Online Reputation Management for Doctors
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Online Reputation Management for Doctors
Curated and Written Articles to help Physicians and Other Healthcare Providers manage reputation online. Tips on Social media, SEO, Online Review Managements and Medical Websites
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Live Streaming from Your Practice with Facebook Live

Live Streaming from Your Practice with Facebook Live | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Do you want your practice to have its own little broadcasting option? Maybe a patient wants to give a live testimonial before they leave the office, rather than coming back at some later time. Maybe you want to show off a new piece of equipment. Maybe you have a new reception area.

Now, thanks to a new feature from Facebook, you can take video and stream it live on your page. It’s called Facebook Live. Just think of it — you and your practice could be a star…live!

This feature, like everything Facebook does, wasn’t just thrown out there. It was first tested on a bunch of celebrities and some regular users. Since you weren’t likely one of those test monkeys, this could be the first you’re hearing about it. Here’s how you do it.


How to stream live

First, of course, you’ll need a phone that can access your practice Facebook page from where you can post as the page administrator. It’s best to be within wi-fi range, too, to save your data.

There’s not a big, bold button that’s says “Put Me On Camera” or anything. Everything looks the same, except for one icon you may not have even noticed. You just have to know where to find it.

All you do is click either on your Status icon or What’s On Your Mind. You’ll be taken directly to your posting screen and you may or may not notice a new icon next to the Check In pointer icon in the bar above your keyboard. If you haven’t posted a status update in awhile, this new icon will have a blue message bubble floating above it touting the new option: “New! Record and share live video.” There it is — see the person with half circles surrounding them? That’s the Facebook Live icon.

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The Future of Healthcare Social Media

The Future of Healthcare Social Media | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Predicting the future is a dangerous game. Just ask the Vegas gamblers, the Wall Street Bankers, and the Federal Reserve economists. Better still, ask the meteorologist who confidently forecasts sunny, blue skies but miscalculates mother nature’s scheming, leaving the sunny-weather-defenders wet and without umbrellas. While not a gambler, stock broker, economist, or weatherman, I, like many others, share a unifying quality with these forecasters – an interest in trends, current events, and frequent topics of conversations.

Before I make my prediction, here’s a quick history lesson on the evolution of healthcare and social media. Several years ago, first with MySpace, then Facebook, and followed soon after by Twitter, Instagram and many others, the social media revolution began, and quite quickly, this new medium of  communication became mainstream. After a somewhat sluggish adoption, the healthcare social media movement began, bringing with it both enthusiasm and skepticism. Patients are increasingly using the internet to access health-related information, and these same “e-patients” are among the 74% of online American adults who use social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Many physicians and others within the healthcare industry nonetheless continue to stay seated in the waiting room until social media participation becomes requisite for the successful practice of medicine.


The predictions from these social media leaders were interesting and varied from those who believe the greatest impact for healthcare social media in the next five years will be in its integration into medical education curricula, those who expect greater social-media-friendly communication between doctors and patients, and even the prediction that the social media tool that will be most widely used to enhance healthcare within the next five years has yet to be invented!

So what will be the greatest impact of healthcare social media in the next five years? Here is my prediction. 

Just as a wall-street stock broker or meteorologist must always validate their prediction, here is why I believe the future of healthcare social media lies in its ability to quickly mobilise leaders to influence public opinion.


1. Quickly

Gone are the days of tuning in to the 6 o’clock nightly news to get the latest news. Believe it or not, the radio, once believed to be seemingly instantaneous communication with the public, has become somewhat obsolete. Wait, you may be thinking, who depends on TV and radio for their news, welcome to 2014, we all use the internet for news. However, consider this. In the time it takes for the journalist to type up the story and publish the story online, that news has already percolated the airwaves of social media. Even if you have not yet begun to use social media, and in this case, Twitter, to learn of the most recent news, try this experiment. Next time you want to know what is going on at a live sporting event or the latest updates regarding events of national/international importance, search twitter for trending hashtags. The news, while not-always-en-tiredly-accurate, is raw, unedited, and often first-hand reporting by the millions of twitter-users-turned-journalists tweeting worldwide. Healthcare social media provides the ability to quickly, almost instantaneously gather information on current health-related issues, and for those healthcare professionals active in social media, the ability to gather information is superseded by the opportunity to share with the public their informed opinions, providing a qualified and vetted stance on health-issues of public concern.


2. Mobilise Leaders

“One, if by land, and two, if by sea” was the phrase coined by Henry Longfellow in his poem Paul Revere’s Ride. This signal was meant to inform fellow patriots of the route the British troops had chosen to travel on the verge of the Revolutionary War. This 1775 method of communication was designed to allow Revere to quickly mobilise patriot leaders to prepare for battle against the British red-coats. While the future of healthcare will rely on social media instead of lanterns and horse rides through town to mobilise its leaders, the purpose will be much the same. The recruitment of physicians and other healthcare professionals to the Twitter army continues every day, and with each new recruit comes greater establishment of those already leading the charge. A few of the healthcare leaders I believe have the greatest potential to lead us into the future of healthcare social media include the following:

1. Dr. Sanjay Gupta (@drsanjaygupta), a neurosurgeon, blogger, and Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, with nearly 2 million Twitter followers.

2. Dr. Atul Gawande (@Atul_Gawande), a surgeon, public health researcher, staff writer at The New Yorker, and author of multiple books, with almost 95,000 followers.

3. Dr. Kevin Pho (@kevinmd), deservingly regarded as “social media’s leading physician voice,” and the founder, with over one million monthly page views and over 107,000 followers on Twitter.

Just imagine if these three physician leaders quickly collaborated and agreed to tweet unified content to their millions of followers. Within seconds these high-ranking officers could both inform their followers as well as mobilise other healthcare social media leaders such as Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson (@seattlemamadoc), Dr. Mike Sevilla (@drmikesevilla), and Dr. Brian Vartabedian (@doctor_v), in turn informing their specialised armies of followers and even mobilising the many other physician bloggers and healthcare social media leaders in a coordinated, unified, targeted attack on matters of public health concern.


3. Influence Public Opinion

The ability of healthcare social media to quickly mobilise its leaders is only preliminary in its most important task, influencing public opinion. But can social media, in this case, Twitter, with its 271 million active users, actually influence public opinion? That question was answered by researchers Fei Xiong and Yun Liu earlier this year, who, after gathering and sorting over six million tweets by topic, then analysed how the underlying sentiments of the Twitter users changed over time. The study revealed several important insights into how Twitter can change public opinion, including:

  • Public opinion on Twitter evolves rapidly and levels off quickly into an ordered state in which one opinion remains dominant.
  • The consensus opinion is often driven by the endorsements of groups with the most influence.
  • Small advantages of one opinion in the early stages can turn into a bigger advantage during the evolution of public opinion.

The future of healthcare social media will include a greater ability to influence public opinion by means of the timely mobilisation of key leaders/organisations and the dependence on their followers to further spread a unified message via related tweets, re-tweets, blog posts, and further penetration of mainstream media. What will this look like in the future? Physician societies such as the American Medical Association and/or speciality-specific societies, such as, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, will begin to more heavily engage their respective social media leaders to tweet consistent content using a consistent hashtag at a specific time or on a specific day. Beyond these formal requests by large, governing organisations, individual healthcare social media leaders will also begin a grassroots effort to deliver similar content to their followers, recognising the increased exposure of their message via collaboration and teamwork.

The future of healthcare social media will depend on leaders, both those with 100,000 and those with 100 followers to collaborate and coordinate efforts to quickly deliver consistent content and effectively influence public opinion.

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Protecting Your Online Reputation as a Surgeon

Protecting Your Online Reputation as a Surgeon | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

The Basics Of Reputation Management

87% of people use the Internet for research before making a purchasing decision. People who are looking for an orthopaedic surgeon can do a quick search on Google and within seconds will have pages of results, all with reviews posted by current or past patients.

And people trust online reviews.In fact, 79% of people place equal weight on online reviews as they do a personal recommendation from a friend.

Like it or not, content published about physicians online matters, and defamatory content in the form of doctor reviews on websites such as RateMDs, Health-grades, Yelp, and others can have a detrimental effect on the success of their practice. It is critical for providers to keep tabs on what their patients are saying about them online, take steps to suppress unflattering, publicly visible reviews, and then invest in a plan that reinforces positive concepts and shapes the conversation in a more positive light. Simply put, that is what ‘reputation management’ does. Savvy orthopaedic surgeons in today’s market are using reputation management to not only combat negative reviews, but as a marketing tool to drive new business.

There is a wide range of tactics that providers can use to control their online reputation. The tactics that work for physician reviews on consumer-generated websites (Yelp, Dr-score) are different from those used to combat information published by media organisations (such as the ProPublica Score Card). The reality is, reputation management is not a simple thing that you ‘fix’ and then ‘forget’. It’s an ongoing process that requires careful thought strategy.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone — it’s not like they teach this stuff in medical school. Here are some of the basics to get you started:

  • Create, Promote, and Update Your Website: Having a professional website is a must. And today, doing so is easier than ever. There are many tools and services available that allow for a business to create and maintain a high-quality website, all without breaking the bank. This is the first step to establishing a‘proactive’ strategy online.
  • Post Positive Comments and Patient Testimonials: For each negative comment posted on sites like Yelp, surgeons have 20 patients who are showering them with praises…. It’s just that the praise comes in the form of handwritten letters, which doesn’t do much for your online rep. Unless you put them online — which is exactly what you should do. Obtain consent from your patients, and then put those testimonials on your website. Have a plan in place for doing this on a regular basis. Consistency is key when it comes to posting content. So don’t be lazy about it. If you are using CODE Technology, do yourself a flavor and contact your CODE rep — we have a method that streamlines posting positive comments patients directly to your website.
  • Monitor the Web: Google yourself and your organisation weekly, and set up Google alerts so you are notified when your name is mentioned online. Awareness of negative reviews is key. You should not only monitor yourself, but your competitors as well. For a quick reference,here’s a link to Google Search For Yelp Reviews in your area. How you respond to them is a whole separate blog post, but for now, understanding your baseline and what’s currently on the web will help determine how aggressive of a game plan you need to get the situation under control.
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Mistakes Doctors Make Online

Mistakes Doctors Make Online | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

I’ve been watching doctors on public networks for about 10 years. Here are some of the mistakes I’ve seen. More importantly, they’re some I’ve made myself:

They don’t show up.  Missing the opportunity that comes with global connection is the biggest mistake medical professionals make. The easiest way to begin to avoid mistake 1 is to take care of mistake 2.

They fail to complete public profiles You can immediately control what people find on the first page of Google in under an hour by completing your LinkedIn and Doximity profiles. If you are willing to do nothing else, do this.

They fail to take their public presence seriously.  If they show up, they don’t spend any time. What you write, record or talk about is what the world will understand about you before they ever meet you. Put something into it.

They take it seriously and then they don’t. Maybe they take it seriously by creating a blog, Facebook community or whatever and then let it go as a ghost town 6 months later. The only mistake worse than not having a presence is having a shell of a presence.

They don’t have a purpose. Some of my peers take the plunge, go public and actually do a pretty good job. But they never zero in on what they want there. It’s easier when you have a purpose.

They depend upon static sites.  Most physicians were raised in the age where an Internet presence was a static property. Beyond a place to park your phone number and some information about your practice, static websites have become a thing of the past. Put down roots in the dynamic places where your patients and peers collect like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use these spaces to expand your reach.

They think they can only talk about health. There are lots of things that need dialog and discussion. Health is only one of them. Think advocacy, policy, technology, IT, political action.

They think patients care about their surgical center. No one cares about your office or surgical center except you and your accountant. Bring value for the patients online and the patients will find you in real life. It’s no longer about you.

They believe that online is different from offline.  The line between online and IRL is becoming harder to identify. We have to begin to see our online presence as reflective of our offline presence. And visa versa.

They try to stop public dialog. People are talking about you and not all of it’s good. Get over it. You can not stop dialog. But you can join it. And shape it.

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Why Resident Physicians, Social Media Need Each Other

Why Resident Physicians, Social Media Need Each Other | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Do you remember learning about mutualistic symbiotic relationships in fifth grade biology? The zebra and the oxpecker bird, the bee and the flower, and the bacteria in the human digestive tract, wherein two distinct groups mutually benefit from the relationship in a way not possible on their own.

In today’s complex healthcare jungle, a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship is beginning to form between resident physicians and social media platforms such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Doximity, and LinkedIn.


Why does social media need resident physicians?

  • Enthusiasm for change. Today’s residents opted to pursue careers in medicine knowing that the healthcare climate would be changing. I will never forget my first medical school interview just days after the Obama-McCain Presidential election, which lasted three hours and included such questions as, “What are you doing?” and “Do you realise the government will soon run your practice?” I calmly-nervously-sweatingly responded that, yes, I realised healthcare was changing, but that I wanted to be part of the solution. Residents like me began medical school knowing change was on the horizon and we, perhaps in youthful naiveté, remain hopeful for a brighter tomorrow. Social media needs doctors who can maintain enthusiasm about healthcare in the face of constant changes, doctors who want to be involved in the debate about the future of healthcare.
  • Resident oxpeckers to sound the alarm. With a literal bird’s-eye view over the terrain, the oxpecker is often aware of danger far in advance of the zebra. When the oxpecker senses danger, she flies up near the zebra’s head, tweeting a distinct warning that danger is imminent. With the drastic changes occurring throughout the healthcare landscape, social media savvy residents have the means of verbalizing timely and distinct warnings that will be heard by local and national policy makers, legislators, and hospital administrators. In a separate post, I compared effective use of social media in healthcare to using a megaphone at a football game, where a message, if timely and qualified, can be heard by thousands, both on and off the field. Oxpeckers are needed in healthcare social media, publishing timely, qualified, distinct messages, to clearly reach the ears of the zebras, rhinos, and oxen of today’s policymakers.


Why do resident physicians need healthcare social media?

  • Today’s residents get social media. What they need to learn is how to use social media professionally. Residents today grew up in the era of social media. Most residents have a Facebook profile with hundreds of friends from college, an Instagram feed and even a blog to share photos and autobiographical stories with close friends and family. Today’s resident physicians get social media.  What we resident physicians don’t get, however, is how to use social media professionally. Translating our innate understanding of social media into a professional, practice-building tool, requires learning branding, marketing, and advertising – tools we will need once we begin practising. Learning these important practical lessons while a resident will help ease the transition once we finish training.
  • The White Pages of yesterday is the Google of tomorrow. I know several very successful physicians nearing retirement who have never advertised beyond simply including their name, practice address, and phone number in the White Pages. For these physicians, practice survival in the former healthcare industry required little more than a White Pages listing. In the healthcare of tomorrow, physicians in almost all specialities will need to have an online presence as well as a professional website which ranks highly on Google searches. This professional website, combined with a targeted social media strategy will be the White Pages of the future. Establishing this online presence during residency will provide a simple transition into practice with a quick physical address update on a blog, website, or social media platforms such as Doximity, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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5 Reasons Hospital Administrators Should be Visible on Social Media

5 Reasons Hospital Administrators Should be Visible on Social Media | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

When was the last time your hospital leadership raised their game in the spirit of Captain America…then published it?

This is remarkable because too many health care leaders fear exposing themselves to the outside world. The balance of risk and opportunity that comes with social media is skewed by what might go wrong. If you watch these guys you’ll see what can go right.

Times are changing, for sure. As health care leaders become more comfortable with our public selves and we’re thinking about how public networks can be leveraged professionally.

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the leadership at Texas Children’s West Campus. And what’s captured between the lines in this picture reflects who they are and how they function within their hospital. While the capes served only to push energy during their July town hall, the energy carries through to daily operations. It’s how they lead.

This type of public presence and engagement is evolving as an extension of leadership in health care. Here’s why:


Social networks offer a lens on who we are

Transparency is emerging as a core value in health care. Beyond infections and readmission, understanding who’s behind a hospital is basic information. Seeing and hearing from those in charge offers a unique lens on a facility. Understanding the human side of providers and administrators reflects what they’re about.


Public presence reflects the culture of your organisation

Your public self reflects the culture of your hospital. Better yet, it can shape the culture of your organisation. When leaders share and communicate they are creating a map for the rest of the hospital to follow.


It’s where the patients are…

And the last time I checked, this is who we serve. The world and our patients now communicate, share, and learn on social networks. If you’re not in front of them your out of the picture.


…and It’s where the employees are

It’s where growing numbers of health care workers connect and feel connected. What’s cool is that if you dig into the feeds of these leaders and the hospital itself, you’ll see middle managers equally engaged. It has created a situation where every employee is a brand ambassador of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.


Social networks allow the development of a network/audience

Welcome to the attention economy. Where there’s attention there are patients. And beyond good business, the development of a presence on basic social platforms is becoming as important for hospital leaders as the maintenance of a CV.

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Why Doctors Must Control the First Page of Google

Why Doctors Must Control the First Page of Google | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

When current and prospective patients want to know more about a physician, they search for the physician on Google. The content that appears when a patient conducts a search will shape how he or she views the physician. While a Google search could turn up pages and page of websites, review sites, articles in medical journals, and even news stories related to the physician, patients only see a small percentage of that content.

Research has shown that more than 90 percent of Internet searchers do not look past the first page of Google, so if a physician’s most authoritative and high-quality results are not displayed on the first page, these results will never be seen by the vast majority of Google searchers.

By practising reputation management–the process of controlling how one is perceived online–doctors not only protect themselves from reputation threats but can also build a positive reputation that attracts new patients.

Doctors should think strategically when choosing which content will represent them on the first page of Google, recognising that high-quality results will bolster a reputation while spammy or empty review pages and business directory listings are seen as less authoritative. Below we will take a look at the types of content that should populate first page search results, and then we will explain how to use reputation management techniques to push this content ahead of negative or low-quality results.


What Should Appear on the First Search Results Page

Your Website Ideally, this should be the top result when someone searches for your name, as this is content that you control. This website will also appear as an expanded result, so be sure to build this site out with separate pages about you, your press clippings, journal articles that you have authored, and your professional accolades. You can choose whether to have the website focus on you or your practice, or you could create two websites to focus on each area.

Bio Pages–Each university, hospital, and professional association with which you are affiliated should have a separate bio page about you hosted on their website. If any of these organisations do not have a bio page for you, consider submitting a unique 300+ word biography that highlights your professional achievements and involvement within the organisation.

Bio pages build credibility by ensuring that others are aware of your affiliation with this organisation, and also provide an opportunity for you to share your qualifications with prospective patients who will visit the website and have never heard of you.

Content You Have Written–Content helps you establish credibility within your field. Examples include:

  • Content on your webpage and your practice’s website.
  • Posts on your own blog.
  • Professional blog posts you have contributed to someone else’s blog.
  • Journal articles that you have authored or co-authored.
  • Mentions in major media publications, ranging from a quote to a specialised news story covering a complex procedure that you completed.

Be strategic about where you post content that you have written. Contributing to a respected, well-maintained website will enhance your reputation, while dumping content on a spammy, rarely visited website will actually hurt your reputation.

Social Media Profiles–It is not always a good idea for doctors to friend their patients on social media (as Kevin Pho discusses here). Fortunately, there are social media websites that you can use for reputation management that do not require you to accept friend requests. These sites allow doctors to create a free profile and host a professional bio, blog, or simply share links to the pages mentioned above without enabling others to write on their page. This affords doctors complete control over each profile. Websites where you should create a profile include Doctors Hangout, LinkedIn, WordPress, and Big sight.


How to Get This Content on the First Page

Individuals and businesses use a process called search engine optimisation (SEO) to control where their content appears in Google’s search results. While the “do’s and don’ts” of this process seem to change whenever Google updates its search algorithm, the one consistently successful way to move a website onto the first page is to write compelling, engaging content that others want to share.

“Compelling content” is a vague phrase, so in order to determine what makes content compelling in the medical realm, one must determine the target audience.

A doctor’s primary audience will be current and prospective patients, and these individuals want to read content that is interesting, informative, and easy to understand. If you need ideas on topics that your target audience will find engaging, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What are some questions your patients frequently ask?
  • What are some common misconceptions that patients have about your field?
  • Which complex medical procedures that you perform are patients unfamiliar with or unlikely to understand?
  • What are some advancements within your field that could now or down the road make a difference in how your patients are treated?
  • What are some preventative measures that you frequently recommend to patients who wish to avoid future problems?

Once you have answered these questions, you will have a number of topics about which you can write. While writing, make sure to keep your audience in mind as current and prospective patients are usually unfamiliar with terms that you use on a daily basis. Explain medical concepts, terms and procedures in layman’s terms so that readers will understand what it is that they are reading, and include graphics or videos when possible to further understanding.

The ideas that you have brainstormed above will make excellent blog posts, articles, and FAQ pages for your practice’s website. Here are a few things to try so that you can take the content you have written and move it to the first page.


Have Someone Look Over Your Work–Have a friend, family member or colleague read over your work to ensure that it is free of spelling and grammatical errors. Sloppy writing will not only reflect poorly on you, but could get flagged by Google as poor-quality content. Asking someone who is unfamiliar with your medical speciality to look over your work is another way to make sure that all medical concepts and terminology have been properly explained, and that the reader is able to read everything without becoming confused.

Don’t Repeat Yourself–When writing content, always strive for variety. Patients do not like it if they come across 20 different websites that only say, “I am Dr. xxx, I practice yyy at zzz and have been practising for ## years.” Writing each piece of content with a different focus makes it more engaging for readers and also signals to Google that it is unique instead of spammy and repetitive.

For example, consider writing about your specialities on your personal website, creating a separate website for your practice, and writing separate bios for the website of each university or medical association with which you are affiliated by focusing solely on your involvement with each specific organisation.

Share Your Content–When first building an online reputation, one cannot expect patients and other Google searchers to naturally find your content. This is especially true if it is not already on the first page. Google views websites that receive low traffic as less authoritative, so one should begin by sharing newly-created content with others. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, such as by posting this content on your social media pages, or sharing links in email newsletters delivered to patients.

Ask Others to Share Your Content–Google loves it when others link to your content, as each link serves as a “stamp of approval” from the website that shares your content. Websites rank higher in Google if they are frequently shared and linked, so asking affiliated universities, medical associations, the manager of your practice’s website, and even colleagues to share the pages mentioned earlier will signal to Google that these links are more authoritative.

However, Google distinguishes between high-quality and low-quality links to eliminate spam and has even punished websites that are caught link-spamming by pushing them off of the first page. A link to your personal website from an affiliated university’s official webpage will strengthen your website’s credibility, while a link to your website placed in the comments section of an unrelated blog (for example, a New York dentist posting a link on a European soccer blog) will actually hurt your website.

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6 Ways To Use Social Media in Healthcare

6 Ways To Use Social Media in Healthcare | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Six ways to use social media in healthcare can help get the word out about healthcare professionals and the services they provide.

Social media has taken the world by storm and it’s much more than a way to share painfully adorable pictures of kittens — it’s also a way of finding and sharing valuable information. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 72 percent of Internet users say they looked for health information online in the past year. When a serious health issue arose, patients trusted the doctors most of all, with 70 percent of them going to their doctor or other healthcare professional for answers.

That trust in doctors, hospitals and nurses extends to the virtual world. A 2012 Price water-house Coopers consumer survey found that 60 percent of respondents in all age demographics would trust information posted online by their physicians, and 55 percent would trust information posted online on behalf of their hospitals. Sharing goes both ways: Almost a quarter of all respondents would be happy to share their own take on health issues, experiences, medications and medical treatment online.

The numbers make the story clear: Hospitals, physicians and other healthcare professionals can reach more patients by becoming engaged in social media.

How to use healthcare social media

How can those new to social media make the various opportunities work for them? These six ways to use social media in healthcare can help get the word out about healthcare professionals and the services they provide.


Tweet it out

In a fast-paced world, messages of 140 characters or less are well-received. Keep your Twitter account active and relevant by passing on links to interesting journal articles, newsworthy tidbits and “did you know” snippets of health trivia. Remember to always respond to tweets and re tweet any worthwhile information.

Tell it on a blog

Blogs that reach a specific target audience and deliver pertinent information can give your personal and professional brand a big boost. Popular health blogs include those that offer new updates on health issues or common-sense solutions to health problems. Capture readers with a mixture of information and humor, the way many anonymous doctors and nurses do on their blogs, and you might see your readership skyrocket.

Show your stuff

The Mayo Clinic currently has the most popular medical provider channel on YouTube, according to SocialMediaToday. How did they do it? By delivering videos on everything from what to expect from medical procedures to how to understand certain medical conditions. New videos are posted almost daily, which means the content is always fresh and new.

Make time for Facebook

One of the most popular gathering sites on the Web, a Facebook account is a must for any savvy social media initiative. Facebook can allow you to tap into a ready-made community of individuals who want to learn more about health, medical conditions and new research. Best of all, in-depth conversations can be sparked in the comments section, giving providers and patients a chance to interact in a meaningful way.

Talk it out with podcasts

Not everyone has the time to wade through medical journals or scholarly reports. Podcasts allow you to showcase your knowledge, answer general medical questions and focus on concerns that your target audience wants to learn more about. Podcasts are also a great way to break down complicated information so that anyone can understand it, a move that could make tired and worried minds very grateful.

Pin it

It’s not just a site dedicated to crafts and cute babies. Pinterest is filled with all sorts of helpful things, and one of those is the health and fitness board, complete with inspirational pictures and links to everything from new exercise routines to healthy diets to serious discourse on other health-related issues. (But be warned, busy healthcare professionals: Pinterest can be a delightful time-sucker like no other.)

Best of all, these social media outlets can all work with each other to create a cohesive online presence. By making more information about yourself available with only a few clicks, patients can get a very comprehensive picture of who you are, what you do and the kind of assistance they can receive from you.

A few cautions

Chances are you’ve already been using the Internet for networking and researching in your capacity as a healthcare professional and don’t need to be reminded that what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet — forever. Decide on a few key points before you post, tweet or like. Are you comfortable with posting personal information, such as religious or political beliefs? Are you okay with patients being able to contact you online? If you have any qualms about mixing your personal life with your professional one, create strict rules about maintaining both a personal and professional profile online.


Finally, don’t forget about privacy laws. Discussing any patient online — even a fictional patient whose case is a bit too close to fact — can land you in hot water with employers, patients, regulatory bodies and even the law. When posting online, steer clear of anything that might appear inappropriate or flirt with any professional boundaries. In short, never share something online that you might one day regret.

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Every appointment is an opportunity to earn a great review from patients

Every appointment is an opportunity to earn a great review from patients | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Like so many other industries, the healthcare system is becoming increasingly transparent. That is exceptionally good news for healthcare providers. Before online reviews started to become a standard for evaluation, patients were left with the recommendations of friends and family members when determining who to trust with their healthcare needs. Today,88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. This shift is potentially a very powerful way to demonstrate value and attract new patients to your practice.


Know the Statistics

A recent study published on made some remarkable discoveries about how and when patients use online review sites to research and evaluate physicians. The following were among their most important takeaways:


  •  84 percent of patients who responded to the survey use online reviews to evaluate physicians.
  • More than three-quarters (77 percent) of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor.
  • Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) would go out-of-network for a doctor who has similar qualifications to an in-network doctor, but has more favourable reviews.
  • Only 6 percent of patients leave “very negative” or “somewhat negative” feedback on reviews sites.
  • Sixty percent of respondents feel it’s “very” or “moderately      important” for doctors to respond to online reviews.
  • Healthcare organisations need to be aware that the vast majority of patients today are using online reviews to research physicians, and many are making important decisions based on this research. A meagre percentage of reviewers leave negative reviews, and over half of those polled agreed that responding to reviews was important.


Know how Reviews can Help You

Studies show that there are two main criteria that customers consider when evaluating online reviews for physicians. First and perhaps more obviously, reviewers care about the aggregate rating of the doctor. However, it may come as some surprise that a ZocDoc study showed that users consider the quantity of reviews more heavily considered quality. The study revealed, “the 25 percent of doctors with the most patient reviews received five times more appointments than the bottom 25 percent.” Additionally, the study showed that a doctor must have an established record of considerably bad reviews before seeing an adverse effect. The study states that “it is not until a physician’s overall rating falls to 2.5 stars out of five that patient preference for that provider begins to decline significantly.” These findings make it evident that the potential upside of embracing online reviews outweighs the associated risks.


Embrace the Trend

Opening an organisation to online criticism is considered by some to be a risk. Doctors make decisions based on years of research and education, while reviewers place a premium on more trivial criteria such as bedside manner and wait times. Indeed, The Economist writes: “Some doctors are still skeptical, fearing, for example, that patients may judge a hospital on its decor rather than its care.” As it turns out, this is relatively rare, and the data shows that the biggest risk a healthcare organisation could take would be to reject online reviews. Forbes agrees: “Now that patients are flocking to the Internet, doctors who don’t market themselves will be at a severe disadvantage. If your online presence is weak, you will easily be lost among a sea of doctors who advertises heavily online.” The Harvard Business Review recently published a story on a leader in healthcare transparency, University of Utah Health Care. Their findings encourage other organisations to adopt the following stance: “You combat spurious, spiteful online comments by disclosing the unvarnished opinions of real patients, most of whom are quite happy. And when you do, you draw more people to your website as the source of truth about your organisation.”


Treat Every Patient Like a Reviewer

Ultimately, the best strategy for doctors to manage their review profiles is to ensure that they treat every patient as an individual. Every appointment is an opportunity to earn a great review from your patients. This concept extends past the actual appointment, however. Take the time or hire an online reputation management firm to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. Ask for reviews from satisfied customers, and act as if the patient will review you after every appointment.



Online reviews are creating a greater need for transparency in every industry. With the right strategy in place, doctors and healthcare organisations can benefit from patients’ increasing reliance on online reviews. The first step is to understand that reviews are helpful in showcasing the quality of an organisation or equally useful by pointing out areas for improvement. The majority of patients now consider online reviews and most reviewers do not leave negative reviews. Review sites can help organisations in some ways, and the best strategy is to ensure that every patient has a positive experience at your practice.

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What Every Young Physician Needs to Know?

What Every Young Physician Needs to Know? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Think about the last time you asked a friend for a recommendation. Maybe you were looking for a new restaurant, a good book, or a trusted mechanic. While you undoubtedly took into account your friend’s recommendation, chances are you then used an online search engine to gather more information about the recommended name or company. Were you able to easily find them online? What sites appeared on the first page of search results? Did the content on the company website indicate the recommendation was reputable, qualified, and provided good customer service? Were you able to find any reviews from other customers, and if so, were they positive or negative?

In the same way you search online for a desired product or service, your patients are searching for you. They are trying to find out as much about your background, qualifications, and approach to patient care as possible before making an appointment and entrusting in you their health.

Simply stated, online reputation management is controlling and managing your patients’ perception of you based on what they find online. In this article, you will learn the basics of how to evaluate, establish, and monitor your online reputation.


Evaluate Your Current Reputation

What if you were to Google yourself? What sites would be included in the first page of results? Would YOU actually appear or would someone else whose name you share be listed? As an exercise, search for yourself on a popular search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Use search terms that your patients might use to find you, such as adding MD, Doctor, or your chosen speciality along with your name in the search field. Search for both your full name as listed on your curriculum vitae as well as any alternative names and common misspellings. Most young doctors will find that the first page of Google results includes a link to their trainee profile on their residency or fellowship website as well as links to profiles on several websites where patients are asked to rate their physicians. Evaluating your present online reputation provides a baseline on which to measure your future success. With some effort, and by implementing the strategies that follow, your online reputation will gradually fill the first pages of Google search results.


Establish Your Online Reputation

If you are like most young physicians, your online reputation is somewhat sparse right now, providing you the opportunity to decide early on how to shape the perception patients will have of you once you complete your training and begin your career. The breadth and depth with which you manage your reputation is entirely up to you. For some this may include nothing more than having a LinkedIn profile and a two-paragraph biographical profile on your website. For others, establishing your online reputation may include a LinkedIn profile, a practice-based website, your own professional blog, and social media micro-blogging via Twitter or Facebook. Regardless of your location on this spectrum of online activity, you should think of your online reputation as a wagon wheel, whose central hub is connected to the outer rim by multiple spokes, and which disperse an equal fraction of the load, collectively moving the wagon forward.


Primary Website

The most complete online reputation management strategy should include use of a primary website to which you will drive all online traffic. This primary site is the hub of a wagon wheel to which the other websites are linked. While secondary sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others represent the breadth of your brand, your primary site demonstrates its depth. Your site should contain content that is qualified, unique, interesting, and most importantly, provides value to your readers. As you consistently publish high quality content on your primary website, you will improve Google organic search rankings, will gain momentum as your site begins to appear less “under construction” and more “legitimate,” and soon enough you will be well on your way to establishing your online reputation. If you choose to start a blog or any site for that matter, pay for the rights to the domain name to improve your perceived reputability among Internet users. Though the visible difference in the web address may be minimal, Internet users perceive reserved domains to be more qualified, authoritative, and reputable. 


Secondary Websites

As mentioned above, the spokes of the wagon wheel represent the breadth of your online reputation, strategically reaching into various target markets, thereby providing visitors a taste of your brand but encouraging them to visit your primary website for additional information. As you might imagine, marketing professionals have found that specific demographics of consumers use Facebook and Instagram than those that use LinkedIn and Google+, and that these users are different still than those who rate their physicians on sites such as and Having profiles on all of these secondary websites allows you to tap into the different demographics of each website’s target audience. Secondary websites can be categorised into resume-type sites, physician rating sites, and social media platforms. All of these secondary websites should act as direct connections to your primary site via links in the content you share as well is in your account profile, thus directing each unique market of consumers to your primary website. Let’s review a few of these secondary websites you should use as you establish your online reputation.



With over 300 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is one of the simplest and easiest ways to establish your online reputation. The format is essentially an abbreviated online resume, allowing the user full control over what information is shared. With a remarkably dynamic user interface, LinkedIn allows customisation of content such that blog posts, videos, and a user-written introductory summary can be displayed in an easy-to-read format that is interesting to readers. The ability to connect quickly and easily with friends and professional colleagues, the option of making your LinkedIn profile visible to the public and not solely to your connections, and the reputability given LinkedIn by Google and other search engines are all reasons LinkedIn should be included in every young physician’s online reputation management strategy.



Similar to LinkedIn, Doximity is a resume website as well, though its unique claim is to be the resume network solely for healthcare professionals. In just a few years, Doximity has gained over 700,000 verified physician members, and while its scope is limited compared to Google, Doximity has a strong online reputation and, similar to LinkedIn, its user profiles also rank very highly in Google searches.


Physician Rating Sites

Consumers everywhere use ratings as a primary determinant in everyday online decision making and it should come as no surprise that patients are using similar rating systems to evaluate the online reputations of their physicians. As of 2012, experts estimated the existence of over fifty ratings websites, all with seemingly different rating systems, reliability, cost to participate, and ability for physicians to respond to reviews.

Despite the increasing popularity of these sites, remarkably few physicians have claimed their profile and updated their photo and practice address. The limited participation by physicians in the sites designed to rate them is evidenced by a recent Pew Internet Study, which indicated that only 1 in 5 physicians use online ratings sites.

These sites are not going away, and while many older physicians may choose to ignore such sites, young physicians today have a tremendous opportunity to use these sites to establish and develop their online reputations. Search for the most popular ratings sites, claim your profile, add your picture, practice location, and don’t forget to add links to your LinkedIn profile, social media accounts, and your primary website. Most importantly, to successfully incorporate physician reviews into your reputation management strategy, you must consistently ask patients for such reviews, diligently monitor the reviews, and respond accordingly.


Social Media

Strategic usage of social media platforms is key to establishing and maintaining a strong online presence and reputation. The nearly instantaneous dissemination of information to your social networks of followers, friends, and connections, and the potential for these online acquaintances to then share your content with their respective social networks represents the exponential potential for your influence to be felt worldwide. Your Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or other social network could be your least expensive yet most effective method of advertising.

As you become involved in social media as a young physician, consider the following tips:

  • Choose a unique username (i.e. Twitter handle, Facebook Group Page, blog URL) to give you a fresh start as a new voice and allow you to separate your social media professional life from that already established by your personal social media accounts.
  • Unless you are certain you will not be changing practice locations, do not create a username that includes the name of your practice, but instead create separate accounts to distinguish between your brand as a physician and your brand as a physician within that specific practice. Most physicians change practice locations at least once during their career. By separating your physician branding from your practice branding, you allow adaptability to any practice name or location simply by changing your physical address without having to reestablish your online reputation with the new practice name.
  • Be known, not anonymous. Remember the purpose is to develop your personal online reputation and not just the reputation of your username. Be sure that your social media profiles clearly display your full name, a professional and high-quality photo, and links to your primary website.
  • Ensure that your username is available on as many social networks as possible to provide easy identification with your online reputation. Sites have tools to instantly search username availability on over 500 social media platforms. While you may not need to create accounts on all 500 platforms, at least reserve your username on those sites you recognise and intend to use.
  • Include links to your primary website on all of your social media profiles.
  • Be professional, respectful, and always observe HIPAA regulations. Remember that once you have posted an update, that information is saved in an online server and can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to delete or hide, particularly if it is inappropriate or unprofessional. Be smart. Your personal and professional reputation is on the line.


Monitor Your Online Reputation

Once your online reputation is established, you must diligently monitor your reputation. You should Google yourself, your social media username, and website domain name frequently, as often as once a week based on the recommendations of leading experts. To save time, you can setup Google Alerts, which are emails sent to you at specified time intervals when Google finds new results matching your search terms. For a busy physician, Google Alerts are critical to monitoring the good and the bad information that may affect your online reputation. In addition to frequently monitoring search engines, you must also monitor information and reviews posted on physician rating websites. Most sites allow you to be notified when a negative review is posted, but once again, in order for you to be notified, you must claim your profile and setup the alert.

If negative ratings or comments are made about you on a website, consider the following tips to dealing with negative reviews:

  • Ask for reviews. One negative review out of 15-20 mostly positive reviews is much less damaging than one review out of two total reviews. While somewhat of a surprise to many physicians, research indicates the majority of physician reviews are positive. By consistently requesting reviews you should be able to easily neutralise one or two isolated negative reviews.
  • Take a deep breath. Respond promptly, but not immediately. While you may remember the specific situation cited or know the “other side to the story,” avoid addressing negative comments while you are upset.
  • Respond generally. The negative review may not relate directly to your bedside manner or clinical judgement but is more than likely due to a systems-based error such as difficulty parking, miscommunication with office staff, or excessive wait times. Ask the patient to call the office so that you may better understand the issue and improve your practice for future patients.
  • If you feel a review is fraudulent or clearly erroneous, contact the website directly. Most sites have processes by which ratings or comments may be appealed, and if found to be fraudulent, such ratings may even be removed.



Your online reputation has the potential to be one of the greatest assets to your career as a physician. Whether your practice is within an academic environment, a primary care clinic, or a subspecialty referral-based practice, your patients and physician colleagues will evaluate your online reputation before deciding to make an appointment or refer a patient. By evaluating your current reputation, establishing your reputation via primary and secondary websites, and monitoring your reputation via alerts and reviews, you will ensure that your clinic schedule is filled with patients eager to tell you they found you online.


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Online reputation management has become big business

Online reputation management has become big business | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Even if some physicians themselves are not online, their names, comments on their style of practice, and complaints or compliments about them probably are.

All of the online content devoted to a particular physician could negatively impact his or her reputation, and subsequently his or her business, if steps aren't taken to manage that content and -- when necessary -- defend it. This is often referred to as online reputation management.


Online reputation management has become big business, as evidenced by the number of radio and online ads offering to help physicians. But physicians can manage their own reputations, help build positive ones, and prevent negative content from turning into a crisis that needs to be dealt with professionally.

As quickly as online content can spread, especially in the age of social media, experts say online reputation management should be a key component to any business plan.

"The best defence in these cases is good offence," said Scott Sobel, president of Media and Communications Strategy, a Washington-based public relations firm specialising in crisis management.


Christian Olsen, vice president of Levick Strategic Communication's digital and social media practice, said social media has changed the dynamics of reputation management, because in addition to physicians communicating with their patients, their patients are now communicating with one another on social media websites.

For most physicians, there are five simple steps they can take to manage and maintain a good reputation online. For others, managing their online reputations may require more time and expertise than they have available.


Google yourself

Olsen said many make the mistake of thinking that because they don't have a website or are not involved in social media they are not online. "It just means your voice is not being heard in a conversation about you," he said.

The first step in managing a reputation is knowing what there is to manage. Reputation management experts recommend that physicians conduct Google searches on themselves at least once a month, preferably more often. Things can spread quickly online, so seeing what content is there on a regular basis will help doctors stay ahead of a potential crisis. It's also a good way to see what positive things are being said about you, which you may be able to build on.

Steven Wyer, managing director of Reputation Advocate Inc. and author of the book Violated Online, said physicians should set up alerts on Google and Yahoo. These alerts work by registering keywords, such as a name, that the search engines will use to comb the Internet looking for any new mention of those keywords on blogs, websites, online forums and other sites. When it finds a new mention, it will send an email detailing where the keywords were mentioned, what was said and a link to the website.

The mistake many physicians make, however, is to not include all reasonable variations of their name in an alert, Wyer said. For example, John Smith, MD, could have several variations, including Dr. John Smith, Dr. John C. Smith, Dr. John Smith, MD, etc. Alerts for a handful of those variations should be set up.


Correct mistakes and false information

The easiest places to start are websites that show up high in Google searches. Those sites are likely to be physician finder or rating sites or health plan physician finders. The sites often include wrong or outdated contact information and incomplete biographical and educational history.

Many of these sites give doctors the opportunity to edit their own profiles, which they should do by bolstering the information that is presented and highlighting positive aspects. Experts say physicians should complete their CVs by adding professional achievements such as awards and published articles. They also can use the forum to talk about their style of practice and what patients can expect from them.

Dealing with false or inflammatory content can be trickier, Olsen said. How physicians handle false or misleading information on a site could make a situation worse, depending on how it's handled. They should do what they can to correct the information without being too aggressive, he said. One suggestion is to acknowledge the problem and then ask the author of the content to take things offline to find a resolution.

"Respond in public, but ... definitely don't play it out in the open," Olsen said.

Wyer said most websites have posted terms and conditions. If content on the site clearly violates those terms, a request can be made to the website's site administrator to have the information removed. The same request can be made of content that violates privacy laws or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations. Insults are generally not violations, but Web posts that contain personal identifiable information would be considered violations.


Create your own content

The best way physicians can steer conversations in the direction they want, or help hide the conversation they hope no one sees, is to start the conversation themselves. Experts say doctors can do this on many online venues: personal blogs, websites and personal social media pages, which all tend to rank high in search engine results.

If you already have done a search on yourself, you would know which sites are ranked high and need to stay high, and which sites you may want to push down in the results. Posting information on sites that generally rank high in Google searches, such as physician finder sites and LinkedIn profiles, will help push other content down in the search results. The farther down the better, as 90% of people won't go past the first page of search results and 99% won't go past page 2, said Noah Lang, director of business development for

Wyer said it's important for physicians to own their own name online, starting with claiming their profiles on finder and review sites. On most physician profile sites, a link asks if you are the doctor being profiled. If you are, you can register with the site to take ownership of that listing and edit it as you see fit.

Owning your name could include buying website domains under the physician or practice name, creating social media pages and creating blogs in your name.

A misconception, Wyer said, is that all of these sites must be managed daily. If a physician wants to establish him or herself as a blogger, the goals and strategies are different. But simply populating the sites with basic information such as the doctor's bio, contact information and a link to a website, combined with the appropriate keywords and elements to ensure good placement in Google searches, doesn't require daily or even weekly maintenance.


Embrace constructive criticism

Studies have found that an overwhelming majority of online reviews of physicians are positive. But even if a doctor does not achieve unanimous positive reviews, that's all right, experts said.

Sobel says having only simple and positive reviews will raise red flags. "You want to look for good but balanced comments. There will always be someone unhappy," he said. But it's important for patients to use reputable sites that rate doctors fairly.

Physicians should find a handful of rating sites they trust and direct patients to them. They can do so by having staff verbally tell patients about the sites, hang signs in the waiting room that list the Web addresses, and hand out fliers at the check-out desk.


Address actionable items

Sobel said many of the things patients complain about online are things physicians can work to change immediately and publicise online.

Knowing what the "hot button issues" are among patients -- long waits, lack of response or slow responses, and leaving a message for the doctor and having someone else call them back -- and addressing those things in practice and online will go a long way toward improving your reputation. Part of managing your online reputation is managing how you come across online addressing those issues.

Lang said physicians should broadcast online when changes have been made due to complaints.

Sobel said a physician's website not only can be a source of the positive information they want patients to find but also can serve as a way to respond to negativity in a positive way.

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How to Get Good Online Patient Reviews Ethically

How to Get Good Online Patient Reviews Ethically | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Five ways physicians can earn rate-your-doctor praise honestly

By Ron Harman King, M.S.

What doctor doesn’t want patients raving about him or her on the Internet? What business owner of any kind doesn’t want public praise?

An old adage is that one happy customer can generate at least three new customers by word of mouth. Healthcare is no different. Patients are customers, too, and there is no medical practice or group that does not want happy customers cheer leading for their doctors to other healthcare consumers.


The Internet has amplified doctors’ interest in online reputation management

With the explosion of rate-your-doctor websites such as, and, healthcare professionals’ interest in getting good online patient reviews is growing exponentially.

And for good reason. Not only do good reviews bode well for a practice’s online reputation; they also boost credibility in Google rankings.

But is it unethical for a physician or practice to ask happy patients to post positive online reviews? I say absolutely not, as long as it’s done within certain guidelines:


1. Ask only real patients to post reviews.

It’s disheartening to see medical groups resorting to review stuffing. By this, I mean the practice of asking office staff, friends and even family to pose as patients online and heap glowing praise on a provider or physician group.

"Fake reviews are often easy to spot. They typically are long on adjectives and short on facts."

The faux reviewer commonly says very little about her medical condition or the events of her doctor’s appointment. Instead she waxes on and on about her doctor’s greatness and furnishes insufficient evidence to support her opinion.

Why stoop to counterfeit online reviews? What healthcare provider doesn’t have some portion of happy patients? (There may be a tiny number without any, of course, and if so, their problem is clearly much bigger than Yelp or RateMDs.)

The real task is to get the happy patients to tell the truth in the right place.


2. Request – don’t pressure – happy patients to rate their experiences.

At Vanguard we’ve seen instances of healthcare groups offering gift cards or other rewards for posting favourable comments online. Bad idea.

Pressuring or incentivizing patients to comment publicly doesn’t pass the smell test. Such an approach also jeopardises the delicate physician-patient relationship.

The best approach is simply to ask your most contented patients – the ones who’ve already expressed their thanks for successful treatment – to say something on one of the rank-your-doctor websites.

Not all will comply. But if you ask enough, you’ll get adequate response. Many physicians do this efficiently simply by responding to grateful patient letters or calls with a tactful request for an online review.

It doesn’t take many responses from these patients to tip the balance and dramatically improve online ratings.


3. Offer patients constant feedback opportunities.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of reputation. Give patients a chance both to compliment and complain.

"One goal is to hear from the complainers before they go public in hopes of resolving their grievance privately. Conversely, the other goal is to identify the happiest patients so you can encourage them to say nice things on the Internet."

At Vanguard we work with each clinic to ensure patients have ample opportunities to sound off every step of the way. This includes special cards distributed at the clinics’ check-out stations asking patients to fill out an online satisfaction survey.
Sending post-appointment emails with links to the survey is even better.

And don’t make it hard to complain. To an irritated patient, nothing’s more aggravating than having to answer a 12-page questionnaire (yes, we’ve seen them that long) just so she can get to HER complaint.


4. Take the bad with the good – answer critical reviews publicly.

Despite your best efforts, some complainers inevitably go online to air grievances. Unfortunately, bitter complainers are occasionally not actual patients but unscrupulous competitors masquerading as patients.

Other times, patients are simply beyond any reason and logic. As unfair as such protests may be, practices still should deal with them.

From time to time when you can present supporting documentation, you may be able to persuade the website publisher to remove egregiously untrue airings.

Other times, you can capitalise on a benefit of independent rate-your-doctor websites that’s not available on a medical practice’s own website: independence.

Everyone knows a practice controls the information on its own website. The credibility of a testimonial on a medical practice’s website is about half that of the same comment on social media.

Everyone knows, on the other hand, that a business exerts less power over social-media websites. Yes, the owner of a Facebook page can remove others’ comments, but there is still an extra degree of credibility of posts on that platform because the poster put a comment there herself.

A review of a doctor on Google+ or is even more believable. So when a complaint shows up on one of these sites, have a practice administrator (or, if possible, a physician) answer it. (You must first “claim” the business listed on the review website by submitting answers to questions designed to authenticate the business owner.)

"Simply responding to criticism in a non-defensive manner goes a long ways towards signalling to other visitors on that site that you’re listening to customers. Sometimes it also encourages your biggest fans to come to your defence by posting counter-balancing positive reviews."

Of course, for privacy concerns, take care to avoid any discussion of a single patient’s case or health conditions in your public responses. (Some websites allow you to respond privately instead or additionally.)

Nonetheless, feel free to talk about broad policies – such as what your practice is doing to reduce wait time for physicians or why doctors often require patients to make a follow-up appointment before getting a prescription refill.

By all means, in your response to a negative review, ask the complaining patient to contact you directly in hopes of resolving her dissatisfaction. That tells others that your practice takes responsibility for patient satisfaction.


5. Deliver top-quality customer service.

This objective should be self evident. Sadly, we see plenty of practice cultures to the contrary.

More and more these days, the practice of medicine is becoming a retail service. I’ve taken plenty of heat for saying this publicly, but it’s true.

"Twenty-first-century Americans want an ATM on every corner, a Starbucks on every block, grocery stores 5 minutes drive from home, gas stations that serve fresh food, and their doctors to show up on time (or close to it) and give them adequate attention, as well as medical receptionists and billing departments that treat them with kindness and respect."

There’s no way to reverse these expectations. In our two decades of healthcare marketing, we’ve seen the price paid many times for poor customer service.

Medical practices with the worst service regularly get the worst online reviews. The best online reviews start with the best service. Be good to your customers in your offices and they will be good back to you online.

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Doctor Reputation Management through Social Media

Doctor Reputation Management through Social Media | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

A doctor’s reputation can effect professional referrals and the number of patients. In the modern world, social media has provided patients with an online platform to engage in word of mouth advertising. Why should a doctor care about social media? Even though the doctor’s work is done in the examination room, the doctor’s reputation formed from social media can build or bury their practice.

Depending on the size and goals of the medical practice, the doctor should considering engaging with patients on multiple social media platforms. This will generate more visibility and the chances of new patients viewing your practice are increased.



Similar to when a patient arrives at your practice and is seeking your medical recommendations, you are in charge of the content published on social media. All posts will clearly deliver the message of the practice, and even though you are publishing with the intent to engage patients; you are directing the message. The doctors and staff are the practice, and the social media profiles established for the practice allow interested patients an inside look at the office’s overall atmosphere.

A common theme used by medical practices is to tell the patients the back story of the medical practice. Touch on the history of how the idea came to be. Do not be afraid to tell about the failures, but do remember to reveal how the practice overcame different obstacles to ultimately become the successful medical office it is today.

If your medical practice has hired an outsider to control your social media profiles, you still can control the message. Determine the tone of the posts or tweets, and what you believe your patients will enjoy, because no one knows your patients more than yourself.



For any doctor that has yet to establish their social media, it can be intimidating because it’s opening the door to one giant online forum. The content and comments can be viewed by nearly everyone, depending on privacy settings.

When the profiles are set, you will want to invite your patients to your social media pages. Remember people want excitement on social media, and do not want to be bored. Attractive visuals and interesting topics will keep patients coming back to the profile page. If you can influence patients to share the content, viewers unaware of your online presence will be exposed to your content. This is free advertising for your practice, and the rewards are all profit.



When a patient views or leaves a testimonial about your practice or services provided, ask them if you can share their positive review. Most people like their moment in the spotlight, and a domino effect of sharing will most likely follow.

Not only should the focus remain on the positive reviews, but the practice should not overlook the negative reviews. Remember that you cannot delete the negative comments and it is visible for all to see. If necessary, apologise and provide the patient with a plan of action to ensure the matter causing their dissatisfaction will not happen again, if controllable. Never take offence publicly; this will harm the doctor’s reputation management online.



Medical advances are constantly entering the market between new medicines and technology. If it interests your patients, share it with them. If you regularly publish a blog or articles to your website, share the links in social media for patients to view. This will increase the traffic on your website where patients will get more familiar with the services provided by your medical practice.

Grow My Practice Online helps you monitor, protect and advance your practice on social media. Our powerful physician reputation management solution works 24/7 to help you gain more positive reviews and ratings while mitigating negative ones. If your practice isn’t reaching out to this captive audience or neglecting a vibrant and actively engaged population; let us create the social buzz for your practice.

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Is Your Practice a Social Media Customer Service Failure?

Is Your Practice a Social Media Customer Service Failure? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

What do you do when a patient posts something on your practice’s Facebook page? More importantly, what does your practice do when a patient posts something negative on your Facebook page, or on any other social media platform?

If you’re like 92.5 percent of U.S. companies, your responses merit a failing grade. Those numbers come from a recent study by Rational Agency. And, no, those aren’t the low C’s or D’s earned by the high school classmate who missed about one day a week, they’re F’s.

But when you come to think of it, with your patients your customer service really is on a pass/fail system. If you provide bad customer service in the form of how you interact with them on social media, chances are they’re not going to give you a C-; they’re going to find another practice. Fail.


Here are some steps your practice needs to take with your social media interaction.

First, some facts

Whether or not your practice is on Twitter isn’t important. Some practices see it as a valuable platform for instant information dispersal. Others not so much.

But check out these stats. There are about 310 million active Twitter users and they send out over 500 million tweets every day. Over two thirds of those users have reached out to a brand to get help or service. That’s over 200 million people who have complained or asked for help on the social media platform. And with Twitter’s limited characters and ease of use, these users expect to receive a reply from the brand within 60 minutes. But according to Rational Interaction 58 percent of those customers reaching out to a company or brand don’t get any response. What?

That spells uh oh for the brand. In the study, Rational Interaction says 38 percent of people who don’t get a response instantly have a negative perception of the brand. But here’s the kicker — of that 38 percent, almost two thirds of them will then tweet about their negative experiences. Ouch. These aren’t the days of one pissed off person telling a few neighbors and co-workers; these tweets can be passed on and passed on to thousands of others.

Some steps to take with your social media customer service

  1. Make customer service and customer interaction a facet of your practice. You’re more concerned with staying up to date on procedures and maintenance of your facilities, but customer service in the form of social media management needs to be a true part of your business plan.
  2. Monitor everywhere your patients are commenting. Wherever they are, so too should you be. Make sure you set it up so that you are notified every time a comment is made on your social media outlets.
  3. Respond quickly. People posting on social media expect speedy responses. After all, this isn’t a “Dear Sir or Madam” letter from the old days. In that earlier-mentioned realm of Twitter failure, another study shows the average response time to be over seven hours! For a practice, it’s not quite the same as a retail business, but same day or next morning should be the goal.
  4. When you reply to a complaint, the initial response should be out there for all to see, in public. This shows the world that you’re addressing the complaint and that you care about the problem. Once you establish that initial response, then take the back-and-forth private, maybe on email or Facebook Messenger. Once you resolve the issue, go back public and comment on the initial post, thanking the patient for the feedback and the opportunity to make it right.
  5. Respond to everything. If a patient posts a picture of her cat saying it looks like Fluffy just had blepharoplasty, post a comment on it. Good customer service on social media involves continually participating and engaging with customers. The more the merrier!

Social media is so…social. And it demands constant attention because your patients expect it. Do it well, and you’ll strengthen relationships and foster long-term loyalty. And isn’t that really the goal? After all, most of your patients aren’t just going to have one procedure in their lifetimes.

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Public or Perish | Should Doctors Blog for Credit?

Public or Perish | Should Doctors Blog for Credit? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

A recent study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that the the majority of academic chairs did not believe that blogging enhanced favorability for promotion.

If I were handed the survey I would have said,show me the bloggers body of work and I’ll tell you if it enhances favorability of promotion. To think of any form of media or platform of knowledge dissemination as categorically unworthy of advancing scholarship is no different from suggesting that journal publications, irrespective of what they say or where they’re published, enhance promotion.


New channels and spaces of knowledge distribution are beginning to force the question of what constitutes contribution to the public good. Consequently, how we define scholarship will evolve to meet the realities of how humans now build knowledge. I predict that this issue of value determination will emerge as a major preoccupation of organisations and academic institutions going forward.

When I began to blog in 2006 there was no part of me that wondered whether it would facilitate promotion. The idea of pushing nascent ideas into the world is what drove me. I remember just how crazy it was to first see an idea spread. I knew there was something bigger here than my own career.


While recognising new media in scholarly circles is an inevitable consequence of a changing communication environment, we should be careful about positioning public engagement as an academic commodity. Our most powerful and original creative output as professionals comes from within. When professional promotion eclipses passion, noise will exceed signal. And we have enough of that.

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The Digital Media Revolution and Its Impact on Healthcare Marketing

The Digital Media Revolution and Its Impact on Healthcare Marketing | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

In the highly competitive healthcare marketplace, the rules of marketing are changing. Healthcare marketers are turning to new strategies to better engage patients and provide them with relevant, personalised healthcare information, says Rose Glenn, senior vice president of marketing and PR at Henry Ford Health System. Here, Glenn discusses the latest advances in digital media and CRM.


Q: What are the compelling trends in digital media today?

Glenn: To start, marketing roles are changing. Our marketing team members must now be content experts. At Henry Ford Health System, we want our marketing and communications teams to work in a much more integrated and comprehensive fashion to optimise content across all platforms. For example, when we write a news release, we are also thinking about how to treat a quote, make it interesting for a Facebook audience, and determining how we can develop a video to showcase that same information in a compelling way.

Also, consumers are shopping around for their care more than ever before and using sites such as Health-grades and Yelp to learn about other people’s experiences on physicians and hospitals, so you can’t just rely on your own website to reach and engage people. To position your organisation favourable, it is important to develop a comprehensive strategy that takes into account the other credible places online that patients turn to for information. For example, we have a partnership with Health-grades that enables us to spotlight and expand our online physician profiles in certain ZIP codes. Automated marketing is a new tool in which we are also very interested. We recently piloted automated marketing to brand-new patients to welcome them to the system. We email them information on our wellness program or our walk-in clinics and then base subsequent messages on what they click or don’t click.


Q: How can hospitals set themselves apart in a crowded healthcare environment?

Glenn: To break through the noise and stay on the cutting edge of digital communication, you have to understand consumers better and provide valuable content. We are taking a much more individualised approach when it comes to engaging our different stakeholders. We start with a lot more customer listening through our patient and family advisory councils and via an online patient panel.


Q: How is Henry Ford using CRM to support digital media strategies and tactics?

Glenn: CRM allows us to provide relevant information to the consumer—which is important in today’s world, where it is so easy for someone to mark your email as spam and prevent you from communicating to them again. We have become better at collecting email at the point of care, sending customised information to patients depending on their interests, and measuring what they do with it. This allows us to see if we are meeting our targets.

CRM is used in a number of ways, including helping support people who have certain diseases. For instance, we can send information about ophthalmology and podiatry services to people who have diabetes. And, Henry Ford launched a New Movers campaign this year that introduces someone new to this area to one of our primary care physicians. The campaign has been quite successful. In one quarter we had a 13.4 to 1 ROI and a contribution margin of $6.5 million, which is true income. Having a great CRM partner is a critical piece to the pie because if we don’t show the outcomes, it is a difficult investment to continue to fund.


Q: What are the biggest challenges that healthcare marketers face today?

Glenn: Both the healthcare industry and the marketing discipline are changing rapidly. Keeping pace and making sure you align your resources with the best way to acquire and retain your customers is a big challenge. You have to be on top of understanding and being responsive to customers’ needs. You must also have a clear understanding of what digital marketing can and cannot do to achieve growth.

The call for transparency is another big challenge. People want to know the price of their healthcare and what others think of the physicians who work at our health system. It is important to use the same retail models as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and others for healthcare consumers. Our current website offers patient satisfaction scores on all of our employed doctors. In the future, we plan to use a star rating because the research tells us that is what people prefer.


Q: What is the best way to work with hospital leadership to create effective marketing programs?

Glenn: You have to continually engage them in what you are doing and not just show them the ROI once a year. I am fortunate because I report to the CEO and am part of the senior leadership team. I like to see marketing and communications executives reporting to the CEO because then we can more easily and quickly develop strategies that reflect the system’s priorities. The structure we have at Henry Ford has really allowed for a very smart marketing strategy.

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How can physicians manage their online persona?

How can physicians manage their online persona? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Kevin Pho, MD, an internal medicine physician who founded and writes for the extremely popular blogKevinMD (and regularly tweets), is well-positioned to talk with physicians about social media. He recently authored a book offering doctors guidance in managing their online reputations, and I had the opportunity to talk with him about the issues.

In your mind, what is the No. 1 mistake physicians make when it comes to managing – or perhaps not managing – their online reputation?

The biggest mistake physicians can make is ignoring their online reputation, or downplaying its relevance. Whenever a new patient comes to me, I normally ask how they found me. Ten to fifteen percent say it’s because of my online presence, through my blog, Twitter or LinkedIn page, which came up when they Googled me. This scenario is happening nationwide. According to Pew Internet, 44 percent of patients are looking online to research their physician, and 1 in 5 are using online physician rating sites.

If physicians don’t take steps to control what shows up on a Google search, others will control how doctors appear online. It could be a negative patient review. A blog post from a disgruntled staff member. Or a news or television story that paints a doctor in a negative light. Physicians need to take proactive steps to establish and manage their online reputation. Soon, it will be as important as their reputation in the community.

Robert Wachter, MD, wrote in his forward to your book that physicians “can no longer afford to be passive observers of our online persona?” How would you recommend that doctors get started with managing their online presence?

Doctors already have a presence online, but most don’t know it yet. If doctors Google themselves, they likely will already have a profile from an online physician rating site. And in many cases, these profiles are filled with advertisements, or worse, negative patient reviews or inaccurate contact or board certification information. The price of passivity is being defined online by someone else.

There are powerful, free tools that doctors can use to take control of their online presence. A social media platform, like LinkedIn or a Google profile, for instance. And physicians don’t have to spend a lot of time on social media. Doctors are busy, and I understand that they have varying comfort levels when it comes to being visible online. Some are hesitant at embracing that level of transparency. To this group, I recommend spending 15 minutes to set up a LinkedIn profile. Get used to being online. Similar to an online resume, physicians can use LinkedIn to list professional experiences and their educational background. That time spent will be tremendously powerful, as LinkedIn profiles gets ranked high on a Google search and can push down the relevance of online physician review sites.

And once physicians get comfortable with being online, they can embrace other social media platforms, like blogs, Twitter and Facebook. Not only do they have tremendous utility in connecting with colleagues and educating patient, it can expand a doctor’s “digital footprint,” and put them in greater control of how they appear online.

An increasing number of adults use the Internet to find health information (and potentially self-diagnose) and to find physicians. How has that affected – and how *should* it affect – the way physicians do their business?

Absolutely. Healthcare has become more transparent, and that trend will only grow. Consider how online reviews have disrupted other service industries, like restaurants and hotels. Healthcare will inevitably be next.

Transparency will push physicians to be more patient-centered. For instance, many online reviews complain about issues like wait times, not following up on results, not enough parking, or physicians starting at the laptops rather than looking at patients. And reading these reviews have spurred changes in my own practice. I ensure that patients get a raw copy of their lab data within a week. I make sure I have same-day appointments available. I don’t even bring a laptop into the exam room anymore, because I want to look at patients in the eye when I’m taking to them.

Transparency gives patients the opportunity to give feedback to doctors, and it’s up to the medical industry to improve based on that feedback. Soon they’ll have little choice: Patient satisfaction will now, in part, affect Medicare hospital payments. Better to be proactive and improve the patient experience now, than to be reactive and do so after a poor patient online review.

You’ve said before that “getting online and helping patients navigate through the trove of health information on the web is a new physician responsibility for the 21st century, like it or not.” Aside from the practical reasons for getting online, which you discuss in the book, do you think physicians have a moral responsibility to do this?

According to Pew Internet, 72 percent of online patients are researching their health on the web. It’s the third most popular activity after email and using a search engine. Unfortunately, the Internet suffers from two problems: 1) there’s too much data available, and 2) not all of what we read on the web is reliable.

Physicians can address the first issue by being information curators: filter only the best information to patients. Leverage expertise to interpret what patients find on the web.

Next, doctors need to refute inaccurate health information on the web. The Internet is the great democratizer of information, as it can place those who spout inaccurate health information equal to scientists who’ve been doing this their entire lives.

You can read a commentary on vaccines, for instance, written by a celebrity on the Huffington Post that may be factually inaccurate, but it will be tremendously influential. Why? Because millions of patients read the Huffington Post. Physicians can only dream of those types of readership numbers.

Doctors need to get online and either guide patients to medically reputable sources of health information, or generate that information themselves. If we don’t, we risk losing relevance as medical authorities, as more patients go online to get their health information.

The book argues not only what physicians shouldn’t do online, but also what they must do. And one of those responsibilities is to educate patients on the web.

You were an early adopter of social media. When did you first realize how important social media could be to physicians, and how have things changed since then?

A few years ago, I had a plaintiff attorney write a post on, talking about medical malpractice. Of course, it generated a firestorm of comments, not only from doctors, but also patients and other lawyers as well.

In fact, it was a patient’s comment that caught my eye. He wrote, “ is the only site on the web where you could get patients, lawyers and doctors together in one place and discuss a contentious issue like medical malpractice.”

The ability to share perspectives is key to fixing our broken health system. Patients tell me that they learn so much from reading the physician stories on my site. They have no idea of the obstacles many doctors face when trying to practice medicine, or the burnout that many in the profession are facing.

On the flip side, I also post patient stories. And many doctors have no idea what it’s like to be a patient. Most doctors don’t have the conditions that their patients have, or take the medications they prescribe, or face the bureaucratic hurdles that patients face. Hearing these stories from a patient perspective is tremendously enlightening for physicians.

Social media is a powerful tool for the stakeholders in health care to share their stories, and come together. Health reform cannot be dictated by politicians or policy experts who’ve never step foot in an exam room. It has to come from doctors and patients on the frontlines of health care. And that means they have to be on the same page. Social media makes that happen.

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A Physician Guide to Social Media and Blogging

A Physician Guide to Social Media and Blogging | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Today I would like to talk for a few minutes about how you can use social media and blogging as building blocks for the medical practice and business of the future. This is a talk I originally gave in September 2015 at the Millennial Eye Live meeting in Hollywood, California. My comments were primarily tailored to the audience of young and mid career ophthalmologists, but I believe these same concepts are applicable to physicians in all specialities.


Take a look at this figure which helps explain my approach to professional social media networking. At the hub of the wheel is your primary website. For most of you this is your practice website. On the outside of the wheel are what I consider to be the primary social media tools which physicians should consider using right now. Any content that you create online should be shared on these social media networks to disseminate the information and similarly, your social networks, similarly, should include links back to your primary website.

In order to better understand how young physicians are using social media, I analysed the online presence of 50 ophthalmologists attending the Millennial Eye Live meeting. 92% of those individuals analysed have an online professional profile, typically located on their practice or university website. Based on what I could find from their profiles, 72% are in private practice and 28% are in academics.


As you know, the largest social network right now is Facebook. 70% of the 50 ophthalmologists I analysed have a professional Facebook presence. This presence may be an individual private practice or ophthalmology department Facebook page or it may be a larger hospital network’s Facebook page such as The Mayo Clinic. This is an important distinction, because the larger the organisation, the less control you as an individual physician have of the content being shared. Fifty percent of those physicians who claim to have a Facebook presence have at least some control of the content, compared to the 20% that only have a Facebook presence due to their affiliation with a larger organisation, and that piggyback on this organisational presence where they unfortunately have little control of the content. When it comes to Facebook and social media in general, I believe it is much more important to be in the 50% that control the content versus the 20% who must simply hope that their individual efforts will be noticed and shared by the marketing or PR team who manage the large organisation social media accounts. Having a practice or individual physician-based Facebook page allows physicians to be able to maintain control of the content shared via social media.

What about Twitter? 60% of the ophthalmologists I analysed have either a personal or practice Twitter presence over which they control, at least to some degree, the content being shared as i just mentioned.


Creating and sharing high quality content online is, I believe, one of the keys to developing a strong online presence. One way to share this content is via a professional blog. I use the term blog quite liberally, as I consider a blog to be a website or page within a website where content can be shared in the form of articles, videos, or other short updates. Using these criteria, 38% of the young to mid-career ophthalmologists that were present at the meeting have some type of professional blog. 22% do NOT have a blog, but could VERY VERY easily add a blog to their website by simply adding an additional page to their already-existing practice website. An additional 20% don’t have a blog but might face additional challenges in starting a blog than those in private practice who can simply start a blog by adding a page to their already-existing website. The final 20% do not have any website which I consider to be easily-suited for a blog. Having a blog is an important key to developing an online presence, as posting regular updates shows Google that your site is dynamic and interesting, improves search engine rankings, and provides a digital home to which the traffic generated via the various social media tools can be redirected, which further generates traffic to your website.

So what types of content should physicians consider posting on their personal or practice blog? I like to think of content as falling into these five categories, advertising, office news, current events, presentations, and publications. Now here is perhaps the most important point to remember from this entire discussion. You, my physician colleagues, are already doing ALL of these things! You advertise, at least in some form, in order to attract new patients, you certainly have new office staff and participate in the community, you are aware of current events related to your field and could publish your professional opinion regarding these events, you often travel to medical conferences to give presentations and for continuing medical education, and you may even contribute to peer-reviewed articles, invited editorial publications, guest lectures in the community, or even interviews with local news media. These are all activities you are already doing, and will continue doing, whether or not you share them online. You simply need to start sharing the content you are working so hard to create! As you share this content online, you will fill your office with patients that are familiar with your work, understand your areas of expertise, ask good questions, and are engaged in their health.


Finally, let me show you an example of how I recently used a few of the concepts I have just described. You may remember “The Dress” fiasco a few months ago. Seemingly overnight, everyone in the world was arguing about the colour of the dress. Was it black and blue or gold and white? The internet was buzzing and the public everywhere wanted to know why the dress appeared to be different colours to different people. Recognising that this was an opportunity to educate the public on the fascinating phenomenon known as the Purkinje effect, I asked one of my colleagues to write an article describing this effect and how it helped explain the colour of the dress. I posted this article to my site, and also to my social media channels, and within an hour had received an email from Kevin Pho, founder of, asking to cross-post my article to his site. Over the next three days, the article had been shared nearly 4000 times via Twitter and Facebook and had over 40,000 views, which created a considerable spike in the traffic to my site and hopefully helped others learn more about their vision and ophthalmology. Finally, I’d like to invite you to join with me in sharing high quality content online via blogging and social media.

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Doctors with More Empathy Win Patients and Improve Hospital Scores

Doctors with More Empathy Win Patients and Improve Hospital Scores | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

We’ve known for awhile that doctors who show more empathy have better patient-physician relationships and can actually have fewer medical errors.

And there’s a direct correlation between job performance and empathy. Forbes writer George Anders calls empathy The Number One Job Skill in 2020, naming this the common trait in a wide range of occupations—from teaching to healthcare to customer service.

The truth is that the position we’re in as doctors and leaders requires a higher than average level of empathy. So, if we know that empathy wins friends and influences people, why don’t we just use it?

One thing that stops us is the roadblocks along the way, according to David Swink’s Psychology Today article.Roadblocks like lack of attention, not knowing how to communicate with empathy, and just not “feeling it” all make it tough to show empathy for our patients and others.


So what can we do?

Should we fake it till we feel it?

A new study suggests that there’s a way we can gain empathy as we feel it.

Niki Gianakaris reported that when people experienced mild discomfort by rubbing their hands on sandpaper, they became more empathetic.

According to the findings in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, when participants touched the rough surface of sandpaper, they felt more empathetic and were even more inclined to give charitable donations.

Okay, where are we going here? Does this mean we need to keep a stash of sandpaper or an emery board in our lab coat and give it a rough go before we interact with a patient, especially the grumpy patients? That might actually work, but that’s a research project for another day.

So how CAN we use this in our medical practice?


What if we were to find a way to connect with every patient?

Here are three easy ways to foster connection and improve empathy that I’ve learned through coaching clients over the years:

  • Find something in common: a sports team you both love; a hobby; pets.
  • Decide that something about them reminds you of a loved one or an old college friend. Do they wear the same perfume as your grandmother? Have a Southern accent like your Uncle Fred? Or have that funny way of grunting at everything you say?
  • Invite them to join with you, and make them part of the process. Let your patient know that the two of you are a team when it comes to their surgical outcome or their health goals. You’ll find this will get your patient on board with the plan, and make them feel less guarded or defensive.
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4 Ways Healthcare Marketers Should Utilise Social Media

4 Ways Healthcare Marketers Should Utilise Social Media | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Social media is no longer a marketing afterthought for companies and organisations. Every major brand is present across the major social media platforms, and they are actively planning strategic campaigns around social activity. Companies from every industry have made the leap into social media, but healthcare has lagged behind.


Why is this?

Part of it is a lack of understanding about what social media is and how it integrates with current healthcare marketing efforts. Part of it is a fear of how it affects patient privacy and compliance with regulations such as HIPAA. What many healthcare organisations don't realise is that these obstacles are all easily overcome and shouldn't stand in the way of building up social media strategies.

While many businesses cut back on advertising during a recession, plenty of research suggests that businesses should actually spend more on advertising during those times because consumers continue to watch ads. Thus, there's this lovely void of which businesses can take advantage. Why am I telling you this? Because right now, the social media landscape in the healthcare industry is a bit like a recession—there aren't very many players in the game and, quite frankly, the bar for doing it well is set pretty darn low.

Of course, before you begin any social media campaign, always remember that in order to comply with HIPAA regulations, as well as medical ethics codes, you must protect the privacy of your patients at all times. Don't share any information about patients, or information that could potentially identify patients, such as physical descriptions or mannerisms, etc. With that in mind, here are four ways that healthcare organisations - from patient-facing to B2B - should be using social media. 


1) Give Your Organisation Voice

Healthcare companies can come across as a bit sterile, which is great when they're talking about about the cleanliness of the equipment, but not so great when communicating with patients and the public.

Use social media as a way to interact and engage with your patients or customers. Show a bit of personality. Humanise your organisation. Respond to reviews and inquiries.


2) Educate Your Audience

Social media is a great way to spread the word about public health issues. Think about unique campaigns that you can run to raise awareness of an issue, such as last year's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. You want to limit self-promotional posts and instead focus on ways that you can help your audience, since this is not about selling a produce or a service.

Remember, there's a lot of misinformation on the Internet about health and fitness—think about ways in which your organisation can combat this and use social media to positively impact patients and the public.


3) Advertise

Apparently, Americans spend more time online than we do sleeping each day. It's kind of a no brainier, then, that advertising online is a good way to reach your audience. Plus, as I mentioned above, not too many healthcare organisations are buying up ads, so the cost to play may be lower than it is in other industries.

Use social media advertising to raise brand awareness for your organisation, or to drive leads towards premium content downloads so that you can nurture them into becoming patients or customers. Your social media ads need to be relevant, well-written and accompanied by an image that will grab your audience's attention.


4) Give Your Audience Content They Can't Get Elsewhere

The sky is the limit here - video tutorials for how to use at-home healthcare monitoring devices, product demos for equipment that you're selling to hospitals and info graphics with tips and fitness exercises for wheelchair-bound patients.

No matter which industry segment your healthcare organisation is in, whether it's patient-facing or B2B, whether you're a company selling state-of-the-art stethoscopes or a hospital performing cutting-edge surgeries, you have something unique to offer your audience. When it comes down to it, this is what will get you shares, likes, re-tweets and favourites. 

Social media isn't so scary once you get started. If it helps, monitor other healthcare companies on social for a month or two first. See what they post. Make notes of what resonates with you and what feels a bit off.

From there, you can build your own voice and start engaging with your audience on social media. Trust me, like those businesses who run ads during recessions, your healthcare organisation will be reaping the rewards for years to come.

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How to Avoid Getting into Social Media Trouble

How to Avoid Getting into Social Media Trouble | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Assessing Your Internet Reputation

The first step in managing your reputation on the internet is assessing exactly what is out there and how much is positive and negative. While even the best medical professionals will have a few negative reviews or perhaps not altogether positive recommendations, the important part is making a comprehensive assessment of your social media reputation.

While most doctors may have the time to make a cursory assessment by looking up their name on Google search engines, checking their social network accounts and going over the review sections of websites where they are registered, it may be difficult to get a full picture without outside assistance. This is where services like ours helps other professionals, by providing them with a more complete assessment of their online reputation. If negative reviews are found, they will have to be appropriately addressed.


Addressing Negative Reviews

Even if the negative reviews are few and far between they will need to be addressed in a manner that overcomes their impact. Ignoring bad reviews or comments in this day and age simply does not work as most people will view your silence as actual agreement. So, you will need to start by being more proactive in your approach so that potential patients become more aware of your positive attributes.


Encourage Patients to Write Reviews   

If one of your patients is especially complimentary of your work, encourage them to write a short review of their experience. In this manner, positive reviews can start overwhelming the negative ones. There are some practices that have iPad or tablets at the desk where patients can actually make comments online even before they leave.


Set up Online Alerts

Did you know that you can set up a Google Alert every time your practice is mentioned online? In this manner, you can find out about all new information about your practice quickly so that it can be evaluated and addressed if needed. It’s always great to read positive reviews and comments about your medical practice and it is better to address any negative posts as quickly as possible.


Invite Those Who Wrote Negative Reviews to Contact your Office

If someone had an unsatisfactory experience, you’ll want to correct it by encouraging them to contact you so whatever happened can be worked out. You may find that the issue is a relatively small one that can be addressed quickly or it may require more work. Whatever the case, if the issue becomes resolved you should encourage them to take down their negative review or at the very least amend it to show that further action was taken.


Set Up Social Media Profiles

If you do not have a presence in social media, you should set one up across several different networks. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ form the basis of your social networks and you can choose to add others to the list as well. For those who are really busy, just having these four can really help in terms of staying in contact with patients and other professionals.


Stay Active

Once you have cleared away all the negative reviews that you can, take an active role in addressing your web status on a regular basis. Spending a few minutes a day to read over and respond when necessary can save you a considerable amount of trouble down the road. Many people who post negative reviews or comments actually appreciate that you are quick to respond.

So, by allocating just a little bit of time on a daily basis, you can head off some potentially bigger issues that will become more difficult to handle if you let them go.


How to Avoid Getting into Social Media Trouble

While the chances of you facing a serious issue online are slim, it’s still easy to make mistakes that may cost you in terms of patients and your reputation. One survey noted that over 70% of the investigations done by state medical boards are of doctors who violated their professional standing online. A doctor is held to a higher standard which requires them to be very careful in how they present themselves online:

  • Photos showing a doctor intoxicated or in a compromising position
  • A post that contains patient identifiers
  • Use of discriminatory language on a social network and so forth

Apart from avoiding the obvious errors that you can make when using your social network, there are some actions that you can take which will help mitigate any damage that otherwise might be caused when making your posts.


Establish the Right Tone

You want your emails for example to be professional and in a friendly tone so that there is no misunderstanding or misconstruing what you mean. Before sending out any email or post, go over it again just to see if it might be misunderstood.


Reply Promptly

Set aside a little time each day for replying to direct posts such as tweets on your Twitter feed for example. Be sure to at the very least acknowledge an issue or complaint promptly and then encourage the party to contact your office to take the issue offline if at all possible.


The Importance of Monitoring Your Brand & Name Online

No matter what you currently think of your own brand or business, you still need to be aware of when you are mention online. Reviews, comments, blog posts and news articles are quickly changing the way first impressions are being made. Our free monitoring software is great way to monitor mentions of your name or brand across the internet.

By taking a little time to address your online reputation, you can create a more positive rapport between you and your patients online and help expand your practice.

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How Healthcare Providers can Leverage Review Sites

How Healthcare Providers can Leverage Review Sites | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Online review sites have a massive impact on the healthcare industry today. According to The Economist, there are over 60 healthcare and physician review websites in the United States alone, and Medicare even considers patient feedback when allocating Medicare funds. Furthermore, in a recent poll published on software advice, “84 percent of patients surveyed consult a reviews website with some frequency to view or post comments and ratings of health care staff.” Today, virtually everyone looks to the Internet for information when making purchase decisions; who to trust as a healthcare provider is a decision which deserves due diligence. A well established and maintained online reputation is a proven way to attract new patients. How can healthcare providers leverage review sites?


Show Up

It is easy to understand why physicians and healthcare organisations may be hesitant to open their practices to public criticism. The Economist summaries this concern as follows: “Some doctors are still skeptical, fearing, for example, that patients may judge a hospital on its decor rather than its care.” However, today 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family members; this trend is expected to continue. Forbes recently published an article about marketing for physicians which states: “Now that patients are flocking to the Internet, doctors who don’t market themselves will be at a serious disadvantage. If your online presence is weak, you will easily be lost among a sea of doctors who advertise heavily online.” Studies show that more reviews are invariably better than fewer, so having a well-established digital footprint is perhaps the most important step to building your patient base.


Encourage Feedback

Some hospitals and doctor’s offices now incentive feedback for online reviews with raffles or other prizes. Since patients consider the volume and timeliness of reviews when selecting a physician, encouraging a steady stream of new reviews is a good practice for hospitals. A study published on software advice revealed that “only 6 percent of patients leave ‘very negative’ or ‘somewhat negative’ feedback on reviews sites.” Even in the event of a negative review, healthcare organisations should encourage physicians to respond, as over 60% of those polled in a recent study stated that it was important for doctors to reply to reviews.


Build Your Online Brand

A steady stream of reviews from satisfied customers complimented by a few accurate, authoritative articles can ensure customers find the right information when they go looking for information about your organisation and physicians. There is a multitude of strategies to build and promote online reputation management for doctors and healthcare providers. Search engines are an incredibly powerful resource for marketing, and healthcare providers can leverage the power of review sites to gain control of their search engine results.


Have a Crisis Management Strategy

The nature of the Internet, unfortunately, affords unethical competitors, disgruntled employees, or unreasonable patients to take to the Internet with unfounded or personally motivated grievances. In many cases, fake and defamatory information can be completely removed from the Internet and search engine results. If you or your practice has been negatively affected by false allegations online, consider reaching out to an online reputation management company to learn more about strategies you can use to recover, build, and protect your online reputation.


Closing Thoughts

Online reviews are gaining trust and popularity in virtually every vertical. Because healthcare is an important and personal decision, patients are increasingly turning to the Internet to find information about medical professionals. With the proper steps, medical professionals can leverage the power of online review sites to showcase the quality of their organisation and attract new patients.

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Top Five Social Media Platforms for Ophthalmologists 

Top Five Social Media Platforms for Ophthalmologists  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Social media is NOT new to today’s young ophthalmologists. You millennial generation eye doctors probably began using Facebook in college to stay in touch with old friends, began using Twitter to follow the lives of famous public figures and began blogging years ago to share photos and other updates with friends and family.

What is new is using this innate familiarity with social media to build a professional brand. Here are five online platforms to get you started and give your career a boost.



Recognised as the largest social media network in the world, Facebook has more than 1 billion users worldwide and more than 150 million users in the United States. It has become increasingly business friendly and allows you to easily separate your personal and professional personas.

Once you have established a practice-based Facebook page, consider identifying a social media–savvy employee to be the designated Facebook business manager. Facebook advertisements — an excellent way to grow your business presence — allow you to target users within a specific geographic area and age range while manipulating other demographics. You can easily track ads’ success via up-to-date Facebook analytics, which highlight page views and generated likes.



With more than 280 million active users, Twitter has become one of the most widely used social media platforms, and in recent years, it’s become increasingly used by physicians and other medical professionals.

Use Twitter to notify yourself of important medical and news updates by following the feeds of medical journals, news sources, local community businesses and other users who tweet content in which you are interested. And be sure to tweet information presented at professional meetings using official conference hashtags such as #AAO2014.



As most young ophthalmologists are aware, a blog is a website where short entries or blog posts are published. Blogging allows immediate publication of content, which is indexed by search engines and easily found by others interested in similar information.

Consider adding a blog section to your practice website and publishing frequently or submitting editorial blog posts to already established blogs, such as those sponsored by professional organisations, academic journals, universities, advocacy groups or online magazines.


LinkedIn and Doximity

With more than 332 million members, LinkedIn is the premier social media resource for professional networking and consistently ranks highly in Google searches. Doximity is a similar platform to LinkedIn but is designed just for medical professionals.

Using a resume-based format, consider using both LinkedIn and Doximity to highlight your training background and professional interests while making valuable connections with colleagues in other industries, expanding your referral network and further building your professional brand.

Unlike many of the more senior ophthalmologists currently in practice, today’s young ophthalmologists were essentially raised using social media and have a unique skill set that can benefit any academic centre or private practice setting. Strategic use of these five platforms can therefore give your career a boost as you begin to develop your ophthalmology practice and build a professional brand.

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7 ways for doctors to improve their online reputation

7 ways for doctors to improve their online reputation | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Nowadays online reputation of a doctor, hospital or clinic is significant. The review that is posted online by patients, medical directory sites or review websites even in some cases competitors or workers can have drastic consequences for a doctor.

But there are a few simple tips that a doctor can follow to improve and protect their online reputation.



First important thing is to know what is being said online. By using a search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo, search for your hospital or clinic name and doctor name and see what reviews, information or online testimonials show up. This is your first impression for present or future patients.


Constant Monitoring 

It’s not sufficient to look at your reviews or business directory listings sites even once a week. Damage from a negative or bad review or online comments can have immediate and ongoing damages on your reputation and income. The simple way to handle it is to have an automated solution that regularly is on the lookout for these and provides alerts when something is found.


Respond to Reviews 

If a review is posted about your hospital or clinic, it’s essential to respond to the review especially for the negative reviews. In many cases you will be able to tell who the review was posted by and you can call them directly to resolve the problem. After the problem is resolved the person who posted may be willing to revise or remove the bad review. Not responding to reviews is like not answering the phone at your clinic or hospital.


Don’t Be Defensive 

The response to a complaint (or a compliment) is very important. In many cases a poor response or no response can make the problem inferior. Being self-protective, harsh, unconcerned or making explanations will not help solve the problem. Remember, other patients or potential new patients will see your response. Be honest and respond properly.


Embrace Social Media 

Like it or not, social media channel is here to stay so embrace it. Patients are going to post opinion about you or your clinic or hospital. Have a plan to post great content and information and be sure to respond to posts on your social media channels. For a clinic or hospital, the most important sites are Facebook, Google Plus, Foursquare and Twitter. If you as a doctor don’t have time or knowledge to manage your profile, hire a marketing or reputation management company to manage and post for you.


Review and Update Business Listings

Online business listings on sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing are mostly pulled from centralised databases that are wrong or outdated. For most long term businesses or hospitals, as many as 80% of these online listings contain mistakes. If the incorrect phone number or address is listed, this can result in a loss of business. Monitor these sites to see how you are being represented online. Many of these sites are also tied to reviews as well.


Have a Great Web Site

Having a responsive and easy to navigate web site using industry standard design methods is more important than ever. Your web site is the front door to the internet so make it look great! If you haven’t updated your web site in a few years, a lot has changed. Mobile search has become more important as more people use phones to find a doctor, clinic or hospital.

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Contact Details : or 877-910-0004

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Claiming and Completing Your Listing on Online Review Sites

Claiming and Completing Your Listing on Online Review Sites | Online Reputation Management for Doctors |

Managing physician online reputation

 A search for physicians’ names on Google or other web search engines often returns listings on third-party rating or review sites, such as Health Grades or Doximity. By some estimates, there are 50 or more of these sites, according to Kevin Pho, M.D., a nationally known physician-blogger and co-author of “Establishing, Managing and Protecting Your Online Reputation.”

These sites pull information from licensing databases and other public sources, including the National Physician Index. This information may be incorrect or outdated.

Physician listings on also come up very high in searches for individual physicians. However, these other ranking sites will also inevitably show up in search, so it is incumbent on individual physicians to take steps to claim their listings and make sure the information is accurate on the most popular of these sites.

Some of the top sites are cited below. Specifics may differ slightly among sites but the steps to claim your listing are essentially the same. On these sites, you’ll find a link inviting you to “claim” or “update” a profile or listing. Methods of authentication differ by site, and it can be tedious process; you may wish to have an office manager or an administrative assistant help.


To find and claim listings

• First, Google different variations of your name, e.g.: John Smith M.D., Dr. Jonathan Smith, John K. Smith M.D., and make note of the third-party listing sites that come up. If you bookmark or copy/paste the URLs, it will be easy to find them later. For each site, review your listing and note any errors.

• Claim your listings. Each site has its own system of authentication to make sure you are who you say you are. You may need your phone number, email address, NPI number, medical licensing information or other data.

• Complete and/or correct your profile. You may wish to create a master profile with all the information so that you can cut and paste to save time.  Be sure to list your sub-specialities, if applicable, and also include common terminology that patients might use when they search (e.g., cancer as well as oncology).


Other steps you can take

• Make sure you have a complete and current profile in Vanderbilt’s provider directory, known as the "APD", which feeds the Find a Doctor listings on websites. You or your delegate may sign in

• Don’t forget to create and complete your individual professional profile on LinkedIn, a professional social networking site. LinkedIn profiles also tend to show high in Google search results for individuals. Frequent updates to your profile and sharing new “status updates” of suitable professional content can improve your profile search results.

• Your personal participation in other social media such as Twitter also may influence what people find about you online. VUMC’s Online Social Media Toolkit provides guidelines, best practices and other information for using social media effectively, safely and in compliance with the VUMC Social Media Policy. 


The patient’s experience is key

As trite as it may sound, the most important thing you can do to influence reviews and comments online is striving to make every encounter with a patient or family member “review worthy.”

A patient’s experience is just that – his or her experience. Patients and family members have opinions about their experiences. With online review sites and social media, they have the means to express those opinions.

It is not just the quality of care that can spark a negative review. In fact, negative physician reviews often are about wait times or perceptions of rudeness or disrespect by a physician or clinic staff, rather than about the expertise of the physician or the quality of medical care received.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details : or 877-910-0004

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