demonstrates the importance of being clear and transparent when it comes to a patient’s bill.


Keywords Separating High and Average Reviews

This second section of keywords covers those that were found to be differentiators between high reviews and mid-tier ones.



Paperwork continues to be a true pain point for patients and a major differentiating factor between a perfect review and a less-than-perfect one. The use of technology—specifically a digital review process—is one way to alleviate this concern.


The word “privacy” itself doesn’t come across as very surprising when thinking of a word that might appear in lower reviews. What is interesting, however, is the context in which the word is used in these reviews. Many complaints about privacy relate to the front desk being too loud when it comes to the reason for a visit or the audible sharing of other personal information.


Patients care a lot about your bathroom. Cleanliness, accessibility, and maintenance levels all matter more than you might imagine. According to a study by Bradley Corp, 64 percent of Americans have made a conscious decision to use a business based on the fact it has cleaner, well-maintained restrooms. In a healthcare setting, where germs can be easily passed back and forth, bathrooms mean even more.


Along the lines of the word “cattle” is the word “assembly.” Once again, personalized care is front and center for patients. The feeling of being on an “assembly line” is one thing that will drop your reviews.


Do you ever think about your seating when it comes to the patient experience? Perhaps you should. When the word “seat” is found in a review, it moves a potentially high review to a mid-tier one. The word usually arose in conjunction with lack of seating in a waiting room or being told to “have a seat and wait.”


First impressions are a major distracting element of a patient’s experience. Reviews with the word “impression” include every aspect of the patient experience—from the exterior of the building to lobby and the front desk friendliness and more.



Protect Your Online Reputation

Your online reputation is dependent on things you might expect—doctor interaction, wait times, and care. But peppered throughout your reviews are also keywords that direct you to unexpected things that are damaging your reputation. These are words that may have never caught your eye but present a huge opportunity in disguise.

When time is taken to look at the negative, healthcare organizations can find out what issues need to be fixed and make changes. That’s when accentuating the negative can become a big positive.