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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7 online reputation management strategies for doctors 

7 online reputation management strategies for doctors  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

According to research, 85% of patients are not comfortable selecting a healthcare provider with only a one-star rating. Why is that important? Well, more than 40% of patients use online reviews and consider doctor rating sites as “extremely important” for choosing their healthcare provider. Patients today are researching thoroughly before choosing a doctor. So it’s crucial for doctors to develop a strategy to establish and maintain the best possible online reputation.

Managing your online reputation is a continuous process. Here are some key things to watch to ensure you aren’t losing patients because of how you appear online.

An effective online reputation strategy can help existing and prospective patients recognize you as a credible, reliable, established and authoritative medical practice. Positive reviews can also crush negative comments, forcing them lower on search engine results pages and minimizing their damage.

 

Check out seven compelling strategies for monitoring and enhancing the online reputation of your healthcare practice:

#1 Leverage online ratings and reviews

Like them or not, review websites are here to stay. More than 77% of patients browse through online reviews as their first step towards finding a new doctor.

Patients use both healthcare-specific rating websites like HealthGrades and RateMDs and general review sites like Yelp and CitySearch. The best way to grab a consumer’s eye online is to have a large number of positive reviews across multiple ratings sites.

Instead of just waiting for reviews to come in, watch for ways to engage your patients and encourage them to share positive experiences online. Make the review process easy, and consider implementing a tool that aggregates reviews from various websites, so you can manage all your reviews in one place.

 

#2 Fix your online presence

In addition to third-party review websites, make sure your business information is updated on search engines like Google and Bing. Uniform and accurate listings on various websites improves search engine rankings and reduces patient’s frustration over incorrect information. Correct listings are especially valuable for small healthcare practices that offer special services like flexible appointment schedules, short waiting times, and different insurance plan options.

Claim your listings on critical online directories, consumer sites and social media channels. These sites let you to share additional content like photos and reviews to present your healthcare practice as the best choice. Learn how lets you fix and enhance your listings across the web automatically.

 

#3 Keep an eye on what patients are saying on social

Social media is one the most useful sources for gathering the unedited opinion of your patients, especially the unhappy ones. With the help of social listening tools that hunt for mentions of your practice, you can discover high-engagement posts and address comments that need your attention. These tools scan social media channels like Twitter and Facebook and use crawlers to identify new review sites and online forums. The idea is to monitor all the feedback buzzing across the web that makes up your reputation. When you know what your patients are saying about your medical practice, you have a clear idea of the problems you need to fix.

 

#4 Always respond to reviews

Almost 70% of patients who share negative feedback feel better if their concerns are addressed. Your unhappy patients want to hear from you. Even if you are unable to solve an issue immediately due to insufficient information or a hectic schedule, do not ignore negative reviews. Acknowledge unsatisfied patients and let them know that you are looking into the matter. If you feel that the best way to deal with the situation is taking it offline, then do that, but try to minimize the steps involved in solving each problem.

Important: while responding to negative feedback, ensure that you adhere to HIPAA guidelines and check our blog on staying HIPAA compliant while responding to patient reviews.

#5 Promote positive testimonials

Negative feedback is inevitable, but it can be overpowered by the voices of your happy customers. If you’ve received some amazing patient reviews, share them on your social media pages and let prospective customers know. The more you intelligently share content online, the better reputation you build. BirdEye can help you do this automatically.

#6 Build a strong social media presence

When it comes to reputation management, social media is indispensable as it helps you reach both your existing patients and discover potential patients. It is crucial to create social media profiles on sites like Facebook and Twitter and keep them updated. If you already have social media pages, keep them active by sharing useful content and positive feedback from existing patients. These profiles determine how patients perceive your practice, and it’s up to you to ensure they show you in a positive light.

#7 Motivate your staff to provide outstanding service

Disappointed patients don’t tend to give you a second chance. Often, they share their bad experiences with their family and friends. This negative word-of-mouth can cost you patients. To avoid this situation, ensure that your employees are providing excellent patient care and exemplary service, and dive into patient feedback to find out what specifically your staff could improve upon. Delegate team members to manage patient concerns on certain channels to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Online reputation management is critical to the success of healthcare providers in today’s world of digitally connected patients, but it can be overwhelming without the right tools in place. BirdEye is a powerful online reputation management solution that caters to all the strategies mentioned above and many more. With BirdEye, you can manage feedback, respond to it, get more reviews, fix your online presence, share positive reviews on social media channels and listen to what patients are saying about you.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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Online Physician Reputation Management: An Interview With Kevin Pho

Online Physician Reputation Management: An Interview With Kevin Pho | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Over the course of researching Too Big to Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data, I came across Kevin Pho, MD. Pho is a social media-savvy primary care physician and the founder of the medical blog KevinMD.com. (Klout named among the most influential social media voices in health care.)

Pho understands the power of data and how it can significantly improve patients’ lives. Along with Susan Gay, Pho recently co-authored Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices, a book about physician online reputation management,
Dr. Pho recently answered a few questions about his book via email. 

PS: Why is an online reputation important for doctors and medical practices?

More patients than ever are going online to research their doctor. According to a study from Pew Internet, 44 percent of patients online do so. And about one in five use physician rating sites. In my own practice, I estimate that about 10 to 15 percent of patients have found me through my online presence, whether it’s my blog or my LinkedIn profile.

It’s important for doctors to Google themselves at least once a week and see what comes up, because that’s what patients are doing. Physicians don’t want to be defined by a negative news story, or a bad review from an online physician rating site. That’s why it’s important that they take control of their online reputation before someone else does.

When you consider how transparency has disrupted other industries, like books, movies and hotels, it’s only a matter of time before the same disruption happens in health care.

PS: How can doctors, who are already busy, use social media to establish their online reputation?

I certainly understand that doctors are busy. I’m a primary care physician myself, and I see about 20 patients daily. Not many have time for social media.

But consider how long it takes to complete a LinkedIn profile. About 30 minutes or so. Doctors can fill their profiles with professional information like items from their resume or information about their practice. But those 30 minutes are incredibly powerful. Studies show that a LinkedIn profile gets ranked high on a Google search. So when patients Google a physician’s name, that profile will be ranked high, perhaps pushing down the effects of third party rating sites, or negative news articles.

Some doctors may choose to stop there, and that will already put them ahead of the curve. But for some, they may want to expand their social media activity onto Twitter or Facebook, and engage with patients. Doing so expands their so-called digital footprint and makes their online presence that much more visible.

PS: Although geared towards health providers, what can patients learn from this book?

Patients can learn about how physicians on the forefront of social media are using tools like Facebook, Twitter and blogs to better connect with patients and improve care. I included not only my stories from almost 10 years in the health care social media space, but also the experiences of dozens of physicians who share how social media has affected their practice.

 

Patients can also learn about the current data behind physician rating sites. Despite anxiety among physicians about online ratings, studies show that many of these sites are fragmented, and contain only a few ratings per physician. Online doctor rating sites shouldn’t be the sole factor when choosing a doctor, but a piece of the puzzle.

Finally, I have included stories from leading patient advocates, including “e-patient” Dave deBronkart and Kerri Morrone Sparling, who share their experience on how a physician’s online reputation affected their search for medical care.

PS: What is your takeaway message from the book?

Health providers need to be proactive about their online reputation. Passivity isn’t an option. Whether doctors know it or not, they already have a presence online, likely from third-party rating sites. But this information can be inaccurate, or worse, contain negative patient reviews. Is that the first online impression that you want to give patients?

 

Take charge of how you appear on Google. Proactively define yourself online. An online reputation will soon be just as important as a reputation in the community.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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Why Medical Marketers Need to Understand the Differences Between Google and Facebook Advertising

Why Medical Marketers Need to Understand the Differences Between Google and Facebook Advertising | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The internet has profoundly changed the way that people seek out medical information, manage their health, and make decisions about treatment. Medical organizations hoping to attract new patients must meet users on platforms where they spend the majority of their time. These days, that means running digital ad campaigns on Google and Facebook.

 

On the surface, Facebook and Google may seem similar, but consumers actually use them in different ways and for different purposes. Generating a solid ROI requires a solid understanding of each platform, both in terms of their unique roles in the patient path to treatment and how to leverage their targeting capabilities in order to reach the right patients at exactly the right moment.

Facebook Advertising

When it comes to Facebook ads, medical marketers should take advantage of the platform’s immense size and rich data set to reach broad, but targeted audiences. With 2.01 billion monthly active users spread across the globe, the platform comfortably boasts the largest captive audience of any online community or service.

That said, Facebook advertising can be a tricky thing to do well. Search engine advertising is centered around keyword targeting — i.e., users type in queries related to whatever it is they’re searching for, making it relatively easy for marketers to identify relevant prospects. Facebook requires a different approach entirely. Because users aren’t actively searching for information like they would on a search engine, targeting is based on user demographics and demonstrated interests. By first determining the characteristics of their ideal audience(s) then crafting their campaigns accordingly, medical organizations can push highly relevant content into the feeds of prospective patients. Remember that Facebook users are inundated with huge volumes of content on a daily basis, so personalization is key.

Google Advertising

According to Search Engine Watch, Google now processes more than 40,000 searches per second — that’s over 3.5 billion searches every single day! As SEW points out, when you consider that every single one of those searches is “a user looking for something to meet a specific need,” it becomes clear why keyword targeting and bidding are such important tools in the medical marketer’s toolbelt.

 

However, the advantages of Google’s keyword targeting are something of a double-edged sword — while the platform allows medical organizations to reach patients actively searching for solutions they offer, the level of competition for their attention is incredibly high. As such, medical marketers need to think outside the box in order to keep costs down and conversions high.

 

Moreover, they need to understand how different types of search queries indicate intent. This understanding allows them to serve the right materials/message to the right patient at exactly the right moment in order to increase their conversion rate and ROI.

At the end of the day, both of these platforms represent a massive opportunity for medical brands to reach new prospective patients at minimal cost. However, success is never guaranteed. Building, implementing, and maintaining a solid ad campaign requires a great deal of research, care, and attention in both the short and long term. That said, when executed correctly, the potential returns are well-worth the extra effort.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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Physician Online Reputation Management

Physician Online Reputation Management | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Two years ago, when we first wrote a blog about online physician reputation management there were...

  • Fewer people writing and using reviews, 
  • Only a few review sites where people posted, and
  • There were no tools like you can find today to monitor everything about you.

Oh how times have changed.

But the main point of our blog is still solid. Online physician reviews can, and do, have a major impact on someone's purchasing decision. And even though a medical service isn't a traditional purchase, it's still a choice for most patients. Even for services they really need, they can choose from a few doctors. How will they do that? Recommendations is still most common. Those can be personal or online.

HOW DO WE USE ONLINE PHYSICIAN REVIEWS?

We often use them without even realizing it. When I searched my general practitioner in Google the physician website was fourth in search results, plus there's a huge box at the right on the desktop to feature him in Google. Many won't even get to his website to see what they have to say before exposure to many different reviews, as you see here.

We also naturally tend to gravitate towards sites we know and already trust like Health Grades or Yelp. Both of those beat the practice's own site for this doctor. 

 

According to BrightLocal, a study published in December 2016 shows 84 percent of customers trust online reviews as a personal recommendation.

Of these people, 74% said a positive review makes them trust a business more. Thankfully fewer people (60%) said that a negative review makes them question the quality of a business. But that's still a lot of your potential customers who might think twice before booking an appointment after reading a bad review. 

HOW MUCH DO ONLINE PHYSICIAN REVIEWS AFFECT A PATIENT’S DECISION?

92% of consumers now read online reviews versus 88% in 2014. Consumers are buying everything from lightbulbs to cars to surgeries and everywhere in between.  With the addition of mobile friendly sites as standard practice it makes sense that even more people are doing these searches. Simply because it's easier than ever before with a small computer in their hands at all times.

In 2016, the National Research Corporation reported that 47% of consumers indicated that a doctor’s online reputation matters. This percentage is tied with the restaurant industry for #1 among all local business types.

This means that some people don't regard the content of the reviews as highly as others. But if almost half of your potential patients think that reviews are important, then we need to help you find a way to be sure you've got the right tools in place. 

Take control of what is found online about you and your practice. It's one of those things that really can't be done in any effective manner manually anymore. A service that is pulling data about each doctor and/or facility is what we've found to be the best starting point. But then what?

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR REVIEWS AREN'T ALL FIVE-STARS?

If every doctor in the practice has a 4 or 5 star rating on all of the various review sites being monitored by your service provider – then rock on! You don't really need to do much other than just keep on doing what you do. 

The sad reality is that no matter how good our intentions we sometimes don't see eye to eye and that can cause a negative review to get published. Pause before replying, if you can reply. It's a very personal feeling when you see someone comment about you and your life's work. But remember, your response can actually make things worse if it's not carefully crafted and all facts taken into consideration.

Whenever possible I recommend the practice call that patient right away and have the discussion offline. That way when you respond online (if you can) you'll be able to state that you saw this and addressed with Mr. X privately because he is very important to you.

If PHI has been disclosed we especially don't recommend commenting. That's acknowledgement of the PHI by the healthcare provider and is best removed or at least left alone

Your review service can often help with removal of a review, especially if PHI is at hand. Ask them what they can do before you sign up for a service. Ask us if you're not sure what kind of review services are out there and what you get with each.

Whether you do it yourself or you engage a reputation management service, negative reviews should not be ignored. If you’re starting to see a few comments that aren’t as positive as you’d like, it could be a flag that someone at your practice is not interacting well with patients. Or perhaps there’s a problem with your operational flow that has caused some discontent. These are things that can easily be addressed, improving your patient experience and reducing further harm to your personal reputation! 

THE BEST WAY TO MANAGE ONLINE PHYSICIAN REVIEWS

Use a Service for Online Reputation Monitoring and Reporting

So that you or your staff aren't blind-sided by a negative review we recommend that you use a service that monitors everything and gives you a regular report on your status at each site, but will also inform you when a new review is posted out there in the web world. 

Use Staff or a Service to Make Listing Updates and Address Reviews

It's not enough to know what's out there, you'll also need hands to help correct things and address items as they come up in reviews. Most of the online review collection service do not review and update the data. They only aggregate it for you. You will want a service like what we offer at 30 Degrees North as part of an SEO program – since reputation and review sites play a role in your search results.

If you can't use a service be sure to pay particular attention to these five physician review websites:

  • Healthgrades.com
  • Yelp.com
  • Vitals.com
  • WebMD.com
  • RateMDs.com

Facebook could also play a role if you have reviews enabled on your business' page. You can turn them off on your own Facebook page if you'd like, however.

DO REFERRING PHYSICIANS USE ONLINE REVIEWS?

While your best referral sources typically know you personally, there can also be those doctors who have heard of you and your capabilities but want to do their research before sending patients your way. What if they find poor reviews that you haven’t addressed? Or what if they see a few listings online but none of them have been personalized to “fill in the blanks” of the profiles set up by the review sites? Try to complete as much of these as you can (or have your service work on it for you) so that you have a fully developed presence online.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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Online Reputation and Behavior With Patients

Online Reputation and Behavior With Patients | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

According to Google, ‘rudeness’ is defined as ‘lack of manners or discourtesy.’ Such insensitive and disrespectful behavior at work affects people’s health and performance. It thus results in a downward spiral. According to a study, it was found that rudeness results in:

  • Reduced team performance
  • Inability to think and manage decisions
  • No communication among team
  • Inability to treat patients in complex situations, resulting in hurting patients

A disappointed and demotivated team cannot treat patients properly, and that gradually spoils your practice reputation. Since you always want your practice to grow, you need to manage your reputation and acquire more patients. For this, you need to market your services and take care of your staff who further takes care of patients.

 

Be Patient-Friendly

Your patient-centric practice should offer an exceptional experience at every point. It starts with searching your practice and continues through the end of the office visit. You need to have an interactive and informative website with a patient portal. In order to offer good treatment, you need to have a patient-friendly and motivated staff. For this, you need to:

  • Forbid negative comments from everyone in a position of power.
  • Ensure norms and values are accepted by every staff member.
  • Show regard for all team members.
  • Have practice goals and the path to achieve them recognized by all staff members.
  • Check that relationships of staff members with each other reflect your practice’s culture.

There can be no excuse for not showing basic courtesy. If you ignore this, your staff won’t be able to deal with patients’ issues.

 

Offer Satisfaction

For the growth of your practice, you need to have patient satisfaction as well as staff satisfaction, because either of them has the power to damage your reputation, especially in the world of the Internet. Review sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, Yellow Pages, etc. have a lot of content to educate your target audience about your practice. Regardless of how genuine the reason, dissatisfied patients don’t hesitate for a moment to flock to the Internet to express their frustration – subsequently, ruining your reputation. This frustration does not depend just on treatment but also includes appointment setting, the office environment and staff behavior and interaction with patients. Any rude behavior among staff will make them unhappy and demotivated, and that will gradually reflect in their behavior toward patients.

Other consequences of rude behavior with employees are:

  • Breakdown in communication
  • Mistakes entering registration details
  • Delay or no follow-up on insurance claims
  • Not actively responding to patient calls

 

All of this negatively affects patient care and the interpersonal relationships among your team members. Further, the staff is divided into two groups, one who works for you and the other who works with you. So it is essential for you to make clear to all your employees that they work with you so they feel respected and empowered. Only then you will get cooperation from your team and ideas that can take your practice to a higher level.

Issues of review spam are also an after-effect of rude behavior from staff that forces patients to write negatively about you on the online review portals and deteriorates your hard-earned reputation.

 

To conclude, remember your behavior with your staff is directly proportional to their behavior with your patients. Happy patients will do word-of-mouth marketing for you and write well about your practice on your various review and social media platforms. This will gradually grow your ranking on search engine results.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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Why Should Doctors Monitor Their Online Reputation? 

Why Should Doctors Monitor Their Online Reputation?  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Imagine going online, searching your name and finding people “reviewing” you. It wouldn’t be fun no matter how nice of a person you are. Let’s be real here, not everyone is going to like you. And that’s ok! This reality is something most people do not have to deal with. On the other hand, doctors are rated all the time.

 

There are countless websites online devoted to reviewing docs on everything from their promptness to their bedside manner. If you have recently needed to see a new doctor, chances are you used these websites and other people’s reviews to help make your decision. Since online reviews are now something that has a major influence on people when choosing a physician or surgeon, it’s imperative that these MDs monitor what people are saying or risk losing prospective patients. Below are a few reasons why doctors should monitor their online reputation.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT FOR PHYSICIANS

1. You can show prospective patients you care about building relationships

The first reason why doctors should monitor their reviews is so that you can have a say in your online reputation. You don’t want to be in the dark if someone is trolling you online and making false claims. This can negatively affect future business. If you find outlandish comments that are 100% false, you can try getting the review taken down or respond so people know that you object what is being said.

 

No matter if the reviews are positive or negative, responding to all reviews will let people know that you care about building relationships with your patients. This may make them more inclined to choose you over your competitor who is not monitoring his or her online reputation.

2. You can improve your practice

Next, it’s just good to hear legitimate complaints so you can work on fixing them. While odds are that you will hear of a major fault in person, there are other problems that you may not hear about until you read them online. For example, you may have a great interaction with a patient, but he or she has a negative experience at the front desk. Because of this negative experience, he or she may turn to Healthgrades or Yelp to vent.

 

This is your chance to hear what people really think and work on fixing that problem, if possible. You also have to be aware that if multiple people say things online, others will then believe it’s true and find another doctor. Providing a personalized response will show potential patients that you value their feedback.

3. You can flip a negative experience into a positive one

By monitoring the conversation, you have the opportunity to flip a negative situation into a positive one. People like to feel like they are being heard. By responding to a legitimate negative review and showing that you are concerned about their experience, it potentially can help you keep the patient, show other prospective patients that you care about what patients have to say, and perhaps the patient will end up removing the negative review or updating it to a positive one. Just show concern in the response and offer an email address or phone number where the patient can talk to you or a staff member to resolve the issue.

4. You can show appreciation for your loyal patients

Responding to positive reviews is just as important as responding to negative reviews. Take the opportunity to respond to the patients who are saying nice things to show that you appreciate their comments. This is an opportunity to continue building a relationship with your patients that can last a lifetime.

 

Prospective patients want to see warmth from their physician and this is an opportunity to show the bond between doctor and patient. In addition to responding to all reviews, you should actually encourage patients to write reviews for you online. Anything from a sign in the office to a follow up email can help boost your online rating. 

5. You can make sure that all websites have correct business information

Even if you don’t care what anyone has to say about you online (which you should), being active online can help ensure that every website has your correct business information. Between hours of operation, phone numbers and addresses, new patients will not be happy if they cannot get in touch with you or cannot find your practice. In addition, by having the correct information on all of these review sites, you’re helping your own website when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). This will help you show up higher than your competitors on a search engine results page (SERP).

Begin Monitoring Your Online Reputation Today

When it comes down to it, it’s good to know what is being said about you online. Whether you’re getting positive or negative reviews, you have more power knowing what’s being said and responding to them than by just ignoring a major referral source. Your reputation lives online. Be a part of the conversation.

 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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6 Ways to Get More Positive Reviews

6 Ways to Get More Positive Reviews | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

In the competitive world of healthcare, you work day and night to satisfy your patients with your services – and that leads to the growth of your practice. In this scenario, your online reputation plays a significant part, as more than 70% of people refer to online reviews before making a physical visit to a medical practice. To boost your reputation, you need more positive reviews. Let’s see how you can get them.

  1. Build your online presence

The first and foremost element for building your online presence is a stunning website for your practice. To get more positive comments, your site should have:

  • Patient portal for easy appointment scheduling
  • Informative content for visitors, related to their ailments and treatments
  • Easy navigation throughout the site
  • Good search engine optimization to rank high in search engine results

Get professional help for website creation to boost your practice’s image. Along with the website, some other ways to build your online presence are:

  • Create an account on all social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
  • Create an account on popular review sites such as Yelp, Google My Business, Healthgrades, etc.
  • Post blogs and guest blogs on relevant sites
  • Participate in online healthcare forums

 

  1. Ask for positive reviews

After providing good treatment, you have the right to ask happy patients to post positive reviews of your practice. And they will surely do it for you. Remember, don’t ask your staff and family members to write reviews for your practice. Google’s algorithms are good at identifying fake reviews since there are more adjectives and less description of the actual experience. In the long run, this can backfire on your online reputation and know about the fake reviews will probably demotivate your patients to write about your practice. Remember not to force patients to write reviews or testimonials for you; just request them.

 

  1. Reply to all reviews

Ignoring reviews will result in damage to your online image. According to a study, more than 50% of people believe that a doctor should reply to reviews. So you need to regularly check your social media accounts and various review sites for any reviews and reply to all, whether positive or negative. This will reflect your proactive and considerate personality to your patients and gradually increase the number of positive reviews.

 

  1. Don’t be defensive

Not every patient will walk out satisfied. This dissatisfaction can lead to bad online reviews. Remember, they need not be taken personally. Don’t delete or ignore them; rather, reply to negative comments with thanks. Take them as feedback. Respond with a solution to your patient’s issue, assure improvement or request the reviewer to take his concern or issue offline. Offering a solution will shine a positive light on your personality and even result in removal of negative reviews.

 

It is always advisable to do some homework before dealing with negative reviews. Assess the negative comments by asking the following questions:

  • Why was the patient dissatisfied?
  • Is it a true comment or review spam?
  • Do other patients have similar issues?
  • Could your staff help in any way?
  • What changes will delight your patient?

 

  1. Invest your time

You have a busy schedule and the exhausting task of treating your patients, which keep you quite occupied. But it is essential to respond after your practice hours to reviews by your existing patients and potential ones to know that you are available around the clock. The Internet is accessed 24/7, and this makes it more important for you to reply to negative comments and stop any damage from happening to your practice.

 

  1. Follow up

Since your patients took time to post a positive review about your practice, you need to appreciate the act. Thank them and let them know you value their reviews. Send them emails or make a phone call. Inform them about any modification made to your practice. Offer them other services such as no waiting time before appointments or a free consultation on the next visit, etc.

 

All this helps you build a strong online reputation that is the bedrock for positive reviews. Positive reviews cannot be built overnight, but negative reviews can damage your reputation overnight. Work hard and provide consistently good service. Additionally, work on your digital marketing strategies to increase the reach of your practice and win the trust of your consumers.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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10 Things Healthcare Marketers Get Wrong With Facebook Ads 

10 Things Healthcare Marketers Get Wrong With Facebook Ads  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Facebook isn’t always the easiest platform to stay on top of, due to it’s constantly changing ad setup interfaces, constant updates, and routine algorithm adjustments. There are subtleties in the setup that can cost you in ad spend, traffic, and potential revenue depending on your campaign strategy and intent. And if your strategy isn’t up to par prior to setup, you’re almost better off burning those campaign budgets yourself. Facebook doesn’t lament poor ad campaign execution – it profits from it!

So for those reasons, we’ve put together the top ten mistakes healthcare marketers in particular (but by no means exclusively) make that we see most often. Some of it is simpler than you think!

1.  Your content isn’t tailored to a specified audience

2.  You’re shotgunning ad campaigns

Shotgunning is a side effect of wanting your content to be seen as soon as possible by as many people possible. It’s as expensive as it is ineffective, because Facebook is the center of attention for a lot of diverse audiences. Be sure to take your time. Select the right interests, locations, groups, and demographics that make up the core of your target audience. Facebook’s algorithms are tied to relevancy – if your ads aren’t relevant, you’re burning your ad budget with your own hands.

3.  You’re not engaging with your audience

If your audience is actively engaged with your content, or trying to reach out to you directly – don’t be scared, engage with them! It promotes quality discussion and brand trust, and is always best to do. Leave no stone unturned when promoting greater conversation around your brand.  Not to mention, leveraging comments on Facebook has HUGE impact on your marketing strategy. It can impact everything from the content you use, depicted imagery, how you refine your audience, and even how you refine your message.

4.  Your bid strategy is off

Outside of targeting the wrong audience, and producing irrelevant content – this is the most costly mistake of them all.  When setting up your campaigns, in the “Ad Set” edit section – scroll down to the “Optimization & Delivery” section and (when under the When You Get Charged option) be sure the selection is not set to impression! This basically gives Facebook free range to charge you, as it’s based on purely views.  If you’re looking to do a post boost, change this option to “Post Engagement” to maximize the bang for your buck.

5.  You’re not using hashtags

The first hashtag was used in 2007 by Chris Messina, and has been leveraged across multiple platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. It provides individuals a way to connect, express emotion, and categorize similar interests.  It’s a godsend for keyword searching. So it’s important to use hashtags in organic posts in Facebook, as having 1 or 2 hashtags in ads can actually expand your reach. 

6.  You’re imagery is off

Imagery is the most important aspect of any post on Facebook.  Similar to content, if your imagery doesn’t catch your audience right off the bat, you could be in trouble. We institute a “goldfish” rule when it comes to imagery: if your image doesn’t catch your audience’s attention within the first 3 seconds, they’ve already forgotten it.  So select visually compelling, relevant, and meaningful images that resonate with your audience and your message. Just as well, be sure to have multiple images in place for AB testing purposes.  This allows you to capture preferential based data, and affords you the flexibility to pivot your creative direction quickly.

7.  You’re not diversifying your ad types and/or ad placement

The most common ad on Facebook is your basic click to website, static 1200×627 image ad.  This is effective, but newer ad types are available that can drive greater engagement, views, and set yourself apart from your competition.  Ad placement is also important depending on your objective (for example, mobile has been outperforming standard desktop ads and at a fraction of the cost).  But if you’re looking to include contact form ads or display more complex product benefits, you might need to focus on Desktop. Different strategies call for weighing the pros and cons of placement diversity and ad type.

Let’s look at a breakdown of placements and ad types to better show you which may or may not align with your campaign objectives:

Lead Generation Ad Type:

This new ad style has been pretty popular these past couple months due to its ability to reach specific individuals and capture information through custom forms.  This ad type requires a link to your privacy policy, custom text that you can have either in paragraph or bullet format and with a custom message at the end.

Make sure you have a unique attention grabbing statement and content that will bring them value  – otherwise success will be difficult with this type of ad.

Clicks to Website & Website Conversion Ad Types:

A Facebook ad staple, this specific ad type has multiple layouts to choose from.  You have your standard 1200px by 627px image, some headline text, ad text, and link description text.

Another variation is the multi-image ads (Facebook Carousel ads) which include up to a few 1080px by 1080px images with custom text per each image block.  This can be very effective if you have multiple landing pages you’re looking to convert from, multiple events, products, and theme related offerings.

Another popular conversion ad nowadays are video ads.  The recommended text length is how many characters of ad copy could be displayed on smaller screens. Video lengths up to 30 seconds or under will continuously loop on Facebook for up to approximately 90 seconds.

App Installs:

For all you startup healthcare brands with apps, this is a solid way of gaining active users for your platforms and (most importantly) downloads.  There is a catch: you’ll have to have a Facebook App ID in order to use the Facebook SDK for iOS, Android, or JavaScript (Web).  But this shouldn’t be a problem if you already have a development team in place.

Page Likes Ad Types:

If you’re looking to grow your brand’s Facebook page or healthcare community, you’ll need a little assistance from the Page Likes campaign within Facebook.  This includes Desktop News Feed, Mobile News Feed and Right Column ads. We’ve personally found that the Mobile and Right Column perform the best for the lowest price, but it all depends on the audience you’re looking to target. Some of the specs and recommendations include an image size of 1200px by 444px, a limitation of 25 characters for the headline, and 90 characters for the bulk text.

8.  You’re image size isn’t quite right

Another big boo-boo: wrong image size in place when running ads.  This not only gives the potential audience a negative first impression, but it looks lazy.  If your image size is too small, Facebook will blow the size up and the image will be blurry and pixelated. If it’s too large – Facebook crops it for you.

 

Below are the basic Facebook image sizes. Use them appropriately!

  • Static Image Size: 1200px x 627px  
  • Multi-Image Size:  600px x 600px
  • Organic Post Size: 600px x 600px

9.  Make sure ads are mobile friendly

In the U.S. alone, 73% of people say their phone is always with them, and almost half of them check their phone 35+ times a day.  Since people consume mobile content on Facebook faster than on their desktop or laptops, Facebook will continue to make updates to its products to ensure your marketing dollars are effectively utilized on those mobile users.

10.  No clear call-to-actions

Call-to-actions, also known as CTA, are the single most important part of your ad and your website.  In Facebook, they give you a few button CTA’s to choose from, so you have to make do with those options.  Yes, they are fairly boring and generic. They do very little to convert users – so it’s your job to make sure the CTA is clear and concise in the messaging/copy and sometimes even in the headline.

 

So remember: Facebook ad campaign strategy and execution go hand in hand. If your target audience isn’t refined, your backend isn’t setup properly, and your content and imagery isn’t relevant or doesn’t resonate – you’re in a very serious world of marketing hurt. Yet these are common mistakes that we see on a day to day basis!

Regardless, probably the most important tip of them all is that these facets of Facebook advertising are constantly changing. That’s right. Facebook is a constantly evolving platform whose primary attention is focused on the user. Which means as marketers, we have to be extremely attentive as to how those adaptations alter our ability to spread our message. And oftentimes, it’s the simplest mistakes that can send a like campaign careening downwards, trigger an adverse event, or suddenly eat up a lifetime budget in a weekend. 

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How to Manage the Online Reputation of Your Medical Practice

How to Manage the Online Reputation of Your Medical Practice | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

In a physician’s office, patients take doctors at their word. Online, they can take them at everyone else’s. While it’s true that building a healthy online reputation is critical for medical practices to succeed in the digital age, the truth is that this “building” isn’t done directly by you so much as it is by your patients. You can provide the best care in the world, but if it isn’t impressing your patients, there’s not much chance your reputation will benefit.

Today, roughly 80% of Americans search for health information online, according to NBC, and nearly 40% look at online physician ratings before seeing a doctor (54% of millennials, naturally), according to mobilehealthnews. This is wonderful news if those reviews are stellar, as 88% of consumers trust them as much as personal recommendations, as Search Engine Land reports. If they’re not, you’ve got a serious problem on your hands.

For this reason, medical practices must be especially proactive about online reputation management, actively reaching out to both happy and dissatisfied customers across digital media. They also have to be on the lookout for unsavory content that can sink a practice, like fake and overblown reviews on sites like Yelp, RateMD, Healthgrades, and Vitals. 

Bad Reviews Are a Big Deal, But Google May Be Leveling the Field

Online, medical practices are often the unfortunate victims of sampling bias, where small  numbers of negative online reviews are given undue attention. Healthcare IT news found that 96% of doctors have fewer than ten reviews on the first page of Google search results, which means that the few reviews available often represent patients who have had particularly strong emotional reactions to their experiences. 

As you can imagine, their opinions are often negative, but that doesn’t mean they accurately reflect a doctor’s and/or medical practice’s actual standards of care. It’s also not unusual for them to be fake — numerous scamming companies have paid hefty fines after being caught inventing bad reviews about small businesses, as Reuters reports. 

This should be of particular concern to physicians. Negative reviews (whether they’re fake or real) put medical practices in serious danger of losing patients, but unfortunately there’s little that doctors can do about them. As Buzzfeed reports, HIPAA laws prevent doctors from publicly discussing their patients, or, in other words, refuting these claims. 

In the case of Yelp, doctors can improve their review standings, but only by paying hundreds of dollars to become a paid member. This enables them to do things like move positive reviews into Yelp’s “Recommended” section, as explained by WTOP. This smacks of shady business practice to many — in fact, Yelp has actually been sued for extortion (albeit unsuccessfully) by a number of businesses, as the International Business Times. 

However, Google may be leveling the playing field somewhat. According to the SEM Post, on February 22nd, webmasters began noticing a dramatic decrease in the number of review stars displayed in search results pages. The first day saw a drop of 14.5%, followed by an additional 12% drop within the next 24 hours, and the numbers have continued to decline from there.

Although it’s unclear whether this is a permanent change, a temporary experiment, or even just a bug in the algorithm (Google has yet to officially comment on the change), for those with unwarranted poor ratings, it’s definitely a reason to celebrate. 

How Can Medical Practices Manage Their Reputations?

This doesn’t mean that doctors are helpless to control their online image. There are some simple steps doctors can take to enhance the effect of positive reviews while lessening the negative impact of bad ones:

Medical practices should “claim” their reviews on review sites, publically stating that they are the doctor being praised in the review to validate not only that review, but also future ones that appear in the same place. 

Practices must also take an active role in communicating with their online audience. For every glowing review or furious accusation, doctors should either reply directly on the review site (where HIPAA-compliant) or send the patient a personal note or email. 

As Medical Practice Insider notes, it’s a good practice to encourage your patients to review you, especially on your website, whenever possible. Still, you ought to tread carefully, as Yelp heavily frowns on actively soliciting customer reviews. 

While medical practices can’t control what people say about them online, they can control their own marketing message. By creating content that speaks to their audience and optimizing their website, a medical practice can positively engage with potential patients, regardless of reviews. After all, people are perceptive — if you project a positive and professional image online, prospective patients will have no trouble making up their own minds.

 

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10 Conversion Boosters for Physician Websites

10 Conversion Boosters for Physician Websites | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Fortunately, optimizing medical practice websites and increasing conversion rates (the number of leads who fill out a contact form or schedule an appointment, for example) can be a relatively simple and straightforward process. Here are 10 conversion boosters to help you transform online leads into filled seats in your waiting room.

1. Content Scan Optimization

On average, website visitors won’t read more than a quarter of the words on a given page, as Neilsen Norman Group explains, so make it easy for them to quickly scan and find the information they need: headlines, navigation buttons, and calls-to-action (CTAs), organized in a clear visual hierarchy.

Other important considerations: headlines should contain keyword search queries (the words they clicked on a Google results page), content should be broken into easily digestible sections, and instructions for next-steps should be extremely clear.

2. Mobile Optimization

Mobile is now, by a clear margin, the primary means for searching the internet, according to Marketing Land — so your website must accommodate mobile users flawlessly. Whether through responsive website design or mobile optimization, content and images should be easy to navigate on a mobile device. Even more importantly, it’s a good idea to add click-to-call (CTC) functionality and track mobile traffic independently.

3. Photo Usage

People like to see other people smiling; statistically, such images have been shown to improve conversion rates by as much as 95%, according to KissMetrics. Professional photos of your staff and patients breed familiarity and trust among leads by demonstrating that you’re a real practice with real, happy patients — while at the same time differentiating you from the competition and leaving a lasting impression.

For practices focusing on cosmetic procedures, “Before” and “After” pictures of patients are also a great way to provide an immediate proof of concept.

4. No Graphic Imagery

Overly medical or graphic content will likely scare potential patients away, and should be avoided. However, showcasing procedures in a palatable manner (often via illustrations) can help to inform, comfort, and draw in your prospects.

5. Video Usage

Videos are a highly effective way to engage leads and deliver information concisely. In fact, consumers at large are 1.81x more likely to make a purchase after watching a video, as Adobe explains. Such content should feature physicians, staff, or patient testimonials and, of course, be formatted for mobile. Make sure to avoid annoying auto-play functions.

6. Testimonials & Reviews

Given that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to Search Engine Land — and that 62% of patients seek reviews as the first step in finding a doctor — sites should always feature patient testimonials prominently. In fact, positive reviews have been proven to deliver sales boosts of up to 18%, as Econsultancy reports.

7. Easy-to-Find Phone Number

It’s much easier for patients to call you directly than to fill out a submission form your website. Accurate and up-to-date contact numbers must be placed visibly in an upper-right corner or on your “Contact Us” page. A frequent but easily avoidable misstep: never save your contact number as a text file, which can’t be copied and pasted.

8. Contact Forms: Intuitiveness

Physicians require patient contact information for follow-up, but website visitors aren’t always willing to provide it. Forms need be placed in obvious locations throughout the site, and the form-filling process must be seamless — any minor pain point can be cause for hesitancy.

9. Contact Forms: Simplicity

For customer convenience, aim to collect only the information from leads that is absolutely essential. It’s often helpful to have only a few required fields, with the rest being optional. But take note: one company managed to increase conversions 120% by simply reducing their number of required fields from 11 to 4, according to Ubounce. And don’t forget: form-filling on mobile should be optimized for the platform — in other words, keep it simple.

10. Contact Forms: Reinforce Trust

Filling out a contact form is, essentially, like lending your personal information to a complete stranger. Build customer trust with highly visible accreditation logos, trust seals, and certifications from well known, reputable organizations.

While these 10 conversion boosters can help to significantly improve your physician website, performance evaluation and optimization should be ongoing processes — testing, experimentation, re-testing, and implementation are the keys to long-term success.

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How to Start Marketing Your Medical Practice on Facebook

How to Start Marketing Your Medical Practice on Facebook | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The notion that Facebook is an important marketing channel isn’t exactly breaking news — the platform’s 1.94 billion users and projected 39.1% share of the total U.S. display ad revenue in 2017 kind of say it all.

But for physicians and other medical specialists, just getting a Facebook presence up and running (properly) can be a real challenge. If you’re considering investing in Facebook marketing for your practice (or want to revamp your current approach), here are a few tips and tricks to help get you started on the right foot.

Build Your Practice’s “Company Page”

Within the medical community, using a personal Facebook account to represent your brand is often viewed as unprofessional — you’ll want to build an official company page, which will serve as your primary channel for interaction and engagement on the network.

Of course, Facebook outlines the basics of creating an account in its Help Center, but here are a few healthcare-specific tips that will help boost the efficacy of your page:

  1. Make your contact info clear and easy to find: be sure you include your phone number, typical hours of operation, address, and a link to your main website, just like would on a business directory listing or your site’s “Contact Us” page.
  2. Include photos and videos: Facebook users prefer visual-based content. Be sure to provide compelling images and videos that highlight your facilities, staff, and general expertise in your field.
  3. Calls to action (CTAs) are key: the primary goal of your page is to get patients to visit your website and/or call your offices directly. Make sure you’re giving them plenty of opportunities to do so by including clear and highly visible CTAs throughout your page.

Start Generating Content

Before you start promoting or inviting people to your page, you’ll want to make sure it’s well-populated with an interesting array of content. Good Facebook posts typically include a visual element like an image or infographic (as I already mentioned, visual posts tend to outperform text-only ones). If you do include text, try to keep it short and digestible — you don’t want your target audience’s eyes glazing over from a long-winded, technical explanation of a condition or treatment.

A good workaround for this is to use Facebook posts to promote longer-form, onsite content, such as a blog post, interview or podcast. This approach comes with the added benefit of sending more qualified traffic to your site, where there’s an increased chance for conversion.

Connect With Your Target Audience

Start growing your practice’s Facebook fan base by leveraging existing networks — invite current patients, colleagues, and friends to “like” your page so you have a solid foundation of followers Now start linking some of your other on- and offline marketing efforts to your new page. For example, start promoting your Facebook page in your email signature, on your website, and even on informational/promotional brochures.

You can also join and start posting in Facebook groups largely made up of your target patient demographic (for example, if your practices specializes in sports medicine, you could look for local running or health and fitness clubs). Just make sure you’re not being overly advertorial — coming across as “spammy” will likely do more harm than good.

Invest In Facebook Advertising

If you want to boost your Facebook marketing strategy to the next level, you should consider investing in Facebook advertising. Facebook’s advanced ad platform allows you to target patients based on key demographic information (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, language, income, and more), as well as their interests (e.g., interests they list on their profiles, specific Pages they like, and other ads they’ve clicked on in the past).

Of course, seeing a positive ROI will require a properly designed, implemented, and actively managed campaign. Just like Google, Facebook’s primary objective is to provide a positive experience for its users, so it’s constantly updating its algorithms and capabilities in accordance with consumer feedback and shifting preferences. In other words, there's no such thing as a set-it-and-forget-it approach. That said, the potential returns on a Facebook campaign make it well worth the effort and investment — you just need to make sure both are being spent in the wisest way possible.

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Three Reasons Social Media Should Be a Strategic Priority for Clinical Trials

Three Reasons Social Media Should Be a Strategic Priority for Clinical Trials | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The rise of digital media has revolutionized healthcare, empowering patients to conduct their own medical research and make their own decisions about treatment. Increasingly, clinical trial sponsors and CROs are recognizing this trend and adjusting their recruitment strategies in order to remain in-step with shifting consumer preferences. That “adjustment” has primarily entailed moving away from traditional advertising outlets (TV, radio, print) towards digital marketing channels in order to reach more prospective participants, and to do so in a more targeted, ROI-positive manner.

As social platforms like Facebook have matured and proliferated over the past five to seven years, it’s emerged as a powerful clinical recruitment engine. Here are a few of the key reasons sponsors and CROs should seriously consider adding social media marketing into their digital recruitment strategies.

1. Reaching a Wider Audience

In the past, one of the biggest roadblocks to patient recruitment success has been connecting a large enough number of patients with relevant clinical research opportunities in a cost-effective manner. Traditional media casts a wide net, but in addition to being expensive, there’s no real way of guaranteeing the message will actually reach your desired audience.

Data indicates that the industry’s approach to raising awareness has been largely ineffective. For example, NIH research suggests that some 85% of cancer patients remain unaware of active clinical research opportunities, even though 75% of them say they would be willing to participate if they did. What’s more, the efficacy of traditional tactics for patient education and referrals seems to be diminishing quickly — for example, a recent Tufts CSDD report indicates that only 0.2% doctors and nurses actively refer their patients to clinical trials.

Social media presents an opportunity for sponsors and CROs to reach an absolutely massive audience with the resources and information they need to enroll. For example, Facebook’s user base is now more than two-billion strong, which includes 100% representation for many chronic and/or rare conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

2. Communities and Support

One of the biggest developments associated with the rise of social media is the mass proliferation of online patient communities. A recent Health Union survey of more than 2,200 chronic care patients found that 26% use the platform once or more every day for health, and more than 50% on a monthly basis. Many are looking to condition-specific Facebook pages for guidance and other information from others suffering from the same affliction, in large part because social media users are so vocal about their experiences — even personal ones.

The Health Union study found that approximately 49% of respondents had “posted or shared a personal story or content online and 48% have shared a health-related post, photo or video that was not their own.”

The study explains, “The desire to explain their condition drives most of those who posted or shared content online, along with managing or coping with the symptoms...content that promotes understanding and support for these conditions receive the highest levels of engagement in social media.”

What’s clear is that patients are receptive to the information they come across on social media — as such, clinical trials should make social media engagement a priority in order to increase patient awareness and connect with more potentially qualified participants.

3. Social Media Advertising Works

In any marketing campaign, one of the main factors determining the ROI will be whether or not you can get the right materials in front of the right audience. Unlike traditional print, radio, and television ads, social media advertising platforms like Facebook offer powerful targeting tools that allow clinical trials to reach niche patient segments.

Sponsors and CROs can design campaigns around specific inclusion/exclusion criteria, such as age, sex, ethnicity, geographic location, and demonstrated interests, ensuring that the ads are being shown to only the most qualified candidates and increasing the likelihood of conversion.

At the end of the day, clinical trial sponsors and other stakeholders involved in patient recruitment need to recognize that social media is no longer a novelty. Rather, it’s become an established, trusted resource for consumers looking for health-related information and support. Utilizing it isn’t just about keeping R&D costs under control — it’s about making it easier for patients suffering from serious illnesses to get the information and ultimately, the care they need.

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Medical Review Management: Vital For Doctor's Online Reputation

Medical Review Management: Vital For Doctor's Online Reputation | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

There was a time in the not too distant past that a business' reputation was made or ruined by word-of-mouth peer reviews or a call to the Better Business Bureau. Since the advent of the Internet, that process has been accelerated and word of mouth now travels at the speed of electrons and is easily searchable and visible. A check of a business on the BBB websites now takes a matter of minutes, no phone calls or letters required and very little time commitment. Consumers are turning to online review sites and forums more than ever before to get information on a business, product, or service they're considering. And they listen to what their peers have to say.

Search Engine Land's Local Consumer Review Survey 2012 shows that 72% of those surveyed trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from someone they know personally and 52% say that a positive review makes them much more likely to buy. Other findings from the survey show that 49% use online reviews to make a purchase decision at least occasionally and 27% do so regularly. And the number of reviews read before making a decision is steadily declining with 27% relying on 2-10 reviews, a reflection of increasing trust.

Another factor in the increasing impact of online reviews from all sources is the fact that as such sites become more popular with consumers, the search engines take notice and increase the ranking in their search results accordingly.

So businesses that want to be successful, which is all of them, can't ignore the impact of online opinions and need to engage in some type of active review monitoring and reputation management strategy. This is especially true for doctors and others offering healthcare services who rely on review sites to provide an accurate depiction of their practice or service. After all, consumers consider health care quality and costs to be one of the most important of life decisions and take extra care in deciding who is going to provide those services and products. A reputation can be ruined quickly with only a handful of negative doctor reviews but positive doctor reviews can significantly increase business.

Online reputation management takes a considerable amount of time; of which, most doctors don't have available to dedicate. Instead of using your valuable time worrying about what is being said about your practice or professional name online, there are resources specializing in being proactive to help minimize the effect one bad doctor review can have. Consider delegating to a reputable and experienced service that specializes in medical review management and provides a venue for customers to leave feedback and doctor reviews.

Review sites have a dramatic impact on your practices' web traffic and ultimately your number of appointments and procedures. There are many channels (Yelp, Google) and doctor review sites (Healthgrades, Vitals.com and MD.com) for both satisfied and unsatisfied patients to share their experiences. Don't let one bad review impact your practice; actively monitor what your patients are saying online and take a proactive approach to turning lemons into lemonade.

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How Doctors Should Respond To Negative Online Reviews

How Doctors Should Respond To Negative Online Reviews | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Most businesses have mixed emotions about online consumer reviews, but the doctor community has opposed consumer reviews of their services to an unusual degree.  Why?  Some possible explanations:

Doctors are sensitive about their reputation.  Small business owners (including doctors) have strong linkages between their personal identity and the business’ identity, but doctors often take negative patient reviews even more personally than most business owners.  Sometimes, this reflects the doctor’s passion for delivering high-quality services, so doctors are frustrated if they don’t achieve that goal.  Other times, doctors may feel like the patients weren’t grateful, especially when the doctor did the best he/she could in complex circumstances.

 

Patient reviews matter.  Historically, patient opinions about the quality of their healthcare didn’t matter too much.  Many doctors got patients through hospital/insurance affiliations and referrals from other doctors.  Patient word-of-mouth also played a role, but doctors who failed to keep patients happy didn’t always suffer the professional consequences.  Now, because patients can speak publicly about their experiences and influence other prospective patients, they have new-found leverage over doctors.

 

Patients can’t judge the quality of medical advice.  Doctors often complain that patients lack the medical expertise to evaluate whether the doctor gave sound medical advice.  While doctors are the “experts” in the doctor-patient relationship, this usually overstates matters by a lot.  Patients are more sophisticated about medical services than ever before (due, in part, to their independent Internet research), and patients often can and do obtain second opinions from other doctors.  Furthermore, as I’ll discuss in a moment, patient reviews often address matters unrelated to a doctor’s medical advice, and in those cases the patients' lack of medical expertise is irrelevant.

 

Confidentiality obligations restrict doctors’ ability to respond.  Unlike many other small business owners, doctors owe their patients a duty of confidentiality.  As a result, doctors feel like patients can criticize their medical advice but the doctor can’t respond adequately due to confidentiality obligations.

Preying on these fears, for years an outfit called Medical Justice helped doctors suppress reviews by their patients.  Medical Justice provided form contracts that asked patients to sign away their right to review the doctor or transfer the copyright in any unwritten reviews to the doctor.  Many doctors--I estimate about 1,200 at the peak--embraced Medical Justice’s attractively pitched “solution” to the purported problems associated with patient reviews.

 

Encourage, Don’t Discourage, Patient Reviews

Everyone--even Medical Justice--now realizes it was a huge mistake to discourage patient reviews.  Doctors should want and encourage their patients to write reviews because:

 

Most online reviews by patients are positive.  The vast majority of patients’ reviews of their doctors are positive.  Doctors should get the public accolades for the excellent work they do.

Reviews provide doctors with useful feedback.  In addition to (rare) concerns about medical advice, patients may encounter issues with parking, office managers, billing practices, operating hours or bedside manners.  Indeed, most patient reviews address issues other than medical advice (see this press release).  While none of these detract from the quality of a doctor's medical advice, these issues do matter to existing and prospective patients.  Patient reviews provide doctors with honest and incredibly valuable feedback about what they are doing right with their practice, and what aspects they might want to revisit.

 

Individual reviews may not be credible, but the wisdom of the crowd is credible.  Doctors are sometimes petrified that a single patient will post an unfair review online, and that review will permanently damage the doctor’s practice.  Although this fear is easily overblown (prospective patients typically don’t make such an important decision based on a single review), it is quite easy to avoid this issue.  As the First Amendment maxim goes, the solution to “bad” speech is more speech.  Consistent with the “wisdom of the crowds,” any individual review isn’t necessarily credible, but the aggregate assessment of all patients becomes increasingly credible as the number of reviews grows.  If a doctor's only online review is negative, that review gains power from its uniqueness.  By expanding the number of online reviews, prospective patients get a more complete picture.

 

This reinforces why Medical Justice’s so-called solution was so counterproductive.  Doctors need a large enough set of patient reviews to achieve the wisdom of the crowds, yet Medical Justice helped and encouraged doctors to suppress patient reviews--increasing the odds that doctors would have only one or two patient reviews online, giving those reviews heightened significance for prospective patients who were starved for that information.  Doctors who followed Medical Justice's system are now scrambling to grow their review numbers; those who never tried to suppress patient reviews have a decided advantage over them.

 

It is unethical, and perhaps illegal, to restrict patient reviews.  Medical Justice’s contracts have not been definitively tested in court yet, so we don’t know for sure if they’re legal or not.  However, efforts to restrict patient reviews face some serious problems, such as:

  • In the late 1990s, software company Network Associates tried to impose a contractual clause restricting buyers from publishing reviews of the software.  In 2003, a New York court enjoined Network Associates from continuing to use that clause.
  • The U.S. Department of Health & Human Service’s Office of Civil Rights required a doctor to stop using Medical Justice’s anti-review form.
  • In one case where a doctor threatened to enforce the Medical Justice form against a patient, the patient instead preemptively sued the doctor.  The court’s initial opinion signaled serious skepticism about the legitimacy of the doctor’s conduct.

Even more importantly than the legal risks, asking patients to restrict their rights sends a terrible message to a doctor's patients.  Basically, it tells patients that the doctor doesn’t trust them enough to tell the truth online.  That distrust, at the beginning of an often long-term and vital relationship, permanently undermines the doctor-patient relationship.  How can a doctor expect patients to talk honestly and openly about their personal medical conditions, if the doctor has told them from day 1 that he/she don’t trust them to be honest elsewhere?

 

Dealing with a Negative Review

If the number of patient reviews is large enough, any outlier negative review will be diluted by the others.  Still, some things a doctor might do in response to a negative review:

Learn from the review.  Negative reviews offer doctors valuable feedback (no matter how poorly expressed), including feedback that patients are too afraid to tell their doctors directly.  Doctors should try to overcome their emotional reactions to a negative review and think objectively whether the patient might have a point--and if so, how the doctor will improve his/her services.

Respond privately.  If a doctor runs into an incredibly unhappy patient, it is worth trying to reach out to the patient privately.  (Not all patient reviews are attributed, so this isn’t always possible).  Doctors should show sincerity, sympathy and contrition.  When done properly, doctors frequently can turn their worst critic into their most loyal ally.

 

Respond publicly only if necessary. Repeatedly, I’ve seen a doctor’s happy patients rush to the defense of a doctor under attack and independently rebut a negative review.  If a doctor's patients are satisfied, the doctor can trust them to correct misinformation.

Where a review criticizes a doctor's medical advice, the doctor can’t respond with specifics about the patient’s circumstances (unless the patient consents), but the doctor can describe his/her standard protocols under specified conditions.

 

If the negative feedback is accurate, the doctor might apologize in public and explain how he or she will going to avoid the problem in the future.  Patients don’t expect doctors to be perfect, but they do expect doctors to learn from their mistakes.  Owning up to a mistake helps prospective patients trust their doctors even more. Note that responding to the review at all could provide extra visibility to the review, so public silence might be a rational choice.

Complain to review websites about fake reviews.  Review websites often won’t intervene when doctors claim that reviews defame them, and they are not legally obligated to do so (or legally liable for their failure to intervene) due to a statute Congress enacted in 1996 (47 USC 230).  However, if a doctor has credible evidence that the review is fake, review websites may be interested.  Review websites hate fake reviews as much as doctors do.

 

Lawsuits are almost never a good option.  Suing patients is a categorically bad idea, even if they’ve lied.  Inevitably the patient will respond with a malpractice claim or will bring a complaint against the doctor's license to practice; a lawsuit calls more attention to the patient’s assertions (the Streisand Effect); doctors suing patients often look like they have something to hide; and perhaps most importantly, the doctor isn't likely to win.  Over the past decade, I’ve identifiedabout two dozen doctor vs. patient lawsuits over online reviews.  Doctors rarely win in court, and even worse, some doctors ultimately must pay the attorneys’ fees of their patients as well as their own.  That’s a really bad business outcome.

 

The legal analysis is more complicated if the doctor can prove that a competitor or vindictive party is posting fake reviews.  Those lawsuits are more winnable than lawsuits against patients, but often the time and costs required to win simply aren’t worth it.  If a doctor decides to go this route, the doctor should clarify with his/her attorney what the ideal outcome is, the odds of achieving that ideal outcome, and how much it will cost to try.

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Online Reputation Management for Doctors a Growing Concern

Online Reputation Management for Doctors a Growing Concern | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

A new study in the Journal of American Medicine reports that patients are increasingly using online physician ratings, and many consider them to be at least somewhat important. Overall, doctor reputation is very important when patients are choosing their primary care doctor.

In the survey, patients selected the importance of factors when choosing a physician. Not surprisingly, finding a doctor that accepts the right health insurance is very important to most (89%) of patients. A convenient office location and years of experience were also rated very important.

Though not as important as insurance, convenience, or experience, patients also rated reputational factors highly. Over 3/4 of patients indicated being a part of a trusted group practice was at least somewhat important, and 85% look for a doctor based on word of mouth from family and friends. Physician referrals are influential as well, with 80% of patients rating these as somewhat or very important.

A physician’s rating on websites is also influential for patients choosing a primary care doctor. Though only 19% indicated that ratings are very important, overall, 59% consider a physician’s online reputation to be at least somewhat important.

Online Reputation Increasingly Important for Physicians

According to the study’s lead author, Dr. David Hanauer, the number of patients who consider physician rating sites to be important is much higher than it was just a few years ago. He expects that this trend will continue, for better or for worse.

“The usage is increasing over time,” says Hanauer. “We need to be aware that these sites are being used. I think there are still valid concerns whether these sites are trustworthy.”

Awareness of doctor rating sites grows, as the study revealed that 65% of participants were aware of them. The sites include Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com, and RateMDs.com. Most of the people who visited the sites said that the information they found was at least somewhat useful.

More importantly, patients are taking action based on doctor reviews. Over 1/3 of website subscribers indicated they chose a doctor based on a positive rating, and 37% decided against a doctor because they did not like their reviews.

Some doctors see this increase in awareness of physician review sites as a positive move. Dr. Tara Lagu, who previously studied the content of doctor rating website reviews, believes that greater awareness will allow physicians to increase their ratings, as one bad review out of just a few can be far more damaging than one bad review out of 50 or more.

For doctors who are wary of the new review sites, Lagu says they’re here to stay — and physicians will need to learn how to work with them.

“I think we should realize that these products are here to stay and doctors are just going to learn to live with them and there are ways to deal with them that are better than others,” says Lagu. “I understand some of the concerns, but as I said I think the vast majority of the reviews tend to be fair and positive.”

Accuracy in Online Doctor Reviews

Doctor review websites are subject to the same problems as all other review sites. Namely, fake reviews. Dr. Hanauer noted that accuracy is especially important on physician review sites, as the decisions made based on those reviews can have serious consequences.

“If you pick a bad restaurant, you may not enjoy your meal,” says Hanauer. “But if you pick a bad doctor, that may affect your health.”

Hanauer suggests that doctors may need to develop a reliable rating system for their patients.

The American Medical Association (AMA) encourages patients not to put confidence in any anonymous reviews found online.

“Anonymous online opinions of physicians should be taken with a grain of salt, and should certainly not be a patient’s sole source of information when looking for a new physician,” said AMA president Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven.

How Doctors Can Work With Physician Review Sites

As awareness and use of physician review sites continues to increase, online reputation management for doctors becomes more important. Though Dr. Hanauer notes that some physicians require patients to sign non-disclosure agreements that forbid the use of online review sites, it’s best for doctors to take an open approach to online reputation.

Physicians should see online reviews as an opportunity for growth, and encourage patients to leave positive reviews. A new patient that understands your strengths and flaws and chooses you with awareness of these factors is likely to be a patient you’ll enjoy working with. Doctors can encourage online reviews and take a few simple steps to developing a good online reputation:

  • Sign up for physician review sites. Don’t wait for the reviews to come to you. Create a profile on major review sites, including Healthgrades, Vitals, and RateMDs. You’ll be able to provide the websites with accurate, up to date information, including your practice address, specialties, education, and awards.
  • Respond to reviews. Show patients that you truly care what they think of your service as a medical professional by responding to their reviews, both positive and negative.
  • Consider negative feedback a gift. Hearing the truth hurts, especially if a review is not entirely fair or based on factors outside of your control. Still, negative reviews can help you shed light on missteps in your practice. Patients who complain about long wait times or trouble with filling prescriptions may help you better direct your office staff.
  • Ask patients to review you. Let patients know that you are proud of your work as a physician, and that you appreciate recommendations, both through word of mouth and online. Place links to physician review sites on your website and newsletters, allowing patients to see and contribute to your reviews online.

Physician review sites may not be as important to your practice as your education or experience as a doctor, but online reputation is set to have a growing influence on the medical industry. Embrace the future by developing a strong online reputation today for better patients tomorrow.

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Can Marketing Automation Help Doctors Improve their Patient Relationships?

Physician Dr. Sonia Henry recently published an article, on http://kevinmd.com, titled Doctors: Don’t lose your humanity, in which she discusses how important it is for professionals in the medical field to retain their humanity.

 

As Dr. Henry states:

A doctor without feeling is a canvas without a painting – the day we lose our ability to engage with our emotional responses to difficult situations is the day we lose our patients, even the ones who are still alive.”

Long before technology entered the fray, doctors risked losing that human-to-human interaction that’s needed in the medical field. But as technology has become prevalent in the field, it’s easier now, more than ever, for doctors to “lose their humanity” and forget that the people they’re dealing with are more than just patients.

Apps. Computer screens. Tablets. These devices and software are intended to improve the efficiency of the healthcare field, not dehumanize it.

Yet dehumanization is exactly what we risk unless we find ways to regain that doctor-patient relationship. This doesn’t mean foregoing technology; rather, it means finding ways to use technology to make the medical industry more personal.

That’s why marketing automation is so effective. Not only can it help your practice stay in-touch with your patients, but it can do so with very little effort on your part.

Improving your patient relationships with marketing automation

Unlike a retail business or another type of brand, patients actually wantto hear from, and know more about, the people in charge of their health. It’s far more welcoming for a patient to come see a doctor whom they feel they know, rather than a stranger they only hear from once a year or during a health scare.

With marketing automation, you can tear down the barrier that exists between you and your patients, while providing them content and information they actually value.

Here are a few ways to use automation to your advantage:

Emails

Take some time to create pre-made emails that you send to your patients based on certain parameters.

For example, your practice could have a setup in place that registers when patients come to your office. This system could then trigger a follow-up email to them a day or so following their visit that lets them know that if they have any specific questions or concerns to feel free to reach out to your team. This little follow up – that would be signed and sent by the doctor who saw them, is enough to make them feel like they were more than just a number.

While you’re at it, you could also encourage them to write a review on behalf of your practice, which would then improve your overall marketing efforts.

Nervous about getting bad reviews?

Not a problem. In your email to your patients, you could create a safeguard against negative reviews. Something like the image below is a good example of what you could do:

In this instance, if the patient clicks YES, they’ll be taken to a review site of your choosing (Healthgrades, Google, Facebook, etc.). If they click NO, they’ll be taken to a landing page where they can fill out a form to air their complaints. That form is sent directly to you, rather than going live to a review site.

There is no limit to the level of personalization you can do with your emails. You could have a standard follow-up email for every possible scenario your facility faces: annual checkups; emergency calls; parents of children, and so on.

You could then set up emails to mark certain milestones or events.

 

For example, it’s not uncommon for a car dealership to reach out to a car owner after a few years to remind them of the need for a tune-up.

You can take that same approach with your patients. For example, many health professionals believe that people should get their first colonoscopy at the age of 50. Since you have the date of births of your patients, you could trigger an email to patients who are nearing 50 that wishes them a happy birthday and reminds them that it’s time to consider scheduling a colonoscopy.

You could keep on providing health advice to your subscribers, based on their age, on the reason for their last visit to you, and more.

Newsletter

The average person interacts with their healthcare providers or specialists only when they have to. This type of relationship doesn’t forge a lasting bond of trust and transparency.

As a medical professional, you want to be seen as the trusted resource of medical information for your patients. You can achieve this through a periodic newsletter emailed to your patients.

Newsletters allow you to remain top-of-mind of your patients and provides your readers with valuable information.

Updates to your facility, healthy living tips, patient testimonials and stories – each of these can become a fabric of your organization’s newsletter. In fact, the content pieces that make up your newsletters can be used in many different ways for your marketing efforts.

 

For example, let’s say that you run a monthly newsletter for your hospital. As part of that newsletter, you conduct a Q&A each month on a different doctor. Aside from adding that Q&A in your newsletter, you can also post it on your website, and share it on social media.

In other words, your newsletter becomes the anchor of your content marketing efforts. All of the articles and social updates you post feature elements of your newsletter, but at the same time, serve to strengthen your relationship with your patients.

Below is one page from a newsletter published by North Cypress Medical Center of Texas:

 

You’ll see that this page focuses on Prostate Cancer Screening. Not only does it serve as an informational piece for readers, but it’s also valuable marketing: it promotes the hospital’s upcoming free screenings.

Regain that personal feel of your practice

It might seem ironic to look toward technology to get more personal with your patients, but that’s exactly what automation aims to do. By setting up workflows and processes up-front, you can engage in ongoing conversations with your patients, with little effort on your part. By reaching out to your patients with content they value, and that’s relevant to them, you’ll stand apart from other medical professionals and will build the trust that is so vital toward the patient-doctor relationship.

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Easy tips for physicians to address negative online patient reviews

Easy tips for physicians to address negative online patient reviews | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Patients increasingly turn to the Internet to express their opinions—positive and negative—about the physicians who provide their healthcare. The disgruntled patient has multiple online outlets on which to provide his or her views. Given that prospective patients consult such reviews when choosing a physician, it is important for doctors to be aware of their online reputation and to guard against unfair comments.

 

When confronted with online criticism, physicians are left questioning their options. Should they contact the patient or the website? Should they start a defamation lawsuit? Here are the steps to take.

 

Step 1: Investigate

 

Research the nature and extent of the negative content and determine whether the critic can be identified. This is crucial as the strategy chosen will be driven by the underlying facts. If the physician knows who the online critic is, he or she must decide whether to contact the person.

 

If you know the commenter: Address or confront

The characteristics of the critic will determine whether a friendly or assertive approach is in order. If the physician decides to reach out in a friendly manner, the general goals are to try to find a way to resolve the attacker’s underlying complaint and to ask for the damaging post to be removed. 

 

If the physician decides instead to pursue a more aggressive approach, the physician’s attorney can send a cease and desist letter. Often, these approaches do the trick, and obviate the time and expense associated with going to court.

 

If you don’t know the commenter: Talk to the review company

For those instances where the physician either does not know the attacker’s identity or does know but believes that the foregoing approaches will not work, the next option is to reach out to the website on which the content is hosted.

 

Under well-settled federal law, websites are generally immune from liability for decisions to leave, or to remove, content posted by their users. Thus, the website can agree to take down content without fear of legal repercussions, a fact that is helpful to a physician looking to have content removed. When physicians reach out to a website, they need to understand the site’s terms of use. Knowing the website’s policies allows physicians to prepare a credible, persuasive explanation as to why the offending content should be removed.

 

Last resort: File a lawsuit

The final option is to bring a defamation lawsuit against the attacker. This is seen as a last resort for a few reasons. Lawsuits involve a significant investment of time and resources, and the evidence needed to establish a defamation claim is often difficult to prove. Most importantly, a physician typically does not want to be known for suing his or her patient in connection with a bad review. However, if the negative content can be proven to be defamatory, an order from a court directing that it be removed will almost always be honored by a website.

 

Whenever addressing these issues, it is important to consult with your attorney to ensure that you are protecting your interests in an appropriate, and cost-effective manner. 

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5 Things Medical Professionals Should Know Before Using Facebook

5 Things Medical Professionals Should Know Before Using Facebook | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Facebook continues to be a conduit for connecting people with one another around the world, while also allowing businesses to communicate with their existing and potential customers. As a medical professional, it’s important to use Facebook as a channel to interact with your patients but with the right conduct in mind.

 

A medical professional should use a variety of marketing channels to build up a community around your practice, hospital or other type of medical facility. Social media is an important channel for building this connection with your customers by organically reaching them online where they are most active.

 

As of today, over 1 billion people are on the Facebook platform making it the social media network with the largest audience. There are multiple social networks medical professionals should be active on, but since Facebook is the social channel with the largest following; it’s prudent to understand how to present yourself on this network first.

 

Once you’ve established your personal conduct and marketing strategy on Facebook as a doctor or other healthcare professional, you can then begin to roll out how you’ll present yourself on Twitter, LinkedIn and other major social networks. It’s always important to have a structure approached to how you’re marketing yourself and in turn, your organization which is why you should focus on one network at a time before adding another social channel to be active on.

1. Match the Needs of Your Patients

Are you a nurse? A doctor? A therapist? Regardless of what type of medical professional you are, it is important to accommodate the needs of your patients and share your specific expertise before you begin connecting with current or former patients on Facebook.

Whether you’re active on your own personal Facebook profile or on a Facebook page for the larger organization you’re employed by, share news, tips and advice about your expertise whether it’d be fitness tips, ways to improve mental health, how to increase your metabolism etc.

As a medical professional, it’s your task to better the health of your patients and Facebook can help further echo your cause. Use Facebook and eventually other social channels to share actionable knowledge about your health care expertise.

Continue to share this information publicly with your growing network to match the expectations your current and future patients have about you as a professional or about your organization as a whole. A current patient will certainly find more value from you if you continue to deliver advice online as well as offline.

At this same time, it’s still okay to share personal content unrelated to your career on Facebook, just as long as the right people see this content. This can be controlled by editing the privacy of each post shared on the network.

 

To ensure that the content you’re sharing on Facebook is available publically to patients or privately to your personal network, visit the screen above when sharing career oriented material. Anything posted to Facebook can be set as public, private, only viewable to certain friends and to a few other options by clicking on the globe at the bottom right box where you share content.

Share any content that could benefit your patients to the public from your Facebook profile. If you’re using a Facebook page, all the content shared on that page is public by default.

2. Set Boundaries on Your Social Media Accounts

It’s critical that you set boundaries in terms of how you interact with patients on Facebook and social media from the beginning, before connecting with them or suggesting they like your Facebook page. When it comes to how you interact with current, future or former patients on Facebook, always respect their privacy and personal space.

On Facebook, your main goal as a medical professional is to provide valuable content and spur interesting discussions about your particular expertise in healthcare that will help remind your community of your in-depth knowledge on the subject for the next time they may need your medical advice.

The social network acts as a way of getting valuable expertise you have about health care to your patients in their newsfeed where they are active almost everyday. Communicating with your patients too frequently on Facebook or other social networks can be extremely off putting, uncomfortable and could completely tarnish your reputation.

 

Follow these rules to establish clear boundaries surrounding your social media use that will help strengthen your relationships and avoid offending anyone in your community.

*Keep your Facebook account clean and appropriate at all times, even when it comes to private posts.

*Always share accurate information with your community.

*Respect the privacy of your patient’s medical history at all times.

*If you’re ever in doubt when it comes to posting content, then wait to share that content and revisit it at another time.

*With privacy in mind, never identify anyone as a patient. Treat your community as neutral to avoid any conflict of interest.

*Ask permission to share content that isn’t yours to make sure you or your organization has the right to distribute it to your audience.

*Never ignore the requests of your community to ensure you’re respecting their needs and interests at all times. Listen to the feedback you’re receiving to make sure you’re making the most impact from your efforts.

*Educate yourself on Facebook best practices on a consistent basis to keep your knowledge of the platform and your community fresh.

*Let your patients and community members do a majority of the friending and liking to ensure it’s on their terms and doesn’t encroach on their personal space. Accept friend requests on a case-by-case basis and use your better judgment on who you should associate with online and who you shouldn’t.

3. Keep Privacy and Legal Concerns in Mind

Like mentioned above, privacy and legal concerns should be at the top of your mind when using Facebook professionally. Most medical professionals are familiar with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires that all patient related information be kept completely confidential.

In terms of Facebook, it’s illegal to even identify someone as a patient or reference anything related to their medical history. Discuss content on your Facebook and social profiles that isn’t patient specific to avoid any conflicts that break the doctor and patient confidentiality.

Stick to publishing tips, advice, industry news and other content that will help express your healthcare expertise without jeopardizing your career. Anything posted about your day to day as a medical professional could be used against you in a malpractice case, always be thoughtful about what you are and aren’t posting on Facebook.

Do not offer clinical advice on Facebook under any circumstance, always instruct a former, current or future patient to contact you or the proper medical professional to schedule a consultation appointment. Craft a response to these type of requests on Facebook that clearly directs people to contact you to schedule a consultation. By setting up a set of guidelines to follow in this specific circumstances, you’ll save time and avoid risking any potential conflicts.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) uses a few different responses to medical questions on their Facebook page to help avoid any potential issues. Take their example and craft your own response to any moments where clinical advice is being requested on Facebook or elsewhere.

4. Build a Strong Network of Connections

Using Facebook on a regular basis to build continued visibility around your medical profession is a form of content marketing. By continually sharing content around your expertise, you’ll begin to build expectations with your audience as to what type and what quality of content you’ll release in the future.

By sharing content that’s valuable to your audience on Facebook overtime, you’ll be able to build upon existing patient relationships and help spur new connections. As compared to traditional advertising, content is often viewed as more trustworthy by consumers and one of the most effective ways to get in front of these users is on Facebook.

When creating content, focus on how it’ll be presented on Facebook to best match the intricacies of the social network. Decide which of the content shared on Facebook will live solely on the platform, while others will be links to content on a blog, website or other social properties.

Define the right balance for your Facebook presence suited to the time and resources you have available. All content shared on Facebook should have a visual aspect, concise copy and a call to action with each post.

For instance, share a fitness tip on Facebook with a photo of the tip in action, about 85 characters explaining the fitness tip and possibly a call to action to read more about it on your blog.

By combining all those key elements in different combinations, your Facebook posts will get more interactions on the social platform in the form of likes, comments and shares and as a result, will hopefully make your network of connections much stronger.

5. Find the Balance Between Appropriate and Personal

There is a fine line between being both appropriate and personal on Facebook as a medical professional. By being appropriate, you’re limited in how personal you can be with your connections on the network but it’s possible. Don’t be the first to reach out to your patients publicly on Facebook, but instead extensively monitor their feedback on the content you’re sharing.

You can remain appropriate by not identifying that any one is your patient and not releasing any other sensitive data you’ve collected from your network. However, to make the feedback you’re receiving from your network useful and add a personal touch to your communication on Facebook, simply listen.

Your network of Facebook friends or fans will leave comments, messages and write on your timeline with feedback about your content, the industry and your services. If you’re actively listening to this feedback, you’ll be able to detect patterns from your Facebook connections that can help inform what type of information is shared in the future, which type of content to prepare in the long-term and more.

Personalization across any profession is all about catering to the specific needs of different customers, which in this case is your patients. Give your patients the information they’re looking for on Facebook and you will continue to see increased interactions on your content and more trust between your network in terms of your credibility.

The more you listen and react to the constructive feedback you receive, the more excited your network of Facebook connections will be to interact with you on Facebook again. The most ideal circumstance is being recognized as a reliable source of information on a particular healthcare topic and that you really listen to the input of Facebook friends and fans.

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24 Outstanding Statistics on How Social Media has Impacted Health Care

24 Outstanding Statistics on How Social Media has Impacted Health Care | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Social media is one of the most talked about disruptions to marketing in decades, but how is it impactful for the health care industry? In a generation that is more likely to go online to answer general health questions then ask a doctor, what role does social media play in this process? Let’s dive into some meaningful statistics and figures to clearly illustrate how social media has impacted health care in the last few years.

 

1. More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. (source: Mediabistro)

Why this matters: Health care professionals have an obligation to create educational content to be shared across social media that will help accurately inform consumers about health related issues and out shine misleading information. The opinions of others on social media are often trusted but aren’t always accurate sources of insights, especially when it comes to a subject as sensitive as health.

 

2. 18 to 24 year olds are more than 2x as likely than 45 to 54 year olds to use social media for health-related discussions. (source: Mediabistro)

Why this matters: 18 to 24 year olds are early adopters of social media and new forms of communication which makes it important for health care professionals to join in on these conversations where and when they are happening. Don’t move too slow or you risk losing the attention of this generation overtime.

 

3. 90% of respondents from 18 to 24 years of age said they would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks. (source: Search Engine Watch)

Why this matters: A millennial’s network on social media is a group of people that is well trusted online, which again, presents an opportunity to connect with them as health care professional in a new and authentic way.

 

4. 31% of health care organizations have specific social media guidelines in writing. (source: Institute for Health)

Why this matters: It is crucial to have social media guidelines in place for your health care facility to ensure everyone is on the same page, your staff is aware of limitations to their actions on social media and that a systematic strategy is in place for how social media should be run across your organization.

 

5. 19% of smartphone owners have at least one health app on their phone. Exercise, diet, and weight apps are the most popular types. (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)

Why this matters: This drives home the need for your health care organization to look into possibly launching a health related app focused on your specialty. This statistic doesn’t mean every health care facility should have their own app, but they should have a strong mobile focus across their marketing no matter their size.

 

6. From a recent study, 54% of patients are very comfortable with their providers seeking advice from online communities to better treat their conditions. (source: Mediabistro)

Why this matters: If the context of a group or community online is high quality and curated, then many trust that crowd sourcing of information from other like mind individuals is reliable. This shows how people perceive the Internet to be beneficial for the exchange of relevant information, even about their health.

 

7. 31% of health care professionals use social media for professional networking. (source: MedTechMedia)

Why this matters: This helps shine a stronger emphasis on the many applications and benefits of social media, one of which being professional development for health care workers from networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

8. 41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility. (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)

Why this matters: This statistic shows that social media can be a vehicle to help scale both positive and negative word of mouth, which makes it an important channel for an individual or organization in the health care industry to focus on in order to attract and retain patients. Consumers are using social media to discuss everything in their lives including health and it is up to your organization to choose whether it’s time to tune in.

 

9. 30% of adults are likely to share information about their health on social media sites with other patients, 47% with doctors, 43% with hospitals, 38% with a health insurance company and 32% with a drug company. (source: Fluency Media)

Why this matters: Social media is slowly helping improve the way people feel about transparency and authenticity, which will hopefully lead to more productive discussions and innovations regarding an individual’s health.

 

10. 26% of all hospitals in the US participate in social media. (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)

Why this matters: If your hospital isn’t using social media, then you’re way behind the learning curve. Social media is really important for hospitals to communicate with past, present and future patients, despite the many regulations to what can and can’t be said on behalf of the hospital.

 

11. The most accessed online resources for health related information are: 56% searched WebMD, 31% on Wikipedia, 29% on health magazine websites, 17% used Facebook, 15% used YouTube, 13% used a blog or multiple blogs, 12% used patient communities, 6% used Twitter and 27% used none of the above. (source: Mashable)

Why this matters: Understanding where a majority of consumer health information comes from is important way of knowing of its value, credibility and reliability. It is important to differentiate sources of quality content from other less desirable sources of info.

 

12. Parents are more likely to seek medical answers online, 22% use Facebook and 20% use YouTube. Of non-parents, 14% use Facebook and 12% use YouTube to search for health care related topics. (source: Mashable)

Why this matters: Parents are more concerned about the well-being of their children then they were before having children, therefore they often source more information about a loved one’s health on social media and online more then ever before.

 

13. 60% of doctors say social media improves the quality of care delivered to patients. (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)

Why this matters: This statistic is important because it shows that many doctors believe that the transparency and authenticity that social media helps spur is actually improving the quality of care provided to patients. Lets hope this is a continuing trend among the industry for patients at all levels.

 

14. 2/3 of doctors are use social media for professional purposes, often preferring an open forum as opposed to a physician-only online community. (source: EMR Thoughts)

Why this matters: It is interesting that a majority of doctors chose a more open forum as opposed to discussion in a health care specific community online. It is a fascinating statistic because it feeds into the same premise that a certain level of transparency spurred by social media is taking ahold of the entire industry.

 

15. YouTube traffic to hospital sites has increased 119% year-over-year. (source: Google’s Think Insights)

Why this matters: Video marketing converts to traffic and leads much more easily than other forms of content because it more effectively gets across the point, shares a human element and is able to highlight the value of the facilities more quickly. Other hospital facilities should look to create video content based around interviews, patient stories and more.

 

16. International Telecommunications Union estimates that global penetration of mobile devices has reached 87% as of 2011. (source: mHealth Watch)

Why this matters: Once again, it’s time to think mobile first, second and third for your healthcare facility. With mobile penetration reaching an all time high, an age of connected devices is on the horizon for many healthcare facilities and it is time to develop a plan.

 

17. 28% of health-related conversations on Facebook are supporting health-related causes, followed by 27% of people commenting about health experiences or updates. (source: Infographics Archive)

Why this matters: This statistic supports and highlights two common uses of Facebook related to your health like sharing your favorite cause or interacting with others recovering. Social media has penetrated our society very deeply to the point where it has become a place where we share our interests and give support to others. This could be one of the many factors affecting why many trust the information found on social media about healthcare. The masses are continually accepting social media as a part of their everyday life, it is time your healthcare facility incorporated this marketing medium as part of your culture as well.

 

18. 60% of social media users are the most likely to trust social media posts and activity by doctors over any other group. (source: Infographics Archive)

Why this matters: Doctors as respected members of society are also highly revered for their opinions when they are shared on social media, which is even more reason to help boost your reach as a healthcare professional and actively use social media to discuss the industry.

 

19. 23% of drug companies have not addressed security and privacy in terms of social media. (source: Mediabistro)

Why this matters: This is an unsettling statistic about privacy concerns with drug companies that drastically needs to be addressed in order to guarantee that sensitive data is not accidentally released to the public on social media. It shows how many companies in health care still don’t know the first thing about the use of social media. This can be corrected by creating clear and concise guidelines on how social media should be used by the organization and its staff.

 

20. The Mayo Clinic’s podcast listeners rose by 76,000 after the clinic started using social media. (source: Infographics Archive)

< p>Why this matters: This is a clear cut example of how to successfully bolster the reach of your organization’s messaging by echoing it appropriately on social media. Mayo Clinic already had a regular podcast that they helped grow by effectively using social media to share content and chat with their audience. Don’t get left behind in the digital age, take this example and run with it.

 

21. 60% of physicians most popular activities on social are following what colleagues are sharing and discussing. (source: Health Care Communication)

Why this matters: Many people on social media are passive participants since they aren’t creating or commenting on content, but instead reading and observing the content and conversations of others in their network. This is also true for many doctors that find value using social media to exchange information but don’t always choose to join the conversation. Many doctors are seeing the value of social media, regardless if they are a participant or an observer.

 

22. 49% of those polled expect to hear from their doctor when requesting an appointment or follow-up discussion via social media within a few hours. (source: HealthCare Finance News)

Why this matters: This is a surprising statistic because of how many people are comfortable with connecting with their doctor on social media, as well as how quickly they expect their doctor to personally respond to their outreach. This is a telling sign that the way in which we typically book appointments and handle follow-up conversations after an appointment, will continue to be disrupted by the use of social media in the process.

 

23. 40% of people polled said information found on social media affects how someone coped with a chronic condition, their view of diet and exercise and their selection of a physician.(source: HealthCare Finance News)

Why this matters: The opinion and viewpoints of the people in our social circles online are continuously influencing our decision making even it when it comes to our opinion on healthcare options. Health care professionals should take note of this fact by using social media in an impactful way to ensure they become a part of the process of forming an opinion of a person’s health care options.

 

24. Of more than 1,500 hospitals nationwide who have an online presence, Facebook is most popular. (source: WHPRMS)

Why this matters: The fact that most hospitals use Facebook over other social media channels is important to note because time, staff and budget are always limited and your efforts with social media should be targeted and focused to where your organization can make the most impact.

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Optimizing Your Hospital's Online Presence: Create Great Content

Optimizing Your Hospital's Online Presence: Create Great Content | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

A hospital’s website will always be the primary hub for its online outreach. But without the promise of anything fresh to keep patients coming back, a website is static — great content is what gives your page the power to reach and expand your audience. 

Gone are the days of Yellow Pages listings and bus stop advertisements — today, patients primarily take to the internet to research local medical treatment, forcing hospitals to adapt to rapidly evolving digital trends. Generally speaking, 97% of consumers use online media to research local products and services, and 90% of that portion uses search engines, according to BIA/Kelsey.

Of course, a hospital’s website is the center of its online activity, but the content on that site is your engine for digital outreach, determining both your visibility and the staying power of your message. However, nobody bothers to read bad content, which is why hospitals need to make theirs memorable.

The Importance of Great Content

On the one hand, high-quality and relevant website content — whether it takes the form of a blog, landing page, white paper, or other resource — increases the likelihood that your hospital’s site will come up first in the search engine results for engines likes Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. The art of pushing your site higher and higher on these results pages is what’s known as search engine optimization (SEO). 

Unlike paid ads, SEO content is “evergreen,” meaning it never ceases to boost your hospital’s visibility across every channel — it also bolsters your ranking in Google’s local search directory, according to Google’s My Business page.

Secondly, your content is where your audience evaluates your hospital’s identity, giving them reason to trust you, return to your blog as a primary resource, link to your content, and refer your services to others.

Writing Searchable, Memorable Content

It might seem difficult at first to meet all the criteria needed for a content strategy to be successful. However, the creation process can actually be very straightforward when you start with patient's’ perspective and work backwards from there. 

As a golden principle, all content, whether on a blog or in a tweet, must address a common patient concern, cover a current topic of interest, or offer genuinely useful information. What questions do patients frequently ask? In what ways can you provide treatment that other hospitals cannot? The more location-specific you can make these answers, the better your response (and search ranking) will be. 

As Moz notes, it’s helpful to research topic keywords through Google Trends, giving you an idea of each search term’s popularity in your location, as well as a list of other terms commonly associated with them. That way, your content can address any and all relevant subjects of the present moment. 

To the greatest extent possible, you must back your content up with solid evidence, whether it comes from case studies, relevant research, or patient testimonials and reviews. In fact, two-thirds of online consumers trust local businesses as a result of positive reviews, according to Bright Local (via eMarketer). 

More than anything, your content should be conversational, humanizing your hospital and its brand. Headlines should be clear, containing keywords, and your body content must be broken up into easily digestible chunks. 

For many hospitals, especially for those short on staff, generating so many different types of content can be an overwhelming prospect. As QuickSprout points out, re-purposing existing materials (e.g., updating and republishing old blog posts, or reconfiguring them into evergreen site content, infographics, video content, etc.) can help ease the burden of constant content generation and help you get more out of less. 

At the end of the day, building out your online presence isn’t so much about jargon like “visibility” and “SEO” as it is about forming a genuine relationship with your hospital’s audience. And when they’ve invested trust in that relationship, your efforts will be magnified to an extent that no marketing gamesmanship can match.

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How to Use Twitter for Healthcare Effectively (4 Tips)

How to Use Twitter for Healthcare Effectively (4 Tips) | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

With Twitter going public this year, it has over 100 million daily active users and 231.7 million monthly active users worldwide to date. There are lots of opportunities for conversation on the platform about almost every topic known to man, but where does healthcare fit in on Twitter as an industry?

 

The very nature of healthcare requires many regulations, which is often a barrier for medical professionals looking to utilize the platform, but it certainly doesn’t merit not using the social media channel to communicate with others. As of today, 31% of health care professionals use social media for professional networking which is only going to grow as one of the many effective uses of Twitter for medical practitioners.

Using Twitter and other social channels is also important to patients, since 41% of people say social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital or medical facility and 30% of adults say they are likely to share information about their health on social media sites with other patients.

Continuing ongoing communication with your audience on Twitter can have long-term benefits for you as a professional and for your healthcare organization, as well as a tangible impact on your patients. This positive impact can occur when the platform is used correctly to develop relationships and spread worthwhile information to your audience of colleagues, experts, patients and industry leaders.

Here’s how you and your organization should be using Twitter for healthcare effectively:

Spread Quality Health Related Information: Both Curated & Original

Twitter allows its users to become a source of knowledge and expertise about certain topics and in this case, you should be tweeting about your healthcare related information. The goals of a medical professional on Twitter are to build a following of other people and organizations that care about your messaging and associate your expertise with your account.

It isn’t the overall number of followers that matter, but the number of your followers who actually care about what you’re tweeting. If you’re a dentist, then tweet content about how to maintain your smile in between visits or if you’re a nutritionist, tweet tips about shopping for and cooking healthy meals. Tweet the expertise that you know well, to give your audience of like-minded individuals the information they’ve come to expect from your account.

The content you’re sharing on Twitter should be both original, as well as the curated content from others. Share your own quick tips, links to your blog posts, news about your industry and more original content that you’ve created based on your expertise. The other content you’re sharing on Twitter should be the relevant content from others in your industry, friends, partners and followers.

Tweeting a healthy balance of your content and the content of others is the best approach to Twitter because no one wants to hear you talk only about yourself in real life and the same goes for your conduct on Twitter. The content you’re sharing from others should always be relevant to the topics you’re typically covering in healthcare professionally on Twitter and occasionally your personal interests as well.

Share the articles of others, retweet the tweets of others in the healthcare industry that you find valuable, comment on the tweets and article links of others in your network and aim to share the quality content you discover on Twitter. This approach helps vary the content you’re sharing with your audience, as well as build a rapport with others in your industry on Twitter.

Use the Right Hashtags for Healthcare

Hashtags on Twitter are often misunderstood by many, resulting in a common misuse of this helpful tool for content discovery. Twitter hashtags for healthcare can be used to help categorize your content on a consistent basis, extend the reach of your tweets with others looking for the type of content you’re tweeting and help expand your audience with like-minded individuals all with the use of # symbol for a word or phrase.

 

As a Twitter user, it’s important to use no more than three hashtags per tweet to avoid overusing this helpful technique. The hashtags you’re using should be a combination of hashtags used in your industry by others, as well as a few hashtags created by you specifically to categorize your content.

 

When creating original hashtags of your own, keep them very simple and easy to understand. Avoid stringing too many words together, while focusing on the creation oF hashtags that you’ll look to use again in the future as opposed to one-offs that you won’t have use for again.

 

When it comes to Twitter hashtags in general, stick to using the same 10-15 hashtags overtime to create a consistent flow and organization to all your healthcare content shared on Twitter. After consistently tweeting using certain hashtags, your audience will begin to expect their use from your account and be on the lookout for certain series of content you regularly tweet.

Hashtags used by others can help you find engaging content from others on the topics you’re most interested about, which makes the process of content curation on Twitter much more effective.

Communicate with Others Frequently

By sharing the content of others in your industry on a regular basis you’re communicating with them and building a long lasting rapport. Sharing the content of others on Twitter is one of the most valuable things you can do when interacting on the network, but it doesn’t have to stop there.

When other voices in the healthcare industry are tweeting, it’s important to interact with their tweets by leaving a comment, thanking them for sharing the resources, asking a question, refuting their position constructively and more to drive a more in-depth one on one conversation. It is easier for another medical professional to ignore the fact you’re tweeting their content or retweeting their tweets, but more difficult to ignore a direct mention which is a call for one-to-one conversation.

 

Interact with their tweets and ask questions to build an ongoing dialogue with other members of your industry within healthcare. Most importantly, try to take some of these relationships you’re building on Twitter offline into the real world. Invite some of the medical professionals you’re tweeting with the most to meet with you for coffee, have lunch, grab a drink at a bar or even attend a networking event together.

Meeting one of your connections face-to-face helps establish a long-term relationship that may not of been as strong without the in-person meeting. You can continue to maintain your professional relationship overtime with new and existing contacts through Twitter.

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to meet with all of your followers on Twitter since it’s likely you don’t live in the same physical location. Using Twitter chats is another alternative way to connect with healthcare professionals interested in discussing the industry and other important professional developments.

 

A Twitter chat is a live discussion that occurs for a half-hour to an hour at the same time every week, moderated by a host on Twitter and centered on a particular topic in the form of a hashtag allowing anyone that is interested in participating to follow. Twitter chats are wonderful networking opportunities for your specific medical focus since each chat is centered on a specific subject area.

Therefore, when you’re participating in the chat, you’re more likely to be seen by and interact with individuals that share an interest with you as a medical professional. These connections will hopefully lead to more opportunities to connect with others, build thought leadership and build greater visibility for your practice.

Follow the Rules as a Twitter User & a Healthcare Professional

One of the most important rules for using Twitter as a healthcare professional is respecting the rules and regulations of your position. First and foremost, upholding HIPAA by respecting the privacy of your patients is critical for your ongoing success with social media.

Do not directly reference anyone as a patient when using Twitter or a similar tool, since by even recognizing someone as a patient you’re breaking confidentiality regulations.

 

It is also important to avoid administering clinical advice on Twitter or other social platforms to individuals. It is always recommended that you refer them to set up an appointment at your organization or with another qualified medical professional for proper consultation.

Besides the healthcare related concerns, there are Twitter rules to follow as well to ensure you’re making the most of the platform while not negatively affecting yourself or others. Don’t tweet for the sake of tweeting, only share content on Twitter that’s going to bring value to your audience.

 

Tweet when people are most likely to see your content like at 9am, 12pm, 3pm and 5pm. Use scheduling tools like HootSuite or Buffer app to help improve your ability to deliver engaging content on Twitter, while saving time for one-on-one conversations as opposed to the organization of when you’ll be tweeting.

Like mentioned above, don’t overuse hashtags especially since it is often one of the most common rules broken by individuals. Don’t tweet at other Twitter users excessively to get interactions with them, but find a healthy balance between persistence and patience.

 

Use links in your tweets often, since they are one of the most engaging types of tweets on Twitter. Also, look to experiment with the use of photos in your tweets to garner the most engagement from your audience in the Twitter feed.

Lastly, don’t tweet when you’re angry or drinking. Always use common sense and think before you’re tweeting because as a medical professional, Twitter could seriously impact your career negatively if not used correctly.

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10 Reasons Your Healthcare Practice Should Invest in Digital Marketing

10 Reasons Your Healthcare Practice Should Invest in Digital Marketing | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Everyone has heard about the importance of digital marketing in the internet age. Yet for many healthcare professionals, this call to action might come across as vague or overly generalized, seeming to suggest that they should embrace digital strategies simply because everyone else is doing it.

However, adopting a tech-forward approach does offer a number of significant advantages that are unique to the medical industry — here are ten reasons every healthcare marketer should invest in digital marketing:

1. Your Cost Per Patient Acquisition (CPA) is Too High

Many medical practices are still struggling to lower their patient CPA. For example, according to a seminal survey of U.S. vein practices, the most common media channels used are print (68%) and TV (30%), which cost $314 and $348 per patient, respectively. Digital outreach, on the other hand, can cut that overall cost down by as much as 50%, to $149.

Digital strategies consistently reduce marketing spend and increase ROI, regardless of the industry. We were able to reduce one dental practice’s cost per qualified lead by 46%, and their cost per booked appointment by a full 70%.

2. You Need to Target Patients With Specific Conditions

Unlike traditional broadcast and print media, digital marketing enables physicians to target patients by specific condition, age, gender, demographic, or even zip code. According to BIA Kelsey, 97% of consumers use the web to shop locally; with search engine marketing (SEM), marketers can use highly-targeted keywords to reach patients currently looking for specific treatments in their area. Moreover, those targeting conditions can be optimized in real-time, a cost-saving luxury that traditional methods simply don’t afford.

3. You’re Afraid You’re Falling Behind on the Times

The truth is that 98% of businesses are merging their traditional strategies with digital, according to Gartner. Like we said, you should never adopt a trend just because it’s popular; but when it’s a hit with patients too, you may want to reconsider. McKinsey explains how 75% of people want to use digital healthcare services. As AdAge notes, healthcare professionals need to take their business where the patients are, which is online and on mobile devices.

4. You’re Not Using Data to Make Decisions

One drawback of traditional marketing techniques is that they’re hard to track. In fact, GfM explains that data-driven marketing is the top priority for all marketers in 2016. Digital techniques allow physicians to make efficient, data-led marketing decisions; first, try a number of different low-cost ad spends to determine which channels are the most effective, then scale for maximum visibility and impact.

5. Your Brand Doesn’t Show Up in the Search Engines

SEO Hermit explains how 20% of Google searches are health-related, and over 70% of those searches result in a click on the first page (just 5.6% for pages two or three), according to Marketing Land. Getting your name on page one, however, takes some marketing finesse. A well-crafted search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and paid advertising campaigns are your best bet for snagging those top positions and the maximum number of clicks.

6. You Can Engage With People Directly

It’s a myth that digital isn’t personal. In fact, 70% of all phone calls from consumers are driven by digital marketing strategies, such as click-to-call (CTC), as Biz Report explains. Today, this kind of seamless access has become a baseline expectation for patients, with 41% mobile searchers reporting that if their chosen brand has no CTC functionality, they’ll move onto to one that does. What’s more, CTC conversion rates on Google are often as high as 25%, and boast a 51% lower cost than traditional display remarketing, according the Search Engine Watch.

7. You Can Increase Patient Retention

In the digital age, patients value convenience and ease of access above all. By cultivating a watertight digital engagement strategy, patients will easily be able to find your website, up-to-date practice and contact information, or your patient portal, at any time. Your lasting presence matters, too — according to the research from PwC, 41% of patients say that social media engagement will affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.

8. You Can Get More Patient Referrals

Digital tools both expand your potential patient pools and lower the cost of engaging them. For example, we’ve been able to drive down referral costs from 20-40%, all while generating an average 20 to 40 referrals a month — some clients see as many as 300. In the vein market, we recently drove our 250,000th digital referral.

9. You Will Improve the Patient Experience

Not only does digital marketing make it easier for patients to find and connect with your medical brand — it improves their experience along the way. With digital tracking systems, you can easily send out reminders, reaching out to them on important dates. Moreover, you can directly address their specific needs by blogging regularly or soliciting their direct feedback through patient satisfaction surveys.

10. Your Marketing Can Be Personalized

Traditional marketing entailed crafting a generalized message for the broadest possible audience. Digital marketing, however, enables healthcare providers to target the individual. Whether by directing your message to “40-year-old multiple sclerosis patients in Coeur d’Alene, ID,” making your content accessible on the devices that consumers — especially millennials — demand to use, or leveraging data to hone your content’s effectiveness, medical practices can personalize their marketing in unprecedented ways.

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5 Simple Ways Physicians Can Boost Their Online Presence

5 Simple Ways Physicians Can Boost Their Online Presence | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

It’s safe to say that by now, most professionals within the healthcare industry understand the importance of a solid web presence when it comes to attracting new patients and holding onto existing ones. The internet, and search in particular, has fundamentally altered the patient path to treatment, empowering healthcare consumers to conduct their own research and make their own decisions when seeking out treatment options.

As a result, many medical practices are scrambling to establish their online presence and capitalize on these consumer-driven trends — however, it’s important to recognize that in an increasingly competitive local health market, simply throwing up a website and a few digital ads isn’t going to cut it anymore. Here are five ways that physicians can optimize their digital marketing efforts and stay one step ahead of the competition.

1. From One Patient to Another

Peer reviews have become the gold standard of quality control — in fact, 90% of 18-24 year-olds say they trust medical information shared by peers on the internet. While, at the end of the day, the content of online reviews may be out of your hands, there’s a lot you can do to garner a favorable rating for your practice on these sites.

First, claim your profile on popular review sites like Yelp, ZocDoc, Healthgrades, and Vitals. Many of these sites offer “freemium” services (or free services with the option of paid upgrades), making them a quick and easy way to increase your visibility online. It’s also a good idea to encourage satisfied patients to actually go to some of these sites and spread the word about their positive experience at your practice. Not only does this enhance your online brand, but it helps bury and mitigate the damage from any potential negative reviews you may have.

2. Get a Listing on Google My Business

There’s no denying that when it comes to digital marketing, Google reigns supreme. While search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) are, of course, vitally important, many medical marketers spend all their time and energy on these areas, overlooking a number of impactful platforms and tactics as a result. One such platform, Google My Business, is a medical practice’s one-stop-shop for directory listing optimization. Subscribers’ business information appears on Search, Maps, Google+, and Google Places. This means that prospective patients can easily find your practice, regardless of where they are or what kind of device they’re using.

3. Mobile Matters

Today, about 72% of American adults own a smartphone, and about 62% of those users report using their mobile devices to seek out health-related information. In response to these trends, Google updated its search engine algorithm to give preferential treatment to mobile-optimized websites back in early 2015. Since then, any physician who wants to boost his or her practice’s ranking in Google’s organic search results must ensure that their website is “mobile-friendly.” To see if your current website is up to snuff, copy/paste the URL into Google’s handy Mobile Friendly Tester.

4. Blog, Blog, and Blog Some More

Here’s some advice that translates over from the pre-digital world: it’s a lot easier to find something when there’s a lot of it. Consistent blog publishing is a great way to not only claim more online real estate, but also to strengthen patient trust in your brand and establish yourself as an industry thought leader. Write posts that will resonate with your target audience and demonstrate your specific areas of expertise. Enhance the SEO value of your content by crafting keyword-heavy titles and interlinking with other pages and blog posts on your site. That said, don’t overload your articles with anchor links and overly-promotional calls to action (CTAs).

5. Never Underestimate the Social Network

Social signals, or the activity generated on social media around ‘likes’, ‘shares’, and ‘retweets’, can have a huge bearing on where your site appears in Google searches. While the exact SEO impact of social signals is difficult to pin down, there are certain ways to easily increase your online presence through clever social media usage.

Aim to regularly post content that people would want to "like" or, ideally, "share." Each share will expose your post to new potential patients, while simultaneously boosting your ranking in Google searches. Remember: you’re trying to connect with patients, so your content needs to appeal to people outside of the medical profession. As with blog posts, you should post regularly to maintain an engaged following. Finally, be sure to utilize all of the major social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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Should We Use Social Media to Diagnose Diseases?

Should We Use Social Media to Diagnose Diseases? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Last month, I wrote an article called “3 Amazing Ways Google Search Data is Improving Healthcare,” that discussed the notion of using search engine data to diagnose illness before patients are even aware that they might be sick.

 

I recently came across a Wired article by Dr. Sam Volchenboum, the Director of the Center for Research Informatics at the University of Chicago, and a co-founder of Litmus Health, a data science provider for early-stage clinical trials, that explored this idea in depth. Here are a few of the key takeaways from his piece.

Data, Data Everywhere

From a data science perspective, says Dr. Volchenboum, the world is effectively becoming “one big clinical trial.” Internet search, social media, mobile devices, wearables, etc. are generating a steady — and staggeringly large — stream of information that “can provide insights into a person’s health and well-being.”

We’re not quite there yet, but it’s entirely possible that in the very near future, platforms like Facebook and Google will be able to alert someone to the possible presence of a disease before they’re even aware of it. While, in theory, this kind of technology would have the potential to save lives, Dr. Volchenboum aptly points out that when it comes to electronic patient health data, it’s never black and white.

How Does it Work?

In order to create a predictive model, a platform like Facebook would have to start by working backwards. Dr. Volchenboum explains, it would generate “a data set consisting of social media posts from tens of thousands of people will likely chronicle the journey that some had on their way to a diagnosis of cancer, depression, or inflammatory bowel disease.”

Then, using machine-learning technologies, a researcher or provider could analyze all of those disparate data points, taking into account the “language, style, and content of those posts both before and after the diagnosis.” This would allow them to create models capable of identifying similar behavior, which, in theory, would suggest a similar outcome down the road.

While such “early warning systems” are not yet in place, the underlying technology necessary to develop them certainly exists — the advanced predictive and machine-learning algorithms powering Facebook and Google’s advertising platforms basically use the same concept, but simply employ them to different ends.

A Double-Edged Sword?

I agree with Dr. Volchenboum that yes, we should start leveraging the vast amounts of consumer data in ways that benefit society as a whole, but that we also need to be very careful if and when we attempt to do so.

As we all know, the companies behind today’s biggest digital platforms detail how they plan to use consumer data in their terms of service; but as we also all know, few people actually take the time to read the terms of service. So, while these companies may be covered from a legal perspective, they’re not actually providing a functional window for patients who may be concerned about where their data ends up.

If this is the path we ultimately go down (and I’m quite sure it will be), we need to make sure it’s a highly transparent, opt-in system for those patients interested in participating. That means spelling it all out in terms that patients can actually understand, ensuring their data remains protected, and, if they choose not to participate, respecting that decision and keeping their data private. As patients continue to take a more active role in their health and treatment decisions, it’s likely that many would be in favor of this kind of technology — we just need to make sure it’s built upon a foundation of trust and respect.

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5 Tools to Grow your Online Presence for Doctors

5 Tools to Grow your Online Presence for Doctors | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Learning how to grow your online presence for doctors is a true challenge. It is something that must be done above and beyond running your medical practice. Your team may be able to help to grow your online presence, but a great deal of the work must also be done by the doctors themselves.

Online media tools for doctors are confusing and complex. Many doctors feel overwhelmed just learning all the names of each site, let alone using them.

Here are 5 tools to grow your online presence for doctors:

1) Doximity

More than 500,000 healthcare professionals have joined and use this social media platform exclusively for the medical community. Create an account to grow your influence within the medical community. You can also catch up on the latest medical news updates and read journal articles directly on the site.

2) Scoop

Scoop is designed for content creators to share their new articles videos and news all in once place. Doctors can benefit from this by going directly to aggregated feeds. It is a great way to grow your online presence for doctors, as you can find the latest news to share on social platforms. Doctors have access to the latest ideas and trends, and are able to share them. This gives you influence and a position as an authority in your field.

3) Mention

Think of mention as your virtual press agent. If you want to grow your online presence, Mention is a helpful tool to check out. The site is actually a set of tracking tools to help you monitor what people are saying about you on social platforms. It also tracks the activity of other online medical influencers and lets you connect with them. It also has an excellent blogfor learning more about social media and online presence which can be very valuable for doctors.

4) Quora

Want to be recognized as an online medical expert? Then take some time and answer important questions for patients and online searchers. think of Quora as the online FAQ center of the internet. Visit the section specifically for Medicine and Healthcare to get a sense of what people want to know. The more you share the more you can grow your online influence.

5) Hootsuite

To save time while try to grow your online presence as a doctor, look no further than hootsuite. Think of it as your personal assistant. The software can schedule your social posts and offer suggestions of valuable material to share.

Hootsuite offer very affordable tools that will also you monitor all your social media activity in one place. You can respond to comments, post updates, and more from inside the site.

These are just 5 tools that can help grow your online presence for doctors. There are many more nuanced tools and strategies. The more you learn about this new world of online influence, the better you can compete and become known as a doctor or value and credibility in the world.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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