Sentara Healthcare recently published patient survey ratings for its urgent care centers online—becoming the first healthcare system in the country to provide such a level of transparency.

Seven of Sentara’s eight urgent care centers in Virginia have already shared this data online, and the remaining urgent care center is in the process of doing so. While it’s nothing new for hospital systems to track patient experience, it’s less common for that practice to extend to urgent care centers. And Sentara is thought to be the first health organization in the country to post the aggregate patient survey ratings online, according to the Journal of Urgent Care Medicine.

“We want our patients to be comfortable with their provider, and in today’s world we know that means patients will be reading reviews. It’s just a fact of retail, and urgent care is definitely retail now,” said Mark Weisman, MD, Medical Director at Sentara Medical Group.

Dr. Mark Weisman

Dr. Mark Weisman

“Patients have choices and we want their first choice in healthcare to be us. This doesn’t always happen, but we are willing to put our ratings out there and stand behind them.”

Sentara partnered with the National Research Corporation (NRC) to reach 40,000 patients within 1 to 3 days of their visits to urgent care centers. Of those, more than 10,000 patients completed the survey, representing a 27 percent response rate. Those patients were asked to rate their experience on a five-star scale, and results showed an average rating of 4.7.

Not only is the score tremendous, but perhaps even more valuable is that the rating appears as the first organic search result when patients Google urgent care centers in that area.

Weisman said the organization is seeing a bump in urgent care visits this month, but it’s not yet clear if the traffic is due to increased SEO visibility or seasonal variation. In the long run, he’s confident Sentara will see a big benefit from the organic search results.

“People look for urgent care locations online, see us at the top of the list, read some positive reviews, and then click the link,” Weisman said. “With our use of Clockwise.MD at the other end of that link we are locking them into a visit at the point of search. So our strategy is to continue to drive organic clicks and decrease dependency on paid clicks.”

As a strategic consultant for Sentara, Practice Velocity and Urgent Care Consultants applauds the work of this healthcare system.