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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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. 

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

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

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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.

 

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

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

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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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.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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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.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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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.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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A Doctor's Reputation Means Everything: How to Protect Yours

A Doctor's Reputation Means Everything: How to Protect Yours | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

What do your patients say about you? For a medical practice, a healthy reputation means growth potential and successful physician marketing, but there is more to it than just fighting off the critics. Doctors need to look for ways to cultivate their online reputations.

Online reputation management is a growing industry, but it is not necessary to hire a firm unless you need to repair significant damage. Consider some simple ways to protect and enhance the online reputation of the practice.

Be Aware

Ongoing monitoring of social media and review sites is a part of responsible reputation management. A negative review immediately creates an impact, so the sooner someone is aware of the problem, the better. Monitor sites like Vitals, Healthgrades, RateMDs, UCompareHealthcare and even Yelp for both positive and negative reviews. When a patient has a positive experience with your practice, ask them to share their experience with the community by posting a review. 

Respond to the Critics

Practices should respond to negative reviews in a positive, not defensive, way. When posting a response, make sure to avoid any HIPAA violation regarding patient privacy. Software Advice points out that no matter what the reviewer says, you cannot publicly acknowledge them as a patient. Avoid specific references to a treatment plan or diagnosis, as well.

You can contact the patient via phone and try to resolve the issue if you know who it is, but do not send them an email using the address listed in the review. If you are able to fix the problem, ask the patient to delete the negative review or post another that is positive to counteract it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Legal Action

If the negative comments are libelous or defaming, do whatever is necessary to remove them even if it means legal action. TraverseLegal explains that defamation against medical practices is rampant on the Internet. One well placed comment can negate thousands of dollars spent of physician marketing, too.

Practices should have a plan in place should a libelous review arise that includes hiring a lawyer that specializes in Internet defamation cases.

Cultivate a Positive Internet Presence

Leveraging social media is one way a practice can build a positive Internet presence. Create pages on all the mainstream social networking sites and post to them often. Provide engaging content about trending healthcare topics like managing chronic disease, or showcase the state of the art technology your practice utilizes. Become the local authority within your community for your specialty.

A physician’s reputation is sometimes all they have, especially when just starting out. One mishandled issue, whether true or not, can takes years to repair. Staying proactive about reputation management is just smart business.

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How Customer Service is Your Best Physican Marketing Tool

How Customer Service is Your Best Physican Marketing Tool | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

You might not automatically connect customer service and physician marketing, but the two have a symbiotic relationship. The happier your patients are, the more they talk about you to their family and friends. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing assets a practice can leverage.

 

Patients are no longer just people that come to the doctor when they are sick. Today’s modern, social network-savvy individual is a health care consumer shopping for the best customer service available. Are you ready to provide it?

Stand by the Phone

You don’t have to literally stand by the phone waiting for patients to call, but you do need to be assessable. A trained member of the practice staff should man the phones, and answer within the first few rings. It will allow new patients to talk to a live person when they have questions, too. If possible, dedicate one employee to be responsible for answering the phone and booking new patient appointments. New patients are always judging their experience, a poor first impression when answering the phone can drive new patients away from your practice. 

Make a Good First Impression

Physicians Practice points out the front office staff are the most critical when it comes to making a good first impression. They should look and act professional, whether greeting patients at the door or talking to them on the phone. The practice will benefit from good customer service training, preferably with a company that specializes in the healthcare industry.

Include the physicians in the training, too. Blog KevinMD.com explains that physicians are not known for their customer service. Medical school may provide lessons in bedside manner, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into basic customer service skills. Part of the doctor’s job is to build a relationship with patients and that means learning how to relate to them on a business, as well as, medical level.

Confirm Appointments

It is a simple way to show the patient you are on top of things. That little extra touch opens up the lines of communication and gives them an opportunity to ask questions prior to the appointment. You can also use call backs as a training tool for new staff, so they can practice listening to patients and master the basics of phone etiquette.

Learn to Put Out Fires

A practice's reputation is everything when it comes to physician marketing. It is critical that you have a plan in place to handle negative feedback. Assign the task of monitoring the Internet for mentions of the practice, so someone can deal with problem situations before they have an impact.

Set up an in-office system for complaints, as well. This might help deter people from venting on the Internet. Something as simple as posting the name of the office manager, so an unhappy patient knows whom to ask for when there is a problem can divert some bad publicity.

Get Patient Obsessed

In the end, it is the little things that will generate the most positive feedback from patients.

  • Attention to wait times
  • Call backs after a procedure
  • Remembering patient names
  • Offering an interactive and informative website
  • Creating communication channels via social media
  • Delivering on expectations

Customer service means caring about what happens in the practice and taking steps to improve the patient experience. Do that and you can naturally generate new patient referrals.

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Elements of a Good Digital Marketing Plan for Your Medical Practice

Elements of a Good Digital Marketing Plan for Your Medical Practice | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Marketing your medical practice online is becoming increasingly essential to insuring that your practice will attract new patients and thrive in the modern, digital age. After all, 35 percent of American health care consumers research medical issues online before calling their doctor and a growing number search for a new doctor online when they move to a new area. If you're not present on the web and on social media sites, then you're likely falling behind your competition. (Yes, practicing medicine should be all about helping people, but if they don't know your practice exists, you'll have no one to treat.)

Things to include in your digital marketing plan

1. Website. You website is the anchor to which all of your other digital marketing elements will point. Look at this like your building and your reception area. It's the first impression most patients are going to get of your practice. Take the time to make it professional, informative, easy to navigate and relevant. You'll also want to make the website reflect the personality of your practice. 

 

2. Social media.Social media is no longer just for sharing kid and cat photos. Today, you're as likely to find corporations (and medical practices) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the like as you are individuals. These sites offer a host of advantages for physicians. They help to take the "scary" out of visiting the doctor by allowing potential patients to get to know you before they call for an appointment. In addition, such sites make great forums for sharing public health information and information about special events. 90% of adults 18-24 years of age said they would trust medical information shared by others in their social media networks. (Source: PwC Health Research Institute)

 

3. Paid advertising.A little online paid advertising can yield big results. Unlike traditional channels like radio, tv and print advertising, where you pay to reach thousands of consumers who may not need your services, paid digital advertising can be targeted to reach just those people who have expressed an interest in your specialty by searching for the information online. 81% of people click on a sponsored link when looking for health information (Source:Geocentric) and 77% of patients used search prior to booking an appointment. (Source: Google).

 

4. Accurate Directory Information. There are over 800 different directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Super Pages, etc....It is impossible to identify which directories potential patients are using when locating a physician. Make sure your information is up-to-date and accurate so that whichever directory is being used, your information (location, hours of operation, phone numbers) is correct.

 

5. Claim Profiles and Monitor Review Sites. If you haven't done so already, claim profiles on sites like Vitals.com, Healthgrades, RateMDs and MD.com. Monitor these sites (as well as others like Yelp and Google+) for reviews about you or your practice. Stay proactive and protect your online reputation. 94% of prospective patients said reputation of facility is important (Source:Google)

Online marketing for physicians doesn't have to be time consuming or difficult. You just need a marketing plan that includes the elements mentioned above to grow your business into a successful medical practice. 

 

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What Doctors Should Know About Online Reputation Management in 2017

What Doctors Should Know About Online Reputation Management in 2017 | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Every physician knows that reputation has always played a huge role in their ability to attract new patients to their medical practice. But as the internet has ushered in the age empowered patients, comparison healthcare shopping, and active social media use, peer reviews are playing a larger role in the path to treatment than ever before.

A 2016 survey conducted by SoftwareAdvice found that 84% of patients who responded use online reviews when evaluating physicians. What’s more, 47% of respondents said they would opt for an out-of-network physician with comparable qualifications to an in-network provider if the former had more favorable reviews.

As the importance of these reviews continues to increase, physicians need to be proactive about managing their reputations online. This requires a nuanced understanding of how, when, and where patients are using these reviews. Here are a few key takeaways from the study.

When and How Do Patients Use Reviews?

While the results of the study did indicate that online reviews play a role in patient retention, they’re primarily utilized as a first step during the path to treatment. 77% of respondents said they used such sites before selecting a doctor.

Quality of care is the most important review metric consumers take into account when deciding between providers (28%), with ratings (26%), patient experience (26%), and doctor background (21%) following closely behind.

On the administrative side, friendliness of staff was most important (32%), followed by ease of scheduling (22%), billing/payment issues (18%), and wait times (16%).

The first and most obvious solution to reputation management is to take the necessary steps in all of the above areas to avoid negative feedback in the first place. Investing in things like front-of-office staff training, a quality website, practice management software, IVR optimization, and cloud-computing solutions can help alleviate some of the most common problems patients cite in online reviews.

Be Proactive About Responding — But Keep it Compliant

By keeping active tabs on reviews across all of the major platforms out there (e.g., HealthGrades, Yelp, RateMDs, Vitals, etc.), doctors can quickly address any negative feedback that comes through, thereby mitigating its potentially negative effects. In some cases, responding to a negative review directly can actually turn it into a net positive — 60% of survey respondents said it was important for doctors to respond to a bad review.

Just make sure you do so in a HIPAA-compliant manner. That means you cannot speak directly about a specific aspect of their treatment or care, or otherwise present any personal patient information (diagnosis, complications, expected outcomes, etc). Importantly, even if the reviewer presents this information themselves, do not repeat it or expand upon it.

Here are a few ways you can manage negative press without breaking any rules in the process:

  • Respond privately: if the person has identified him or herself, reach out directly and respond outside the spotlight. Apologize that they had a negative experience, tell them how you plan to address the problem, and above all, be sympathetic. When done properly, a personal apology can turn a harsh critic into a brand advocate.
  • Strength in numbers: if you have lots of positive reviews, sometimes it’s better not to respond to the occasional negative one. There’s a good chance that your loyal patient base will step in and support you, which is always going to be more effective than if you do it yourself.
  • Keep your head: if you do decide to respond to a negative review, make sure you’ve given yourself ample time to cool down so you can respond in a calm, collected manner. The impulse to fire back with a defensive or accusatory remark will be strong, but this type of response will likely do more damage to your reputation than good.

At the end of the day, reputation management doesn’t necessarily have to be this overwhelming and harrowing endeavour. It’s entirely possible to transform the online review phenomenon from a barrier to success into a legitimate competitive advantage — all it takes is a little bit of proactivity.

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Reputation Management For Doctors: What To Do Differently

Reputation Management For Doctors: What To Do Differently | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

To some, online reputation management for doctors may seem unnecessary. If you’re a great doctor, then patients will recommend you and professional opportunities will just happen…right?

This may be true for some – but not most.

According to a recent study conducted by Gaby Loria, “77% of patients start their healthcare search online and 84% of patients read online reviews to evaluate providers.”  

This means that as a physician, there’s a good chance that contact with a patient could begin and end online.  

By ignoring your online presence, you limit your professional reach. You also leave your online image vulnerable to attack or obscurity.

These days, few people will trust their health to a doctor with 1 star ratings.  And absolutely no one wants a healthcare provider with zero information available online!

The statistics support this. According to a 2013 study from Digital Assent, “85% of patients are not comfortable choosing a provider with 1 star for more than 10% of reviews”.

A doctor’s primary concern should be the quality of his or her work. However, it would be professionally irresponsible to turn a blind eye to one’s reputation online. Successful medical practices focus on reputation management for doctors for this exact reason.

As a physician, you owe it to yourself, your patients and colleagues. Ensure that online information about you and your practice is accurate, up to date and informative.

The best approach for doctor reputation management:

The most important thing that you possess is the quality of care that you provide for your patients. And in all likelihood, you are constantly striving to improve your skills and overall knowledge in your field through dealing with patients, conducting research, attending conferences and more.

While this kind of ongoing development is important – how will your patients know about it if you don’t share it?

Again, this is why building an online brand for yourself is critical. Reputation management for doctors relies heavily on general branding principles, with some important tweaks.

Building (or enhancing) your online presence is an ongoing process that requires a customized strategy. This strategy should take into account your ultimate branding goals and what your search results look like currently. However, there are certain steps that everyone should take to create the strongest online foundation possible.

While BrandYourself’s tools and services explain each step in detail,  when it comes to improving how doctors look online, we suggest the following for the best outcome:

Before doing anything, scan and audit your current online presence:

Google your name to see what kinds of search results show up. Search incognito or use a private browsing mode so that the search result rankings are as unbiased as possible. Look through the first few pages to get a sense of how you look when others search for you. Are the search results positive? Are they damaging? Does information about you even show up? Is it relevant for your patients and colleagues? Effective reputation management for doctors relies heavily on this information.

Once you’ve scanned and diagnosed how you look online, go through any social media accounts, professional profiles or websites that you control and delete old posts, comments or photos that may be inappropriate. This includes obvious things like posts that reference sex, drugs, bigotry, sexism, etc.

Additionally, review what you’ve published or commented about polarizing topics like religion or politics. These kinds of posts aren’t necessarily bad, but could damage your reputation to some depending on their own beliefs. Make sure that you stand by what you choose to post online.  If you don’t – delete, delete, delete.

It’s also helpful to know how other doctors in your area appear online. You don’t need to investigate their online reputation religiously, just take a peek so you have a rough idea how things look. You should always strive to have the best online presence as possible and this information will give you additional insight. Practicing reputation management for doctors is always easier when you know where you stand in the pack.

If there’s another doctor in a similar practice that has an amazing online reputation, use him or her as an inspiration in your own digital presence. Closing the gap will only help your practice.

Build high-quality branded sites & profiles you want others to find:

If you want a strong online presence, you need an arsenal of high-quality websites and social profiles that reflect your brand in a professional manner. The goal here is to make your foundation of online properties relevant and helpful to those who might be looking for you.

If you have several unwanted results ranking for your name, or if you have a popular name, then expect to put in more work than if you weren’t facing these obstacles. However, a high level of output isn’t the only factor. Think “high-quality” when it comes to just about everything you control online! If you utilize these sites and profiles properly, you will create a comprehensive resource about you, and eventually outnumber and overwhelm negative or irrelevant content.

Reputation management for doctors is much like any other ORM campaign. The best way to find success with this process is by optimizing correctly and publishing consistently. To start the process of building high-quality sites and profiles:

  1. Purchase your domain name (ie. janedoe.com)
  2. Build your personal website  (we recommend using WordPress)
  3. Join major social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn
  4. Take control of your profile, list your practice, or create your page on doctor-focused sites like: Healthgrades, Zocdoc, RateMDs, etc.(see the next section for more on profiles)

Make sure those properties are search engine optimized:

Solid doctor online reputation management campaigns implement search engine optimization best practices to give your properties the best chance at outranking undesirable search results. Our DIY tool shows you how.

  1. Use your name wherever possible
  2. Create content that’s original and valuable to your audience
  3. Link your best properties together (to learn more, visit BrandYourself University)

Regularly publish content on your sites & profiles:

As long as you own your site and profiles, publish regularly. If your properties look stagnant, Google won’t consider them relevant enough to rank. Consistently publish high-quality, unique content in various formats and share it across your web properties. Over time, this signals to search engines that your properties are trustworthy and should rank higher in the results.

Find your people to grow your audience:

This is related to step 3, and is extremely important. Everything from views to shares, and other forms of social engagement all contribute to higher search rankings. If your content is inconsistent or low-quality, you’ll miss engagement from other users, and likely won’t be able to rank above unwanted results.

Give it time:

It’s no secret that you will need to put a lot of work in upfront before reaping any benefits. Google’s algorithm favors older properties. Unfortunately, new properties are unlikely to outrank more established results immediately. However, publishing new content regularly and garnering social engagement over time will eventually help your property rank higher in search results while aging into favor.

As a doctor, your online presence can position you as a thought leader, determine the success of your practice, and expand your reach when connecting with patients, colleagues and leaders in your field. Take full advantage of these opportunities while protecting your reputation from potentially damaging or irrelevant information online that you can’t control. Reputation management for doctors is a worthwhile investment for your future online.

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“The Doctor Will Tweet You Now”

“The Doctor Will Tweet You Now” | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The rise and availability of social media has affected almost every aspect of our daily lives. Is your kid’s school delayed because of snow? Better check the school’s Facebook page. Considering buying your first home? Your lender just tweeted a 2016 Homebuyers’ Report. Curious about how the president spends his days? Just look at his Instagram feed. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise the way people approach healthcare has changed, too. This blog has discussed digital strategy for healthcare practices, so here are a few social media-specific guidelines.

  • It’s all about the apps. About 20% of smartphone users utilize at least one health app on their phone. The most popular types relate to exercise, diet and weight. Though every healthcare facility doesn’t necessarily need an app, it’s important to have a strong mobile marketing focus. Many health providers have mobile patient access portals to keep pace with the growing digital world.
  • Putting the “me” in treatment. Social media has allowed patients to take a more active role in their healthcare. Whether it’s researching ailments, posting on forum, or joining support groups, more patients are becoming their own advocates when it comes to their health. Rather than relying solely on doctors to diagnose and determine the best course of treatment, patients are actively joining the discussion with diagnoses and treatment plans compiled from research and the advice or experience of others.
  • There’s no such thing as bad publicity… unless you’re in healthcare. Roughly 41% of people said social media affects their choice of a doctor, hospital or medical facility. Not only are patients able to post their positive—or negative—experiences on their own social media platforms, but sites like HealthGrades.com, RateMDs.com and Vitals.com allow them to score providers on everything from ease of appointment setting to bedside demeanor and professionalism of office staff. It’s imperative that healthcare organizations pay close attention to the way they are represented to current and potential patients.
  • Seeing is believing. According to a think with Google research study, YouTube traffic to hospital sites has increased 119% year-over-year, and 30% of patients who watched an online video booked an appointment. Videos more effectively highlight the value of facilities and the human elements of the providers.
  • On call 24/7. Along with this streamlined form of patient and physician communication comes heightened expectations. According to those polled during a study by the Health Research Institute at PwC, 49% of people expect to hear from their physician within a few hours of requesting an appointment or engaging in a follow-up discussion via social media.

Social media outlets have become so omnipresent in our culture that they’ve changed the way healthcare professionals and facilities operate and approach patient relationships. With each new development in technology comes another way a healthcare practitioner must upgrade to engage—or risk losing a patient to one who does.

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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.

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A Guide to a Healthy Online Reputation for Physicians

A Guide to a Healthy Online Reputation for Physicians | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Besides medical education credentials, specialty experience, and a pleasant bedside manner, the next most important thing a doctor can have is a good — or preferably great — reputation. It can be a deciding factor between a new patient choosing your practice instead of another. And today, having a healthy online reputation as a physician and medical practice is more important than ever.

Just take a look at these convincing statistics:

  • According to a recent report published on the Journal of Medical Internet Research, not only did 88 percent of adults in the United States search the internet for health-related information, but 47 percent of adults Americans looked up information about their providers online, 37 percent reviewed physician-rating sites, and seven percent who consulted online information about their provided posted a review online themselves. Thirty percent compared physician’s online before making their choice as well.
  • A further study reported as part of the Pew Internet and American Life Project revealed that 43 percent of people with a chronic disease looked online for information about doctors.
  • A survey by Software Advice of 4,515 patients in the United States indicated that patients used online review sites as a tool to research doctors. As a first step to find a new physician, the majority (62 percent) of uses online reviews as their initial go-to method.
  • In 2011, 28 percent said they searched online for information about the quality of care provided by a primary care physician or medical specialist as compared to 24 percent in 2010, according to the 2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers in the United States published by Deloitte.

Statistics aside, it just makes pure common sense in today’s digital age for physicians to manage their online reputation. Negative comments, whether its a misleading mainstream media article or defamatory online review from a disgruntled patient, can paint a physician and his practice in an unflattering, and possibly incorrect light, causing the medical practice doorbell to ring less often.

Online reviews can have a major influence on the success of a medical practice, but that shouldn’t frighten medical practitioner owners. While a negative online review can drive patients away, good online reviews can serve as a powerful physician marketing tool.

With that in mind, physicians should have a keen awareness of the areas for which they and their practice are being evaluated by patients.

What’s Being Rated and Reviewed?

While there are many areas of physician qualities, care, and services that are being discussed, reviewed, and rated by patients online, the majority fall into these categories:

  • Communication skills - This includes an explanation of medical conditions and treatments, listening skills, attentiveness to patient, follow-up, and bedside manner. How rushed the physician seemed is a frequently-cited comment that physicians should pay particular attention to.
  • Availability - Includes ease of scheduling, appointment availability, and wait time for scheduled appointments.
  • Facilities - Waiting room comfortability and amenities, cleanliness, on-premises services (like lab services).
  • Staff - How professional, helpful, and courtesy is the staff?

With the increased transparency in the healthcare system overall, it is essential for physician practices to pay attention — and close attention — to these patient rating categories.

Tips for a Healthy Online Reputation

On the web, information, whether good or bad, can spread like a wildfire. Follow these general tips to make sure your practice’s online reputation works for you, rather than against you.

  • Update directory listings. Create, optimize, and manage listings on HealthGrades, Yelp, Google+, ZocDoc, RateMD.com, and Vitals, in addition to Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Respond to comments, especially negative comments. For instance, patient comments such as “The doctor seemed rushed during my time with him” can be softened by responding “We take great pride in helping as many patients as possible since we are one of the few practices offering this specialty in the local area.”
  • Improve your bedside manner. Patients refer to a physician’s bedside manner in online discussions more frequently than most other factor, says KevinMD.com, so doctors can do a lot to improve their online reputation simply by making patients feel that they are truly concerned about their wellbeing. To this end, physicians should work on presenting a less “rushed” appointment, and even work on lengthening patient appointment times if possible. Building trust by continually following up with patients also helps.
  • Engage an online reputation management service. There’s no doubt about it; online reputation management (ORM) is a time consuming process. Employing a professional ORM service saves you time and money — and more importantly helps to keep your online reputation healthy.
  • Create a large body of positive and patient-valued content. Providing relevant content in the form of blog postings and articles not only provides an additional source of information for patients and engage patients, but it can make detrimental articles in newspapers become deeply buried into the back pages of search engines. In other words, creating a large body of positive content can outweigh negative material. Post engaging content and industry relevant content at least weekly on your website’s blog and Facebook pages.

Physcian Marketing Online Reputation Management Takeaway

Patients are increasing becoming healthcare consumers, and the impact of patients reviews and rankings on physician practices can no longer be overlooked or ignored. It is imperative that physicians become proactive in managing their online reputation through physician marketing in order to attract and retain patients and increase their bottom line financial metrics.

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Dealing with Negative Online Reviews of Doctors

Dealing with Negative Online Reviews of Doctors | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Can one bad apple ruin it for the bunch? Yes, if you’re talking about online reviews.

Doctors train for many years and work very hard to maintain robust practices, so it is only natural that they are very protective about their reputations. As sites such as healthgrades.com and ratemds.com grow in popularity, it becomes harder and harder for physicians to manage their reputations online.

 

So what happens when a patient posts a scathingly bad review?

The results may not be as bad as you would imagine. In fact, a study found that most patients had never checked their doctor’s reputation online at all. However, the same study found that patients are beginning to be more aware of physician reviews online and are likely to begin consulting online reviews of doctors in the future.

That means that a bad review may not be the end of the world right now, but could negatively impact a physician’s future business if he or she does not take steps to improve his or her image online.

 

Combating a Bad Review

The best way to combat a bad review is to fight fire with fire. While many doctors may feel the urge to discourage patients for posting reviews online, the exact opposite is the best response. Doctors should work with their marketing team to make a plan to encourage patients to post more reviews online.

Why? Because a recent analysis of online doctor ratings shows that more than three-quarters of all doctor reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Encouraging patients to go online and write a review is very likely to result in a higher number of positive reviews, which will help to mitigate the damage of any negative reviews.

When criticized in a public forum, it may be tempting for a doctor to respond publicly. In most circumstances, the doctor would be better served to either respond privately or not at all. Often the doctor’s other patients will publicly defend their doctor. If there is truth to the criticism, however, the physician should take steps to remedy any problems that led to the negative review.

 

What if a Negative Review Isn’t True?

Physicians should directly contact review sites if they believe a review is planted or false. While review sites will not remove reviews solely on the basis of their being negative, some will consider removing a review if it can be proven false or inaccurate. Most sites will require some kind of proof.

Lawsuits are rarely a good option for physicians seeking to vindicate themselves from a negative review, even if it is false. A lawsuit can draw more attention to a situation that will most likely go away on its own, and can negatively impact a physician’s relationship with his or her other patients. If the physician has proof that the negative review was planted by a competitor, a lawsuit may be appropriate and more successful than one against a patient. Doctors may be better served, however, by engaging patients and encouraging them to participate in the online community.

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Use Review Sites and Search Queries to Manage Bad Press

Use Review Sites and Search Queries to Manage Bad Press | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Reputation is critical to every healthcare provider and while many use the internet to promote that reputation, few use the tools it offers to effectively identify and address bad press. Damaging reviews, articles, and blogs can taint a provider’s reputation but they also present an opportunity to respond to the authors to mitigate the damage.

Identifying Bad Press:

The use of online reviews to evaluate or select a physician increased from 25% in 2013 to 42% in 2014. Most of these people used positive reviews to help them select a new physician. Fortunately, the more reviews you have the less impact one negative one will make on your reputation. There are several sites that provide physician reviews but the ones cited as most often used are:

  • Yelp
  • Healthgrades
  • RateMDs
  • Vitals
  • ZocDoc

Yelp and Healthgrades were viewed by consumers as the most trusted of these sites. Your patients should be encouraged to leave reviews on these popular sites but you should periodically monitor them for reviews from unsatisfied patients.

You should also leverage Google and Google Suggest to conduct monthly searches on your company name. These searches will identify articles and blogs that mention your organization and often provide you with an opportunity to respond. Even a “thank you for your feedback” statement will be seen in a positive light by others reading these pieces.

Responding to Bad Press:

Over 80% of online review are either neutral or positive, but what do you do when a review is negative? One of the biggest challenges healthcare providers face is patient privacy restrictions. You cannot speak directly to any treatment aspect of care or otherwise identify the patient or present their personal information such as diagnosis, expected outcomes, etc. Even if the reviewers presents this information themselves, do not repeat it or expand on the information.

Despite these limitations, there are several ways to address bad reviews and negative press.

  • Respond privately if the person has identified him or herself. Apologize for the problem, explain how you will address it, and be sympathetic to the impact it had on the patient. If done well, a critic can become a loyal advocate.
  • Don’t respond to a negative review if you have many positive ones. It is likely that your loyal patients will step in and support you and negate the bad review. This is a more effective response than if you did so yourself.
  • If you feel you must respond, wait until you can address the matter calmly. The impulse to type in a scathing remark is strong, but it can damage your reputation more than the initial review. Give yourself at least 15 minutes before responding.
  • When you choose to respond, stay positive and flip the “script.” Apologize for the problem followed by positive statements such as: “We are sorry that you had a long wait time before seeing the physician. We work hard to keep to our schedule and have added additional staff to help us with this goal.” Do not be defensive, even if the person is unreasonable, i.e. the road was flooded and the doctor was late in arriving to the office.

Monitoring your brand and reputation on the internet is a necessary component of your marketing plan. Remember that bad press is inevitable but your response will determine the extent of its effect on your practice.

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How Does Your Medical Organization Handle Negative Feedback?

How Does Your Medical Organization Handle Negative Feedback? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Ping! An email comes in. You open it and your face drops. One of your patients just posted a negative review on your Facebook page. What do you do next?

Your instinct may be to ignore or delete the review, but I assure you this is not the answer. Trying to silence negative reviews misses a valuable opportunity for us to connect with patients. It sends the message that you are more interested in covering up negative feedback than addressing it and improving your practice.

Many of us in healthcare need to shift our perspective on public patient feedback. Social media marketing is about more than pushing out content. Social media platforms provide an opportunity for us to talk — and listen — to customers. So when we do get feedback, it means these platforms are working well. Negative feedback is not a threat to business or a personal attack; it is an opportunity to show your patients (and potential patients) not only that you listen, but that you are eager to improve their experience.

Below are five tips to effectively manage online reviews:

1. Be Prompt

When a negative review appears, respond in a timely fashion. Creating a policy for responding to online reviews now will help you be prepared to handle the majority of reviews. Pull together important phone numbers and email addresses, and even write sample responses to common questions or complaints.

2. Be Gracious

Resist the urge to get defensive. Instead, address the reviewer’s concerns with professionalism and kindness. Post a public response thanking them for taking the time to share their experience, and apologize that their experience did not meet your standard of care. Your public response shows other members of that online platform that you care about feedback and that you are responsive to concerns expressed by your patients or their family members. Ultimately, that helps to deepen people’s connections with your brand.

3. Move the Conversation Offline

Once you have demonstrated your dedication to making the situation right, it’s best to move the conversation offline as soon as possible. Encourage the patient to contact the office so you can hear more about their experience and learn from it.

4. Differentiating Between Trolls and Concerned Customers

Unfortunately, there are some people who are determined to shock and upset others. It can be difficult to discern between trolls and upset customers. Pay attention to their motivation and tone. If the person is using explicit or inflammatory language, there’s a good chance you are dealing with a troll. No response will satisfy them — instead, they will use a response as an invitation to keep posting.

Trolls want attention. No matter how difficult it might be, ignoring a troll could be your best tactic to get them to leave you alone. If someone uses profanity or harasses other users, consider deleting their comment(s) and blocking the account.

5. Ask For Reviews

The best way to prepare for a negative review is to actively encourage patients who have had positive experiences to post on various social media platforms and review sites. You might even print out instructions explaining how to do so. That way, any negative comments, though valuable, will seem inconsequential compared to the dozens of positive reviews.

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A Healthy Approach to Social Media

A Healthy Approach to Social Media | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

In today’s fast-paced society, everyone and their mother is on some sort of social media—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram, just to name a few. Social media has changed not only the way we communicate, but also the way that we get our information. More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way that they deal with their health: What’s the latest workout? What’s the best diet? Who’s doing CrossFit? With so many new fitness crazes popping up, most people can be found with at least one health-related app.

Popular health and fitness websites such as WebMD and MyFitnessPal have generated their own online forums for users to share messages and information. (I, too, am guilty of looking up a symptom or two on WebMD.) 

What’s the draw? Why do people choose to use social media as their go-to for medical questions and answers? Instant gratification. Nowadays we’ve become so conditioned to receiving answers in seconds that waiting a day for test results seems unreasonable. It’s so much easier to punch in your symptoms on Google rather than making an appointment at the doctor.

But it doesn’t need to be an either/or decision. Healthcare providers can use social media to their—and their patients’—advantage. Overworked nurses and pediatricians could save valuable hours teaching kids how to properly fit a bike helmet by uploading a single YouTube video. A doctor could discuss a complicated procedure with a nervous patient, provide more information, and greater peace of mind, by referring them to a video or an article—or better yet, having that video or article on hand in their office.

I’m not saying that every health facility should run out and create an app. However, every facility should, in fact, have a strong social media focus no matter their size. With all of the health-related discussions constantly filling newsfeeds, providing the right content where people are spending a majority of their time is part of modern medicine.

Social media is important for healthcare providers to stay in communication with past, present and future patients. Like it, tweet it, pin it. Get the real facts out there. The world is online and moving forward. The fact of the matter is: If you aren’t on social media, then you’re far behind the learning curve.

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Online Reputation Management for Healthcare Practices & Physicians

Online Reputation Management for Healthcare Practices & Physicians | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

What’s more valuable for choosing a new restaurant, gym, or smartphone: an online review or the suggestion that your friend makes? Nearly three out of four consumers (72%) say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to a SearchEngineLand.com survey posted on MedNet.com.

In the last year alone, 68 percent more patients turned to online reviews to gather information about potential healthcare providers. And nearly half of all patients (44%) may be willing to seek out-of-network doctors with favorable online reviews, according to a survey featured on FiercePracticeManagement.com. Does your online reputation have new patients lining up to schedule an appointment or is it scaring folks away?

Online Healthcare Reputation Management Basics

Online reputation management can be tricky. On the one hand, candid reviews are important for protecting prospective patients from an unethical physician or poorly managed practice; however, these practice and physician-related problems are pretty rare. Most of the criticism that’s leveled at doctors in online reviews—a long wait before an appointment, the high cost of a treatment—are systemic issues that a single physician or practice cannot single-handedly fix.

Additionally, doctor-patient confidentiality prevents physicians from directly engaging online critics. While you can’t wage all out war with an online critic, the good news is that you don’t need to. And many factors outside a physician’s immediate control, like wait times, actually rank as one of the least important factors for patient reviews, according to a survey featured on FiercePracticeManagement.com.

A survey of 4,000 patients using reviews found that the following review elements are most important when deciding whether or not to schedule an appointment at a physician’s practice:

  • Quality of care (48 percent)
  • Rating (45 percent)
  • Patient experience (40 percent)
  • Accurate diagnoses (34 percent)
  • Wait times (25 percent)
  • Doctor’s listening skills (22 percent)

 


In general, most physicians are rated positively and higher rankings for hospitals and medical practices are associated with better medical care, according to an analysis of online reviews conducted by the American College of Surgeons. Unfortunately, since physician review websites (PRWs) do not verify the authenticity of a patient’s review, there’s a high possibility for abuse, misinformation, and outdated information.

While you cannot directly control the quality or quantity of your practice’s reviews, these reviews play an increasingly important role in generating referral traffic to your website and appointments for your practice.

 

The following steps are a good start for online reputation management:

  • Keep tabs on your profile. You can’t improve what you don’t know! Popular PRWs include Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com and RateMDs.com. Increasingly, websites like ZocDoc.com also offers patient reviews in conjunction with the ability to book appointments with participating physicians.
  • Set up an online profile. Many PRWs allow physicians to display professional profiles; use the information in your profile to control your reputation and protect against potential criticism. For example, you could highlight your willingness to accept same-day appointments or your expertise in a highly specialized practice field.
  • Request feedback from patients. In general, you can expect positive feedback from long-time patients. Post a sign in your waiting area saying that you value feedback and send an appointment-follow-up email, inviting patients to take a short online survey. Quote positive reviews and link to addition positive content on your practice’s site.
Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

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

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