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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Tips to help you manage a physician’s online reputation 

Tips to help you manage a physician’s online reputation  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

As healthcare marketers and/or communicators, you know your doctors are being talked about on the web, social media sites and especially rating sites. Right now, as you’re reading this, toggle over to Google and type in a new doctor you are promoting and see what you find. Is the information accurate? What would a viewer say about that doctor based on those results? Is it good? Bad?

 

The more patients go online to find info about your docs, the more their online reputation is being managed – regardless if it’s true or not. That reputation can play a huge role in acquiring new patients and maintaining trust with existing patients.

More and more studies are showing nearly 80% of today’s consumers go online first when evaluating a medical provider. Physicians who don’t actively manage their online reputations can suffer the consequences of an unfair and unfounded digital reputation.  Furthermore, reputation defence is a concern even for very good, reputable physicians as some doctors think that because they are honest and they are good at what they do, there is no cause for worry about their online image. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

 

So what exactly IS online reputation management? Online reputation management is the process of preventing and repairing threats to your online reputation. This is done by tracking what is written about you (or what you’re trying to manage) and using techniques to address or moderate the information on search engine result pages or in social media. The goal is to promote positive or neutral content while suppressing negative content.

For your physicians, this can involve a few key areas: what’s found on search engine results pages, social media sites and rating sites (such as Vitals, HealthGrades, Rate MDs, Yelp, Angie’s List).

 

Here are 4 tips to help you manage a physician’s online reputation:

 

Don’t fight patient reviews, embrace them

The truth is patients expect to check reviews before making economic decisions. And, just like consumers, patients are sceptical to see a doctor who doesn’t have reviews. If a doctor’s competitor has reviews and the doctor doesn’t, the doctor is probably falling behind.

 

Eric Goldman, professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law in California says a vast majority of patient reviews are positive. “There’s really a curve of reviews,” he said. “There are only a small number of negative reviews, even smaller number of mixed reviews, and a huge number of positive reviews.”

 

Dr Joseph Bauer, a plastic surgeon in Atlanta, said in the July 2012 issue of “Aesthetic Surgery Journal,” that reviews seen online are real. “When reviews online are real, based on accurate events, it can have tremendous value to patients searching for a qualified plastic surgeon; but the internet is not regulated. Anyone can say anything, and it sometimes gets to be difficult for patients to know which reviews can be trusted.”

Dr Bauer continues, “Most websites don’t make a reviewer prove that they were really a patient before they can post a review. Most don’t have any process to make sure the reviews posted are reflective of a real experience.”

 

An example of how impactful this is to plastic surgeons can be seen in another study showing that 41% of breast augmentation patients begin their research by searching on Google. These searchers are looking for information about the breast augmentation procedure and about the options for breast implants. These patients are also looking for information on plastic surgeon of choice. This includes the doctor’s website, the doctor or practices social media participation, as well as numerous review sites.

 

Social media is your friend

Now, let’s move into social media. If this blog teaches you anything about online reputation management, let it be: you will have 100 per cent control of an online story that you create. It is imperative that physicians create an active social media presence now. Today, in fact, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube are wonderful ways to showcase who a physician is and what they represent.

 

Kevin Pho, MD, owner and writer at KevinMD.com is the web’s leading destination for provocative physician commentary on breaking the medical news. He says that creating and maintaining an active blog is essential to the development of an effective online reputation.  And he’s really extremely successful at it.

 

“Blogging allows you to publish your thoughts and opinions, makes you the expert and allows readers to get a sense of who you are and what values you hold close,” he says. “If you do not create your own story you remain at the mercy of what others say and create digitally about you — much of which may not be true.”

 

He also says to be careful about what you post on personal social media sites. “Patients can get access to data that you may not want them to see,” Dr Pho says. “A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t want your mother to see something, don’t post it.”

 

Be diverse and don’t get stale

When developing and managing an online reputation, diversity is key.

 

Dr Pho says to not be focused on one outlet such as Twitter or Facebook. “Instead, know that search engines such as Google are constantly updating how they “hit” and by spreading your presence over several social media networking outlets and frequently updating your website and blog you increase your visibility,” he said. “Make sure you have an active presence on several different types of sites,” he says. “Frequent updates are critical to your success.”

 

Participate in other online communities

Physicians need to be engaging in online communities. Doctors who are involved in patient-led forums and groups can allow to better understand what is important to patients with a particular disorder or disease. For Dr Pho, involvement and participation a group called the “ICD Users Group” has been a wonderful learning experience and has helped him improve the way his approach. “In addition, participation in professional online communities can help to boost your online reputation and increase your recognition as an expert,” he said.

 

Of course, these tips can also be used in managing your organization, services, department and/or products. Bottom line: Don’t ignore what’s being said about your organization, doctors, etc. Be proactive. Once you really start listening, the more positivity will come.

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10 Online Reputation Management Rules for Physicians

10 Online Reputation Management Rules for Physicians | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

With the rise of the Internet, medical practices have to change the way they manage their online reputation. A massive amount of information gets shared on the Internet every day, which makes it very difficult to monitor what is being said about your practice. How can medical practitioners sort through the social noise and identify relevant discussions about their practice, products or services?

 

It is no wonder that so many practices are looking for innovative ways to establish, improve and protect their online reputation.

Before potential patients call your office to book an appointment, they often go online to gather all the information they can about your practice. According to a study from Digital Assent, 85 per cent of patients are not comfortable choosing a healthcare provider with a one-star rating of more than 10 per cent of the reviews.


Patients now are conscious, make informed decisions and have more choices now than ever. It is essential, therefore, that practices act in a way that gives them the best possible online reputation.

 

Managing your practice’s online reputation is an ongoing process. In order to establish and protect your reputation, there are a few rules you should follow to ensure you are not sabotaging your brand image or letting a tainted reputation go unchecked

 

While a physician’s primary concern should be the quality of his or her work, it would be a blunder to turn a blind eye to one’s online reputation. As a healthcare provider, it is your responsibility to make sure that online information about you and your practice is accurate and informative.

Follow these ten basic rules to establish, maintain and protect your online reputation:

 

Rule #1: Everyone has an online reputation. Every healthcare provider has an online reputation to maintain and protect. Your online reputation is an extension of your medical practice. In order to understand what you need to focus on, you must know what is being said online about your practice. Put your name in the major search engines and see what comes up. Is the information that you find about your practice accurate and useful? You can also set up a Google Alert on your name in order to keep track of any new mentions.

 

Rule #2: Be proactive, not reactive. It is essential to own your reputation, and do not allow it to own you. A spark is far easier to manage than a firestorm. It is much easier and safer to be proactive than reactive when handling matters that concern your online reputation. You must effectively communicate with your team and those involved with your practice’s brand image. Keep all stakeholders on the same page in order to avoid sending out mixed messages.

 

Rule #3: Listen to what your patients are saying. Social media is one the most popular and effective ways to hear the unedited voice of your patients, especially the unhappy ones. But how can you find all those posts, sift through the relevant ones and address those that need your attention? You can achieve this by using a social listening tool that searches for mentions of your practice, services and related keywords. These tools search the usual social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and use crawlers to discover new sites and online forums. The idea is to listen to the feedback you are collecting about your reputation. Try to listen for trends, opportunities or even complaints. When you actually listen to what your patients are saying about your medical practice, you do more than just fix a problem. You will try to fix the underlying issue that created the problem in the first place.

 

Rule #4: Always respond to reviews, and be prompt. Nearly 70 per cent of patients who post negative feedback tend to feel positive if their concerns get noticed and resolved. Your patients want to hear from you, and they may not wait patiently for days and weeks at a stretch. Almost 42 per cent of users who post online reviews expect a reply within an hour, and 57 per cent of users expect a response even outside of normal business hours. Even if you do not immediately have information to share or to resolve their concerns, do not ignore the reviews. Acknowledge the complaint, let patients know you are looking into the issue, and assure them that you will get back to them.

 

Rule #5: Spread the positive word. Negative publicity is bound to happen. The majority of healthcare providers end up with a negative online reputation because they made it that way. They either posted the inappropriate content or they allowed things to get out of control. If you want a positive online reputation, then you have to work hard to build it. You will have to consistently post relevant and positive content. The more wisely you share content online, the more stellar reputation you build.

 

Rule #6: Apologize genuinely and refrain from arguments. If you or your staff make a mistake, it is critical to own up to it and make a genuine apology. A sincere apology can work wonders in diffusing a delicate situation and can help toward fixing the relationship. Try to make amends unconditionally. Regardless of who is right or who started it, you will be tagged as unprofessional if you engage in mudslinging. Do not allow your emotions to take control as you may end up saying and doing things that damage your reputation. The best approach is to remain calm and polite at all times and to try to take the conversation offline. Staying professional may win more patients than being “right” in an online dispute.

 

Rule #7: Encourage and train your staff to provide unmatched service. Often, dissatisfied patients will not complain but will stop coming to your practice in the future. Such patients, in addition to not returning to your practice, will tell their family and friends about their bad experience. The ripple effect of one dissatisfied patient can be detrimental to your online reputation. Make sure your employees are trained in providing outstanding patient care. Not only can your employees help improve your online reputation, but their strategic presence on relevant social media platforms will also help position your practice as an active member. This activity can deflect negative feedback and drive more traffic and leads to your website.

 

Rule #8: Build a strong social media presence. Social media is vital to your reputation management as it gives you a quick and effective way to stay in touch with current as well as potential patients. It is critical to create social media accounts and keep them updated. If you already have social media pages for your practice, be sure to update them with positive content. These profiles are a reflection of your practice and your reputation, and you must make sure they show you in a positive light.

 

Rule #9: Encourage and monitor online reviews. The best way to protect and enhance your online reputation is to take an aggressive approach. It is important to encourage your patients and employees to write reviews online. The goal is to have more positive reviews than negative ones so that the bad feedback will be diluted by the happy experiences. You can easily monitor online conversations about your practice by using tools like Google Alerts and Social Mention. By monitoring your online reviews, you will be better equipped to turn any negative feedback into a positive comment by responding quickly and professionally. In addition, reading and responding to reviews will help you understand gaps or improvement areas in your service. Online reviews are the most important way to improve your online reputation. It is sad, but happy patients rarely write positive reviews, but a disgruntled patient will smear your brand name any opportunity he or she can get.

 

Rule #10: Claim your online listings. Managing your online reputation starts by claiming your listings on key online directories and social networks. These directories and networks allow you to share information that presents your practice in the best light. You must control the official voice of your practice on public platforms. One of the best things about online directories is that they occupy a lot of search results and tend to push negative reviews off the first page of search results. You can claim your online business listings by maintaining active, up-to-date profiles on popular websites and interacting with patients who post to those sites. Responding to both negative and positive reviews is an excellent way to stay engaged with patients.

Conclusion

In order to keep your online reputation intact, you must be upfront with your patients. If you happen to make a mistake, admit it, apologize and try to fix it. Never try to cover up your errors, and always be honest about what happened. Being transparent also requires direct communication with patients, which means allowing them to complain about your products, services or even staff. Unless the feedback is offensive, let it stay online. You should respond to negative feedback with an apology and explanation. Deleting online reviews will only add to the damage to your online reputation.

 

As a healthcare provider, your online reputation can position you as an expert, determine the success of your practice and help you connect with patients, peers and leaders in your field. Take full advantage of various tools and strategies while protecting your online reputation from potentially damaging information online that you cannot control. Online reputation management for physicians is a worthwhile investment that will pay off professionally and personally. This is why most healthcare providers choose to hire professionals to help them build and improve the online reputation of their medical practice.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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How to Assess Your Current Online Reputation 

How to Assess Your Current Online Reputation  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

As patients are increasingly turning to search engines and review sites for evaluating the quality of care, it’s time that healthcare providers should also be there to provide the answers that patients are looking for. With a proactive reputation management, doctors can leave the right impact that will convince patients and eventually acquire them. This article will guide you step-by-step in developing and managing your online reputation.

 

The success of your healthcare practice depends on how positive a reputation it has with its patients. If that’s the case, then how do you determine your practice’s reputation? Referrals and word-of-mouth are still a well-known and common factors that relate to your reputation and patient acquisition, but then how many of your new patients rely on just these two factors to choose you?

 

As a matter of fact, even after getting referred by their friends or family, or even by another physician, one of the first things that your patients will do is to research your practice and its reputation online to see what other patients are saying about you.

 

While displaying positive patient reviews can certainly help your practice influence opinions in your favour, it doesn’t mean that reviews are all that matters for your practice’s online reputation.

Users check, on an average, 12 different sources including content from review sites, social media, on-site testimonials, blogs, etc., before finally picking a provider. – Google

All this sum up into two things: first, many other factors (apart from reviews) are responsible for your online reputation. Second, reviews and testimonials form a major part of it. The process that takes care of all these is called online reputation management.

What Is Online Reputation Management?

“Online reputation management (ORM) is the practice of crafting strategies that shape or influence the public perception of an organization, individual or other entity on the Internet. It helps drive public opinion about a business and its products and services. – Techopedia. The definition encompasses almost every online marketing activity that directly or indirectly adds to the reputation of your practice and you. So, in those terms…

ORM may involve utilizing your medical expertise to engage with your online patient community on Facebook to answer medical questions and concerns. Or, using the same expertise to provide relevant answers to your patients’ health-related inquiries via content marketing, to establish yourself as an authority in the eyes of your audience and Google (by improving your search rankings).

 

However, as the term ‘reputation’ exhibits more about your patients’ beliefs or opinions, it’s arguable that in its core, ORM strategy deals more with taking control of the online conversation. That way, ORM may involve using Twitter or Yelp to jump in on conversations and tackle negative or defamatory comments about your practice. Or, it could involve soliciting positive reviews from happy patients to improve the search engine rankings and the public-facing online reputation of your practice.

 

With online reputation management, you can ensure your healthcare brand is decently positioned (and represented) not only on review sites but on other important places like search results and social media timeline/feeds. If you are interested to see how these are done, we will explain later in the article.

Before that, you should introspect whether your practice really needs reputation management or not. For that, you’ll need to self-assess your current online reputation. How?

Keep reading…

How to Assess Your Current Online Reputation

Have you ever Googled your practice or your provider’s name to see how they appear in the search result? If you haven’t, do it now! A stellar online reputation starts with a robust internet presence. After all, if you are not properly visible, how can anyone say anything about your reputation?

 

Your website: Ideally, your website should appear as the first result of a direct search (someone directly entering your brand name) on Google. If your site is well-optimized (with proper keywords), is well-indexed, isn’t serving any penalty from Google, then it’ll rightfully appear in the first result. Of all other content links in the search results, at least some should be the predominantly “owned” ones (i.e., those where you control the content). For example, your blog page where your brand owns the content. Appearing with more predominantly “owned” links means a high reputation in the eyes of Google.

 

 

If the review snippet appears, check for these:

  • Aggregate review scores are appearing from how many review platforms?
  • Is it only from Yelp, or from other review platforms such as HealthGrades and Facebook?
  • Are the aggregate review scores positive or poor?
  • Is there parity in the aggregate review scores of different review platforms?

To appear with review snippets from different platforms, your review profiles will need to be well-optimized for local online presence. For a high reputation, they’ll also need to be mostly positive.

 

Google Knowledge Graph: Appearing in the Google Knowledge Graph means you have a high online presence and reputation. The Knowledge Graph sums up the most useful information about your practice such as your picture, the map, the business address, telephone number, patient reviews, etc., all in one place.

 

However, appearing in the Knowledge Graph requires a well-optimized site and proper online listings of your practice on different third-party online directories, including Google My Business.

 

Tip: Search differently as patients will do. It means replacing related words around the keyword. For example, substituting “Dr. ABC Neurologist” or “Dr ABC McArthur Boulevard” for “Dr ABC, MD” will expand the search results. Search results for all these terms will slightly differ, and ideally, for all these terms, you should appear decently parallel to make sure that your reputation is on terms with related keywords.

 

While search engine reputation matters the most, social media reputation is no less important. That’s why you’ll need to assess your social media reputation as well.

 

One of the best ways to assess your reputation on social media is by manually checking your social media profile pages and comparing them with your competitors.

 

If you have been visiting your social media pages daily, you should already be aware of the situation. However, if your profiles are being handled by a social media marketing person or your practice manager, it’s time you make the assessment right now.

Why You Should Focus on Facebook

Facebook is the most important platform as it’s a highly sociable place where you get to learn from your patients’ perspectives. For learning about your reputation with other stakeholders, such as referring physicians, pharma people, and medical industry influencers, Twitter and LinkedIn are the best.

 

For now, stick with Facebook, as that’s the place where you directly get to interact with your patients online. Also, in terms of monthly user traffic, Facebook is already the highest review generating site with 47% of its surveyed users have written a review in the last year.

 

How do you assess your reputation on Facebook? 

 

Review frequency: It’s important that your profile page should be receiving reviews on a regular basis. An outdated database of reviews doesn’t help patients in their decision making. Also, regular reviews help in increasing engagement and keeping up with the algorithmic actions on your profile.

 

However, you should also get a closer look at the content of the reviews, especially the negative ones with fewer star ratings. That will help you understand the factors that are causing a bad reputation among your patients.

 

Review responses: Also, check how your reviews are being handled from your practice’s end. If you find that reviews, especially the negative ones, aren’t being handled carefully and tactfully, it means you need a reputation management team dedicated for the job.

 

Engagement & interaction: Check for how the posts on your Facebook profile page are performing. Are they getting a sufficient number of responses in terms of likes, comments, and shares? You should check the quality of those comments too. That’s because these metrics can indirectly affect the frequency and quality of your reviews.

 

With these informative steps, you should be able to get an idea of where your current online reputation stands. If it needs improvement, don’t hesitate to make the changes necessary to optimize your practice’s reputation.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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The Importance of Getting Involved in Online Reputation Management 

The Importance of Getting Involved in Online Reputation Management  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Your online reputation as a physician is crucial, probably even more so than you may realize. The Internet has opened up the door to allowing people to access info on your practice and yourself, but by the same token it has made it possible for there to be fraudulent information and provided a perfect outlet for negative reviews, all of which can do massive damage. Physician online reputation management has become so important because patients are increasingly relying on online reviews in their decision-making process, sometimes even weighing their importance more heavily than their PCP’s referral.

 

Damage Potential for Physicians Ignoring Online Reputation Management

 

As of 2012, about one-third of patients who viewed online sites sought out or avoided physicians based on their ratings. The findings come from a nationally representative Internet-based survey of 2,137 adults, published Feb. 18 in JAMA. “Patients are increasingly turning to online physician ratings, just as they have sought ratings for other products and services,” wrote the study’s authors, led by Dr. David Hanauer, a pediatrician and associate professor at the University of Michigan.  A more recent Pew Research Center study indicates that 72% of all U.S. internet users looked online for health information in 2012; 30% of them have looked specifically at provider reviews, where anyone can write anything under a near guarantee of anonymity. More than 700,000 physicians are listed on Vitals.com, the largest of the patient review sites, which attracts more than 13 million visitors a month. ZocDoc.com, RateMDs.com, and Yelp.com maintain sizable directories of provider information.

 

Internet access and familiarity with review sites and online searches has increased, leading more people to look up their doctor or dentist online.  Patients can leave reviews on their phone via apps like Yelp & Foursquare, or on map listings like Google Maps.  They can also access those listings rapidly when making a decision on what practice to visit.  Potential patients overwhelmingly consult review sites and the personal opinion of social media connections before committing to seeing a certain physician, and sometimes a strong negative review snowball into an all-out boycott of a practice.

 

“I’m the best in my field. I don’t have to worry about asking for reviews, because everyone already knows me.”

 

Cream does still rise to the top, and being acknowledged by your peers as the best at what you do goes a long way toward securing referrals and a steady stream of new patients.  Most specialists we speak to wave off the issue of reputation management by repeating this phrase, or citing positive patient survey results wherever they have hospital privileges. However, it’s become abundantly clear that referrals aren’t made solely based on the clinical skill of the physician being referred to. Michael Kirsh, MDoutlines 7 reasons, beyond medical quality, why certain medical specialists are chosen for a referral:

  • Availability trumps clinical acumen almost every time for physicians who want their patients seen expeditiously. Added benefit? Those patients are much more inclined to be satisfied with the referral, and thus the referring physician as well.
  • Reciprocity –- patients are referred in both directions
  • Personal relationships
  • Corporate enforcement keeping consultations within the network
  • Specialist willingness to do tests and procedures on request
  • Habit
  • Patient or family request

That last one is especially important to note, because those patients & family requesting a referral to a specific physician/practice aren’t picking the name out of the air. Maybe it’s because where they want to go is the ‘best’, or maybe it’s because that’s the physician that went on the news and talked about cardiology in a way that resonated with them. Maybe it’s because they did a simple google search for doctors treating their disease and saw one that stood out with superior online reviews and an overall solid presence.

 

Physician practices have been hurt so badly by negative online reviews that some have opted to open a lawsuit against the reviewer- often losing the battle, and gaining more negative press in the process.  Internet savvy patients with an ax to grind can wreak havoc by fraudulently claiming local listings, impersonating the practice online, or using the mechanics of search engine optimization to ensure that their negative opinion of the doctor is the top result when searching for that physician’s name.  Because HIPAA compliance ensures you can’t discuss details of the interaction with the patient in a public forum, fighting negative allegations is difficult if not impossible.

 

Why Do Bad Reviews Happen?

 

Why do bad reviews happen?  Because people are passionate about negative experiences, and are motivated by several fundamental desires:

  1. A need for vindication after being ‘wronged’
  2. The desire to warn others or be helpful
  3. To be heard and/or have the situation rectified
  4. The desire to validate other negative reviews, or ‘pile on’ to the popular sentiment bandwagon

To put it in perspective, ask yourself:  are you more likely to leave a review after having a normal, but pleasant experience at a restaurant… or after having a horrible experience?  Most people answering truthfully will agree that the horrible experience will prompt them to ‘take action’, so to speak.  That action, especially when presented with a scenario where they’re either uncomfortable with addressing the business in person, is usually a scathing, anonymous review.

 

Comprehensive data on how often patients leave reviews is sparse.  However, in general, we know that 6% of people write reviews online- those 6% influence the 90% of people who use online reviews to help make decisions. Of those 6% reviewing, you’ll likely see several that leave negative reviews- and, alarmingly, you’re more likely to remember those reviews.  There are physiological as well as psychological reasons that people are more apt to write or remember a negative review. An excerpt from the New York Time article “Praise is Fleeting, but Brickbats We Recall” on why people remember negative events more than positive ones:

 

Good vs Bad Online Review Statistics:

  • 2012 survey found that on average, a person will tell 24 people about a bad customer service experience they have – this is up 50% from 16 in a 2011 survey, and only set to increase with the pervasive nature of sharing on social sites & access to the internet.
  • More than 8 in 10 consumers have bailed on a purchase because of a poor service experience compared to 55% overall. This translates almost directly to patients avoiding a physician office as well, particularly due to the heightened emotions and importance placed on good healthcare.
  • It is estimated that good reviews can boost a business’s sales anywhere from 32 percent to 52 percent, according to the Harvard Business Review. So it stands to reason that a practice with poor reviews will in turn lose current customers, or fail to attract new ones.

 

Leana Wen, M.D., author of When Doctors Don’t Listen and director of patient-centered care research at George Washington University, says instances of excessive browbeating online could be avoided if physicians would take time to have a dialogue with their patients. “When doctors don’t pay attention, those review sites become the third party,” Dr. Wen says. “There’s a lack of focus in the medical educational system in communication. It’s common for a patient to feel disenfranchised, to not feel as though they know what’s going on with their own body.” According to Wen, around 80% of medical diagnoses come from simply talking to the patient. “It’s a partnership,” she says. “In many cases, the doctor has no idea the patient is this unhappy.”  Additionally, patients who had a mediocre or questionably negative experience seek that third-party validation, and when they find negative reviews, it’s a sort of “a-ha!” moment.  Those patients will feel MORE negative about their experience simply by reading other negative experiences, and are much more likely to add their own negative review.

 

I call this the Snowball Effect: There’s a point in any group where, after some individuals agree with the minority, the minority then turns into the majority. People feel much more comfortable expressing a negative opinion when they feel supported, bolstered, and part of a larger group of individuals expressing a similar negative opinion. The goal of reputation management is to mitigate or minimize the chances of negative reviews snowballing out of proportion. This is achieved by increasing positive reviews, essentially creating an environment where the patient who might feel poorly about their recent experience is more likely to consider it a fluke, rather than the norm, and less likely to report it.

 

Where Should Physicians Focus Their Efforts?

Where should a physician & practice focustheir efforts?  This is an ever changing target primarily based on internet user favor and online search visibility. When determining where you should focus your efforts, you need to consider the following:

 

  • Where are patients looking for physicians & reviews? (rateMds, Vitals, Healthgrades)
  • Which sites are ranking well within search results/ have high visibility? (Google+ local, Yelp)
  • On what high-visibility sites can you control the message? (Facebook, Google+, social channels)

 

Your local online visibility is tied to active reputation management. By managing your reviews and soliciting them to be placed on sites that rank well within searches for your niche, you will be improving your ranking within search engines like Google.  At PRM, our physician online reputation management focuses on driving reviews to Yelp & Google+ local map listings:  these sites readily show up in Google search results, as well as in map results when an individual searches verbally on their phone (think Siri and the iPhone).  Maintaining a positive “5 Stars” review profile on high-visibility sites if vital to attracting new patients online.

 

Potential patients & current patients often search by physician name after being referred or having recently seen that physician.  Websites like rateMDs, Vitals, & Healthgrades come up rather consistently when a search is made for a specific physician name.  Part of your online review strategy should focus on directing patients to leave some reviews there.

Websites like ZocDoc & Demandforce allow you to ‘control the message’ completely, by pushing reviews into their own system that allows you to reject negative reviews. While this sounds great (“I just won’t approve negative reviews!”), it’s a weak tactic. Those sites don’t rank very well in Google searches for most medical & dental niches, so they’re often not seen until AFTER the potential patient has had their first appointment and gotten into your marketing queue. You’re much better off pushing patients to review you on sites that have high visibility, or sites where you’re actively controlling the message- your social media sites like Facebook & Google+.

Physician and practices should consider contracting with a physician online reputation management company to implement a consistent review solicitation & social media management strategy. Since lecturing on this topic at a few hospitals, I’ve found that healthcare practitioners are left at a severe disadvantage in the offerings for managed online reputation services. Sites like Reputation.com are frequently cited as preying on dental & physician groups, charging obscene amounts to manage reviews and ‘remove negative reviews’- something a legitimate company can’t do, unless they’ve negotiated with the original poster (which, rest assured, Reputation.com does NOT). These groups that sign up with groups like that often end up in a position where they feel blackmailed to stay on with them, often being contacted with a sudden increase in negative online reviews after terminating services, and sometimes even after initially contacting them for a price quote. I urge physicians & dentists to read some of their reviews on RipoffReport before ever contacting them.

 

What Should Physicians Do? What Shouldn’t They Do?

What can physicians do to protect their brand & credibility?

  • Monitor the appropriate channels. Set up a Google alert (though this won’t catch everything) for you name, practice name, location, website, etc.  Can set to report ‘as it happens’; can also set to monitor specific websites where someone 
    • might be talking about you. Sign up for physician review sites before negative feedback has been left, if possible.
    • Get involved. There are very few cases where you don’t want to respond at all, most negative reviews can be slightly mitigated by responding and showing concern.  Be honest, be genuine, be helpful.  Steer the conversation off public forums when personal details are being divulged, or when things can easily be addressed.
    • Solicit positive feedback. Ask for good reviews, and provide the sites and directions for where & how to leave them.  Make it easy- a taken away sheet is good, email forms that link directly are great.
    • Curate your presence. Develop informational articles and share.  Take pictures of the office & staff to make your presence more ‘personal’.  Contribute to forums & conversations about applicable medical topics.  Show goodwill efforts in the community & online (example:  an “ask the doctor” post is showing online community goodwill)
    • Provide exceptional service. This includes the physician and the staff; always be thinking about the end goal of a happy patient- happy patients are more likely to return, refer, and recommend (review). Regular patient feedback surveys are fantastic tools, but ONLY if they are taken to heart when a pattern is identified.  Make sure office staff is versed in customer service, including appropriate answer times on phones, manners/bedside manner, interactions with patients (story: phone manners of oral surgeon office); consider customer service coaching programs when feedback is negative.

    Most of all, physician practices should understand that negative reviews happen even to the best businesses.  While you can’t please everyone, you can leverage those who are happy with their experience to offset those who will never be satisfied.

    An Opportunity for Growth:

    As awareness and use of physician review sites continues to increase, online reputation management for doctors has become vital. You can’t stop reviews from happening, so by embracing online reputation management as a crucial component of practice management, physicians can make it work for them.

    Physicians should see online reviews as an opportunity for growth:

    • The feedback of happy patients can encourage new/potential patients to select one physician over another; vital as patients are becoming more proactive in physician selection, even at specialist levels.
    • Curating your presence helps you draw the patients that you’ll enjoy working with; ie. Reviews and articles focused on treatment for diabetic neuropathy will help you attract those kinds of patients.
    • Increase online visibility & strengthen overall SEO and SEM efforts (search engine optimization and search engine marketing efforts). Review sites are becoming more visible as more people use them, and some factor into mobile search results in maps and through voice searching (yelp and Google+). These are crucial components of an overall online visibility strategy.
    • The negative feedback of patients allows you to address potential failings before they become routine or habitual. Analogy: it’s easier to correct a dog from jumping on your furniture when they first do it, rather than 10 years after sleeping on the sofa daily.  Bad staff members and practices are pervasive and can perpetuate even after the initial offender has been addressed.

    Right alongside your marketing and referral generation efforts, your online review management & solicitation is a pillar of your practice health & patient acquisition. Embrace the future by developing a strong online reputation today for a better practice tomorrow.

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Online ratings and reviews why they matter for doctors 

Online ratings and reviews why they matter for doctors  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

You listen to your patients in the office, but what about after they leave? Do you know what your patients say about you online? 

 

Consider the following situation and what you might do differently. 

 

A prospective patient, let’s call her Karen, has a nagging shoulder pain that keeps her up at night. She tosses and turns in her sleep, wondering what her doctor would say about the pain. Finally, after 3 weeks of sleepless nights, Karen goes her to primary physician to discuss her shoulder. Her primary doctor refers Karen to an orthopedic specialist. The doctor writes down a few names to call and sends her on her way. “Good luck!” he says. 

 

Karen immediately goes online to research the doctors referred by her primary physician. She types a name into Google. “Mark Anthony, MD,” let’s say. Within seconds, Karen sees where Dr. Anthony is located, his phone number, and a link to his website. As she searches a little more, Google also finds several reviews written about Dr. Anthony. 

 

Let’s stop here for a minute. Now, if you are Dr. Anthony, you might not even know these reviews exist. They are not on your website, they are Google. And, if Karen reads a bad review, chances are you won’t be the one to fix her shoulder. Is there a way to monitor your online reputation, you ask? You bet. 

Prospective patients google doctor names all the time and look for reviews. Gone are the days of simply taking your doctor’s referral without doing some checking first. No one is using an old-fashioned phone book either. Clearly, your online reputation can have an impact on your practice. 

 

So, how can you be sure that when someone googles you they don’t find incorrect or outdated information, or worse, a bad review?  

 

As a leader in medical website design, iHealthSpot can include a special feature on your website that gives you a bird’s eye view of your online presence. This tool is packed with everything you need to know what your customers say, generate positive reviews, manage negative reviews, and more. All in real time. 

Managing your online ratings and patient reviews also send a message to patients that tell them you are listening. You hear what they say and appreciate their valuable feedback.

With your online reputation in check, prospective patients like Karen will have confidence in your business, and they are more likely to book an appointment (and post a positive review afterward!).

 

Try googling yourself and your practice. If you don’t like what you find, your next call should be iHealthSpot for online reputation management help. 

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Reputation Management for Doctors in 3 Easy Steps

Reputation Management for Doctors in 3 Easy Steps | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Doctors, practices, and their staff all have a brand. And like any brand, it must be protected.

 

I’ve spent years helping struggling doctors grow revenue and find more time in their day, and I’ve discovered that when you have a strong brand, patients engage more, and they’re willing to invest with less analysis, cynicism, and caution.

 

Think of strong brands such as Nike, Apple, and Coca-Cola. Branding is more about the perception of excellence than about the perception of a good deal.

 

That’s the perception you want for your practice. And that’s why you need a strong brand.

 

Negative press will instantly and immeasurably harm a brand. To avoid this, doctors should consider reputation management to help protect their brand.

 

Here, we’ll take a look at what that means for you and how you can get started protecting your brand in three easy steps.

What is reputation management?

Reputation management means knowing what’s being said about you and taking a proactive response to enter the conversation constructively.

But how do you know what people are saying?

Patients and prospective patients primarily use online search results, review sites, and social media to evaluate and find new doctors.

According to a Software Advice survey:

  • Eighty-four percent of patient respondents use online reviews to evaluate physicians
  • For 77% of respondents, reading online reviews is the first step taken when searching for a new doctor
  • Favorable reviews would motivate 47% of respondents to choose an out-of-network doctor with similar qualifications over one with less favorable reviews

In addition to the myriad reviews websites out there, there are also forums, Twitter, and Facebook where people may be talking about you, your staff, and your practice.

Is reputation management worth the effort?

Regularly monitoring your web results may seem like a daunting task.

After all, according to a 2012 article in the Annals of Family Medicine, the average primary care physician has about 2,300 patients under their care at any one time. And they’re all online.

But—think about Amazon. How many products have you not bought because of negative reviews? This applies to your world as well.

How do I begin?

So, how can you develop a system to help ensure that patients speak well about your practice online and thereby help ensure you maintain a steady stream of new patients?

Here are three simple steps you can take:

1. Act right offline

When a patient has a wonderful experience, they will tell the world about it.

Likewise, when a patient has a bad experience, they will tell the world about it.

The key to having a good reputation online is not giving patients much to complain about, but also giving them plenty to rave about. Offer patients a good experience, and they’ll reward you with a positive reputation and help you build a strong brand.

Ensure you and your staff create a positive patient experience from their appointment’s beginning to its end. Here are five ways you can ensure a good patient experience:

(For more details, check out “The Best Doctors Enhance Their Patient Care With These 3 Tips.”)

1. Acknowledge the patient. Always greet patients with a smile, a hello, and their name when possible. Have a staff member take patients where they’re going, instead of pointing or giving directions.

2. Introduce yourself. A little camaraderie and pleasantry makes a huge difference.

3. Give the patient an estimate. Tell patients how long it will be until the doctor sees them.

4. Explain the procedures. Give patients as much information as you can, as soon as you can, including:

  • What you’re going to do
  • What you’re hoping to learn
  • What outcomes you’re expecting/hoping for
  • What the potential resolutions include

5. Say “thank you.” Always end a patient visit with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.

2. Act right online

Today, what you or your staff say to patients can live forever online, for everyone to see. Prospective and existing patients continually document the good, the bad, and the ugly online.

If you don’t already, begin to scrutinize what you and staff say online. According to Software Advice, 60% of respondents say they feel that it is “very” or “moderately important” that doctors take time to respond to online reviews.

But while it’s important to respond, it’s more important to respond correctly. Never get into arguments with any prospective, current, or former patients online. What you say will live in perpetuity, and you will live to regret it.

Instead, when someone has a complaint online, follow these steps:

  1. Acknowledge their pain.
  2. Apologize that they had this experience. Even if it’s not your fault, show compassion and care.
  3. Explain what you’re going to do differently, or are already doing differently, to prevent this pain in the future.

3. Be proactive

Proactively conduct an online search of your name and your practice’s name weekly.

If you don’t have the ability to do this, then designate someone on your staff to do it for you. You should be checking the following places to keep track of your digital reputation:

  • Search engine results. Use a variety of keywords such as your name or your practice name, or even your last name and the city and state where you live.
  • Local directory listings. Find out which local directories your competitors are listed on that you aren’t by Googling their names. Check out this site for a list of free online directories.
  • Social media. Register profiles for your practice on each social media site that you know your patients use. These include but are not limited to Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram. Monitor your pages and profiles daily or weekly for mentions, comments, and direct messages.
  • Physician rating and review sites. There are a plethora of review sites today, including Yelp, Healthgrades, and ZocDoc, where people can leave reviews about your practice. You should visit these sites on a weekly basis to get a better idea of what patients are saying.

Conclusions

What many doctors fail to realize is that their name and their practice is also a brand. A strong brand creates emotional appeal, and many patients book appointments based more on brand impression than price or outcome data.

Reputation management, when handled appropriately, could potentially increase pipeline flow, decrease obstacles to prospective patient entry, and increase your revenue.

Think of reputation management like planting a tree and then ensuring that it has a strong root structure. It will aid your reputation and root your future revenue.

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Jammal Jones's curator insight, April 24, 10:45 AM

In addition to proctecting their medical practice, doctors need to protect their online image as well! 

 

Sanjana Singh's comment, April 30, 7:21 AM
Great post. I have suggested your post to one of my doctor friends to read for online reputation tips. I also cam e across another useful blog post on the similar topic on Techmagnate blog http://www.techmagnate.com/blog/how-manage-business-online-reputation/ Other doctors can also refer to it
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Five Ways to Improve Online Reviews Ethically 

Five Ways to Improve Online Reviews Ethically  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Be good to your patients and they’ll be good to you

In this edition of “The Wired Practice,” Ron Harman King of Vanguard Communications explains that both current and potential patients can form impressions about your practice from what they see in online reviews and provides suggestions on how to improve those first web-based impressions.

Video transcript

For all the debate about online patient reviews of doctors and whether they’re a good thing or bad thing, I ask, what physician doesn’t want patients’ praise on the internet? It’s only human to want to be acknowledged and thanked for good work, and the last time I checked, doctors were still classified as homo sapiens. Warm feelings aside, an old adage is that one happy customer can generate at least three new customers by word of mouth. Healthcare is no different. Patients are customers, too, and there is no medical practice that should avoid happy customers cheerleading for them on rate-your-doctor websites.

But is it unethical for a physician or practice to take an active involvement in improving online reviews? I say absolutely not, as long as it’s done within certain guidelines:

Don’t ask your mom to review your practice online

First, ask only real patients to post reviews. It’s disheartening to see medical groups resorting to the not altogether uncommon practice of review stuffing. By this, I mean the act of asking office staff, friends and even family to pose as patients online. Fake reviews are often easy to spot. They typically are long on adjectives and short on facts. The faux reviewer commonly says very little about her medical condition or the events of her doctor’s appointment. Instead she waxes on and on about her doctor’s greatness without evidence to support her opinion. Instead, the real goal should be to encourage happy patients to tell the truth in the right place.

Bribery is never a good idea

Second, be careful about how to ask for reviews. Don’t pressure or incentivize patients. For example, I advise against offering gift cards as a motivation. Bad idea. Such an act doesn’t pass the smell test and also jeopardizes the delicate physician-patient relationship. The best approach is simply to have providers AND staff ask patients who have ALREADY expressed thanks for their treatment to post the same sentiments online. Not all will comply, of course. But if you and your staff ask enough, you’ll get adequate response. And it doesn’t take many responses to tip the balance and dramatically improve online ratings.

Open your ears to complaints so you can address them

Third, offer patients constant feedback opportunities. Please, I ask you to listen carefully to this important proclamation: You WANT to hear from unhappy patients BEFORE they go public in hopes of resolving their grievances privately. It also gives your practice a chance to remedy broader problems that other patients may be experiencing. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of reputation. Make it easy for patients to compliment and complain. To an irritated patient, nothing’s more aggravating than having to answer a 12-page questionnaire just so she can get to HER one beef. Instead, my firm suggests placing a tablet computer at your check-out station for departing patients to complete an online satisfaction survey. Or staff can also distribute cards with web addresses for the survey and/or send post-appointment emails with links to the survey.

Respond to poor reviews head-on

Fourth, in the spirit of playing fairly, answer critical reviews publicly. To do this, you or a designee will have to do what’s called “claiming” your online identity on the review websites. For instructions, look for a button or link on each site and follow the prompts. And keep in mind that responses to online complaints don’t have to come from physicians but from someone in the practice. Regardless, answering harsh comments are less for the online critic individually and more for others reading the complainer’s review. Your first priority is to appear to everyone as open minded and open eared. Now, this gets a little tricky. For privacy reasons, take care to avoid any discussion of a single patient’s case or health conditions in your public responses. Avoid even any suggestion confirming the critic is a patient.

Instead, focus on three points: you’ve heard and welcome the input, the complainer’s described experience is generally not what your practice strives for, and you’d like the complainer to privately contact the practice in hopes of resolving the complaint. Note also that some rate-your-doctor websites permit you to respond privately to reviews, allowing you to discuss the situation more candidly. Whatever you do, do not get into an electronic spat with the complainer.

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

Focus on top level customer service at your practice

Finally and most important, make sure your provider group delivers top-of-class customer service. I often take heat for saying this, but the harsh reality is that in the public mind, medicine is becoming a retail service – patients compare their experiences and level of service at doctors’ offices to that at restaurants, hotels, stores, automotive dealers, and resorts. It’s just plain inescapable. And years of experience and social media research at Vanguard finds repeatedly that medical practices with the worst service regularly get the worst online reviews. Be good to your patients in your offices and they will be good to you online.

One more note: Of course, some patients are simply beyond any reason and logic. As unfair as their protests may be, practices still should deal with them. From time to time, when you can present supporting documentation, you MAY be able to persuade a website publisher to remove egregiously untrue airings. But for the vast majority of cases, following these five guidelines should reap great rewards in reputation building.

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How To Build Strong Online Presence Of Your Practice?

How To Build Strong Online Presence Of Your Practice? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The ever-growing number of practitioners can make it difficult for you to stand out and make your practice visible in the local market. Thus you cannot just rely on the word-of-mouth marketing, but create a stronger online presence. Let’s check ways to strengthen online presence of your practice.

Online Branding

To let others know about your practice, you need to brand it. You need to manage your online reputation that is majorly influenced by online reviews. Various online review sites allow consumers to express their good and bad experience and numerous people visit these sites before planning a physical visit to your practice. This makes it imperative for you to build a positive online reputation and manage it.

Proactively managing reviews help you maintain your brand’s reputation online. You can easily deal with bad reviews and let your patients know what more you can offer. For a consistent branding and management of reputation, you need to regularly check reviews of various platforms along with an informative website and active participation on social media sites.

Patient volume

Your patient base can increase or decrease anytime if not monitored regularly. Before it’s too late, you need to regularly check if the number is dropping. The decrease in patient count could be because of many reasons such as new competitors coming in the market, lower referrals, change in insurance cover, etc. So, it is important to take initiatives to grow your patient base every day and deal with such situations.

Better online presence will help you stay updated with changes in insurance and winning over your competitors. Also, you can build new online referrals via emails, social media accounts, etc.  Since the world of internet is becoming a part of everyone’s life, it is necessary to get a strong hold over it and build your brand here.

Target audience

You aim should not be just getting more patients to your practice but the right patients who are looking for your specialties. This will also help you get better reviews. Any patient coming to your practice who is in need of some other care and not getting satisfactory treatment is likely to write a negative review about you online. To save yourself from such mishaps, it is better you state a clear description of yourself and your practice on your website. The searchers can know if your practice can benefit them or not and your expertise. That makes it important for you to have an informative content on your website and build trust with patients. Such a skimming can also be done even during appointment scheduling.

Patient portal

Yet another important factor that helps you enhance your online image is the presence of patient portal on practice website. It helps you maintain health records of your patients. It allows patients to monitor their medications, medical history, book appointments, lab test reports or email queries if any.

An effective marketing strategy is a must to save your practice from saturation. Nothing can happen overnight. For strong marketing, you should take help of an agency that has an experience in such as medical marketing such as myPracticeReputation. We offer reputation management and other services depending on your practice.

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How to Remove Negative Search Results 

How to Remove Negative Search Results  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

One of the most harmful things that can happen to your reputation is a negative search result on the first page of Google. This could be a poor or unflattering review, a negative news story, or an article that paints you or your business in an unfavorable light. Whatever it is, if you don’t manage it properly, it can lead to detrimental effects like loss of business, clients, loyal constituents and votes — your legacy and the good name you’ve built your entire career.

 

When you first notice the negative search result, it’s best if you don’t immediately react by leaving a comment or reaching out to the site owner in anger, all of which can make the situation worse. You also may not be able to contact Google — search engines don’t really work like that. But there is plenty that you can do. Read on to learn how to remove negative search results from Google.

Removing Content from the Internet

The most direct and permanent way to remove a bad search result from Google is to completely remove it from the Internet. Eradicating the content means Google no longer has the negative result to display, and anyone who searches for your name won’t be able to find it. However, getting content removed from the Internet is far easier said than done.

Links on the Internet will fall under one of two categories: websites or profiles you own and control, and those that you don’t. Obviously, it’s much easier to remove links that you own — but chances are, if it’s a negative link, you don’t own it anyway. We’ll assume that any domains or websites you own are working to support positive search results for you or your business, as issues with your own website may point to bigger problems than a negative search result.

Removing Content That You Own

For profiles that you own, such as a Yelp business page or social media profile, you can do what you can to edit your profile and improve the information so that it portrays you or your business in a more positive light. Fill out the profile completely and truthfully with interesting, positive information, such as business or campaign updates. If you don’t think you can salvage the profile, it may be possible to completely delete the account and remove your presence from the site.

Still, this approach is not without risk. Read the fine print: some websites may allow you to remove your business account, but the reviews will still remain. And that means you’ve lost control of your account and will be cut off from adding more positive reviews in the future.
For this situation, it may be better to simply maintain the account and commit to working on earning great reviews.

Removing Content You Don’t Own

Chances are good that if you’re dealing with a negative search result, it’s not on a page or website that you control. This means you’ll need to enlist professional counsel for help in getting negative content removed. This is the most effective approach, as removing a page completely from the Internet is better than removing it from Google or burying it under other search results.

First, you can try contacting the website owner by email, but do so under professional advisement to ensure you don’t cause any additional harm. Whatever your approach, be polite and personal. It’s also important to understand that you may be completely ignored: website owners may not be sympathetic, or not even see your email at all.

Getting Help from Google and Legal Authorities

For certain cases of sensitive or false information, you can get help from Google and legal authorities.

Google’s policy allows for the removal of certain sensitive information, including financial information or identification numbers that may put you at risk for identity theft or financial fraud. Google also removes or hides certain offensive images and videos. You may also be able to have Google remove content that violates the law from search results.

If you have information that falls under Google’s removal policies, it’s a good idea to reach out to the search engine for help, again under professional counsel. However, keep in mind that removing the content from Google is not the same thing as removing it from the Internet: the page will still exist, and the link can still be shared.

You may also want to look into online defamation laws or laws that protect certain segments of the population. However, keep in mind that a lawsuit or legal action may only serve to draw more attention to the link that you’d like to get rid of, or generate new negative content about the same topic.

The Internet Never Forgets

Throughout your removal process, keep in mind that the Internet, in many ways, “never forgets.” In other words, if the page has existed on Google, there’s a good chance it’s been archived on the Wayback Machine, or cached by the search engine. Even if you’ve had it removed, content never really leaves the Internet. Still, only the most persistent searcher is likely to look that deeply to find information about you or your business, so if you’re able to have the page removed from the Internet or the search results, it’s likely sufficient in terms of protecting your online reputation

Burying Negative Search Results on Google

In order to eradicate negative content from the Internet or Google search results, it must be extremely sensitive or slanderous information, or the website owner happens to be accessible and willing to help, which is unlikely if they published it in the first place. It’s nearly impossible to get content removed completely.

Moving negative content deep in the search results is another possibility, which will significantly reduce its visibility and impact on your reputation.

Why First Impressions Matter on Google

Statistics have shown that the vast majority (over 95% in some cases) of Internet users don’t bother scrolling past the first page of search results. What’s more, the first five search results get over 75% of the clicks.

This is why negative search results that appear on the top of the first page are the most detrimental. If you can move it past where most people are known to look, you can minimize the impact of negative content.

Burying Negative Search Results with Fresh, Positive Content

The main concept behind burying negative search results is to create authoritative content that’s good enough to outrank them, which is best done under the advisement of a professional team. The following are common methods for outranking bad results with positive results:

Set up social profiles: Social media profiles often rank very well on search engine results. Having your personal or business name on social media is an easy way to win one of the top spots on Google. Be sure to get on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn at a minimum. Consult with your reputation management firm about other resources and profiles you should be setting up that make sense for your industry (i.e., local resources, government sites, university domains, etc.)

Maintain active accounts: Typically, the more profiles you can set up, the better. But it’s best to only sign up for as many social media profiles as you can reasonably maintain: active profiles are better than dormant ones for your general positive reputation. Acquire plenty engaged followers and connections, and genuinely build a community on your social profiles. Participate in the network to make your profile stronger.

Own your domain: Register domain names that match your name and business and their variations, as exact keyword phrases will do best on Google. If that’s not available, get as close to it as you can. Add fresh, unique content on a regular basis.
Start a blog: Start and maintain a professional blog on your domains. Blogs provide an efficient way to give Google the fresh content it values. Where possible, create and share multimedia content on your blog (and your social channels), as Google has been known to cater to this type of content.

Optimize your content: Search engine optimization (SEO) makes your content search engine friendly, and is something a reputation management team has expertise in. If you don’t yet have a team, you can learn more about SEO in Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.

Be an expert: Show your industry expertise and get rewarded with a high ranking search result by writing an article for an authoritative news site or industry blog. These websites usually earn top placement in search results. If you can get your name on their website with a great article, you’ll likely be able to take over a coveted spot in the results and build your online reputation.
Write a press release: Have your PR team write about newsworthy things that are happening for your business or other high-profile ventures.

Use your real name — everywhere: It’s a good idea to use your real, full name on all of the websites you’re using – including blogs and social profiles. Just keep in mind that you should always be on your best behavior online.
Link and share: One way Google knows that certain pages or websites are more important or relevant than others is by the number of links that point to them. To ensure you avoid dangerous link schemes or black hat tactics, leave this to your SEO and/or reputation management team.

Monitor for new results: Maintaining your reputation is long term strategy. Enlist the help of a team that offers 24/7 monitoring and consultation.

It Takes Time – Start Now!

Any effort you can make in this area of reputation management is worth it, as Google search results for your name are one of the first places anyone will look when researching you online and making any kind of investment decision. Protect your reputation and work to own your search results today.

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Health Online Reputation Management Trends 2018

Health Online Reputation Management Trends 2018 | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

We are in the last month of 2017 and its time to think about the year 2018 and what it has in store for us. The evolving healthcare industry and digital marketing are also expected to carry this year’s trend and focus on many new things. The major booster for a successful practice will be online reputation. To stay ahead of your competition, you need to learn how to manage your practice’s online reputation. It is not just limited to reviews but management of your overall online presence. Check put below-stated strategies for easy success in the coming year 2018.

Practice website in 2018

Your website is the first and most trusted communication platform between you and your patients. As digital marketing is growing exponentially, it is imperative to have a stunning website for your practice in 2018. Your practice website needs to be

  • Responsive: Engagement is a real-time necessity. A non-responsive can hit your online presence and traffic website due to Google’s algorithm shifts. Your website should not just throw information on searchers rather promote conversation content with a patient portal, FAQ/comment section.
  • Mobile: In early 2018, Google is expected to launch mobile algorithm. So, your website should function flawlessly on mobile devices.
  • Faster loading: Whether on web or mobile, your website needs to load the pages faster. Slow loading is a disappointment for visitors, especially the millennials, thereby hurting your online reputation.
  • Mobile app: According to a study more than 61% people have downloaded mHealth apps. You can imagine the rise in number in the coming year. So, get a mobile health app for your practice.

The average viewer is expected to watch 36 minutes of online video per day on a mobile device, as opposed to 19 minutes on a computer. Source: Recode

Healthcare content marketing in 2018

Patients are becoming keen researchers where content plays the most important role in educating them about you and your practice. To flood with patients, invest in content

  • Diverse: Nobody like monotony especially when there is some informative and serious stuff to learn. Also, 2018 has a lot in store for content marketing, so your website should showcase different forms of content for higher engagement. Make use of blogs with pictures, infographics, or podcasts.
  • Video: Today, video is becoming the most liked form of content. Instead of reading a 2000 word blog, patients prefer watching an explanatory video of 2 minutes. Create videos on treatment, causes, and treatment of diseases, or testimonial videos.
  • Transparency: Your target audience, especially millennials are progressive ones who quench with authentic and transparent data. To win the competition in healthcare marketing, your patient should never consider you dishonest else your practice is to suffer a downfall.
  • Wide scope: Content is not limited to your practice blogs. You need to write effective and engaging content for your social media posts, emails, and paid advertisement, etc.

Content is the influences a patients journey from searching you online to planning a visit to your practice. It builds a relationship that leads to the creation of strong online reputation.

Healthcare SEO in 2018

For any of your web activity to reach masses or to get yourself ranked high in Google search you need to have amazing SEO. 2018 you will witness more patients searching healthcare services online, that requires you to optimize your website, blogs and other activities online.

  • SERP: In 2018, you cannot rely only on organic ranking. SERP features are expected to steal clicks from organic listings and searchers’ attention. So, track your ranking and check for SERP analysis.
  • Voice search: This technology is growing rapidly. 20% of searches are voice searches. This gives rise to the need for long-tail keywords and a natural language to communicate better with patients.
  • Backlink: Quality backlinks is what that will offer valuable consumer experience thereby declaring your practice trustworthy. In 2018 as well, inbound links will remain one of the most powerful ranking factors. This also means you need to stay extra conscious when doing guest posting as Google will have an eye on all your links.
  • User experience: According to Google, in 2018, the user experience will be rated higher than ever. This will increase engagement of patients over a page, helping search engine identify the most useful page for searchers.

Social media presence in 2018

The enormous popularity and necessity of social media in our lives does not need any explanation. More than 30% healthcare professionals have already joined social media platforms. So,

  • Grow presence: For better online reputation you need to have a strong online presence. So, you need to be present on popular social media sites, especially the ones created for doctors and medical practitioners.
  • Post pattern: An account left in idle state will not attract your target audience. It is not necessary to post something every day but in a regular pattern. It is mandatory to collect insights on peak engagement times on various social media platforms for your posts to get maximum views. You should create a calendar for posts and plan your weekly or monthly activities for every account.

Patient review management in 2018

Online reputation is directly dependent on the reviews you receive on various platforms. The reviews you receive are influenced by the above-mentioned pointers in addition to the services offered at your practice.

  • Current online reputation: First and foremost thing is to evaluate your present online reputation by Googling yourself. You should be aware of what’s being said about you and your practice on the Internet. You need to proactively monitor your online reputation on a daily basis.
  • Every patient is a reviewer: You need to understand that in the world of the Internet, people don’t hesitate to share their happiness or anger over a service or product. So, treat your existing or potential patients with utmost respect and care to make their visit to your practice memorable. Subsequently, you are likely to get bestowed with some positive reviews.
  • Request feedback: Positive online reviews are must for strengthening your online reputation. If you are unable to receive the desired number of positive feedback, request your happy patients to write for your practice. Ask them to leave a review about their experience to your practice and treatment.
  • No fake reviews: Say no to fake reviews. Just to improve your online reputation, writing fake reviews on a website can instead ruin your practice reputation. When scanning reviews, a site can remove or report review spam if the post seems unauthentic to the website.
  • Reply to reviews: Never ignore a review. Whether positive or negative, reply the review. Thank the reviewer for taking out time and writing for your practice online. Replying to negative review doesn’t mean arguing with a patient on the Internet. You should never sound unprofessional. Be courteous and take care of patient confidentiality laws. Try to take the discussion offline or promise betterment. Also, promote the positive reviews on your website.
  • Know about your competitors: Reputation management is not restricted to managing your profile, instead of researching the competition to know the trends and things that impact other patients. You need to know the reasons behind success and failure of your competition to improve your practice reputation.

Remember online reputation is a marathon, not a sprint. You cannot win this race in a day but following the above-mentioned will act as a nitro booster for your vehicle driving to establish strong health online reputation. Here are some quick tips to remember in this online journey or establishing positive online presence:

  • Invest more in paid advertisement
  • Transparency related to content on your website, services offered at practice and reviews.
  • Train your staff for better consumer experience.
  • Showcase your thought leader personality to grow trust of patients in your practice.
  • Don’t mix your private and professional life
  • Register your name as domain name for better SEO results
  • Remember to claim your Google Business Listing
  • Take help of professionals. Feel free to contact myPracticeReputation anytime for reputation management of your practice.
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How Online Reputation Management Helps Your Practice Growth 

How Online Reputation Management Helps Your Practice Growth  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The first month of a new year is all about creating new strategies for your practice in 2018. From an informative website to strengthening your presence on a social media platform that allows your target audience search you on Google or other search engines. In addition to SEO, it’s the practice reviews that are floating everywhere on the Google and establishing your online reputation. Today, in the world of the Internet, your practice’s growth is at the stake of your online reputation, so you need to get your practice displayed in the most pristine way.

 

Online reputation acts as the decision-influencer of a patient’s journey. 90% people say their decisions were influenced by the positive reviews. The Internet world affects purchase decisions of around 85% of consumers.

 

Online reputation management might seem to be a daunting task because of the numerous review sites and the active, positive or negative response of patients on your practice. And you just can’t ignore them. Let’s check the benefits of strong online reputation.

Building trust

Since online reputation is considered as a personal recommendation by many, it results in building the higher trust of patients in your practice. The number of positive reviews you have is directly proportional to the number of followers you get on your practice. Irrespective of the size of your practice, people want to know about your services before making a physical visit to your clinic. People wholeheartedly trust positive reviews.

Growing profitability

Profitability and trust go hand-in-hand. When a patient, searches online for a treatment offered by your practice and comes across your competitor who ranks higher on various review sites, then you are likely to lose them. So, aim to get a number of positive reviews on all review platforms. People read not more than 10 reviews before visiting a practice.

To maintain the reputation of your practice you are required to deal with conflicts, i.e. responding to negative reviews. Replying to negative feedback should be in real-time to show your concern for your patients but with a calm mind. This act is admired by reviewers and can convert the disappointed patients into happy ones. For effective relationship building, you should learn how to respond to negative feedbacks. This builds your online reputation. The leads and revenue of your practice are directly impacted by the way people perceive your practice.

Some other direct and indirect benefits of online reputation management

– Strong reputation creates a great impression of your practice for existing and new patients. This way you can identify the key touch points for your patients and build sustainable relationships.

– With effective online reputation management strategy, you can showcase the services offered by your practice and how you are better than your competitors.

– You can even win over your cold visitors and turn them into your patients with your good online reputation that will grow their trust in your services.

– With the help of good online reputation, you can display your thought leader personality to the world and influence them. This is an effective way to leverage your image over the competitors and grow your practice exponentially as you end up having free media coverage.

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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.
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Five Online Reputation Management Strategies for Physicians 

Five Online Reputation Management Strategies for Physicians  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Just how important is a physician's online reputation?

 

Many healthcare executives are opening their eyes to the new ways prospective patients are searching for physicians. Almost half of consumers surveyed in 2014 believe reputation is the leading factor when selecting a doctor or a dentist. It is likely those numbers will continue to rise.

 

As more and more information about physicians becomes available online and big digital health companies compete to list doctors, consumers will gravitate to the most information-rich channel. So how can a busy doctor navigate the waters of online reputation, while focusing on providing top quality care to patients?

 

Here are five online reputation management strategies that are yielding results for successful physicians.

 

Embrace online ratings and reviews

While many physicians aren't fans of online reviews, these websites are here to stay. That's because more and more consumers are heading to ratings sites to compare healthcare providers and post reviews about their experiences.

 

A 2014 survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that of consumers who parsed through online reviews, 35 percent of respondents would select a physician based on positive reviews, while 37 percent avoided doctors with negative reviews.

 

Consumers use both healthcare-specific ratings sites — think Healthgrades and RateMD's —and general consumer sites like Yelp and CitySearch. The best way to catch a consumer’s eye online is to have a large volume of positive reviews across multiple ratings sites.

So how do you get more reviews?

 

Ask patients to rate you

Now that you've seen the power of ratings sites in affecting online reputation, how can you get more reviews? Just ask.

 

If you're not sure how to ask patients to rate you, here are a few suggestions:

• Hand a card to the patient with the urls listed for key consumer ratings sites and ask them to rate you

• Add a clickable link for key sites to your email signature and website.

• Send patients a snail mail letter with urls of popular ratings sites.

• Keep a tablet at the front desk and ask patients to post a review before leaving your office.

• Send an email request using your auto-responder.

• Create a short video with step-by-step instructions.

Try out multiple strategies to gauge those that work best for your practice, and then focus on the most important thing. Consistency. That means finding a way to ask every patient to rate you online.

You want to see new reviews every week if possible, building up your total volume, and diluting the strength of negative comments.

 

Take full advantage of online profiles

Another way to beef up your reputation is by completing online profiles on sites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, and RateMDs. As many patients search for physicians by name, you'll want a mix of different types of search results, including content you provide.

One site many physicians are using is called Doximity, sometimes billed as the LinkedIn for doctors. This is a physician to physician site that can be useful in building relationships with referring doctors.  Consumer sites, such as Vitals, allow you to claim your professional profile and add information about education, specialties, and expertise.

 

Don't ignore angry patients

The first rule is treat every patient well. However, sometimes service may not be up to the patient’s standard. Or a patient or family member is simply unhappy with some aspect of treatment. Like any business, you won't please everyone.

But consider how you'll respond when a patient posts a negative or angry review.

 

You don't want to discuss any aspect of a patient's case in online statements, leading to potential HIPAA violations. This means you can't answer someone posting anonymously, but depending on the severity of the negative comment, you may or may not want to respond directly.

 

Some online review sites — RateMD's is one — allow you to respond to a negative review. Crafting a response acknowledging a problem can show prospective patients that you are serious about providing a positive experience.

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4 Things to Know about Online Reputation Management

4 Things to Know about Online Reputation Management | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

There has never been a time with greater consumer engagement than right now, especially with the far-reaching capabilities of smartphones. However, with consumers’ ability to share positive ratings and experience also comes their freedom to post the negative about your reputation. While businesses in the obvious industries—such as hospitality and retail—are subject to such reviews, so, too, are healthcare practices. In fact, a survey by Software Advice, a tech research firm, found that 62% of those surveyed use online reviews as a first step to find a new doctor, 19% use online reviews to evaluate an existing doctor, and 44% would consider an out-of-network doctor if their reviews were better than in-network doctors.

 

How can healthcare practices ensure they land on the winning side of the equation? That’s where online reputation management comes in.

 

  • What is online reputation management? It’s controlling what potential or current consumers see when they Google your name. It helps to stop, fix and prevent PR disasters while protecting and promoting your brand. Think your practice can’t be affected by bad press? A study by Outbound Engine found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. It’s important to make sure you’re getting a good recommendation.

 

  • What does Google say about you? Research your practice as though you’re a consumer to get an idea of your current online reputation. Remember: 93% of searchers don’t go past the first page and will use the first 10 results to form an impression. Is your reputation:
    • Negative: By far the worst category for a practice to be in. This means you have one or more negative search results tarnishing your reputation. These can be from official rating sites (like Yelp or Healthgrades), blogs, Twitter accounts or any number of other social channels.
    • Irrelevant: These results don’t hurt you, but they don’t help you either. You may not be losing potential patients who are researching, but you won’t win their business either.
    • Wrong: There may be other practices with the same name that are more relevant to online searches than you. Aside from consumers not finding information about your practice, they may read negative things about this other practice and attribute them to yours.
    • Positive and relevant: Your search results are full of positive content, and your brand is well-represented. This is ideal but still requires maintenance to continue.

 

  • Why are Facebook “likes” important to a healthcare practice? The omnipresence of social media platforms has made them one of the fastest growing referral sources for businesses of all sizes and types. According to a study by The Spark Report, 41% said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor. Your social media presence should serve as a testament to why patients trust you and also display the human face of your operation. You should configure Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles for your practice locations, and upload images and key information. It is also important to respond to social media posts (publicly or privately, depending on the post), as well as resolve any issues or complaints expediently and in accordance with best practices.

 

  • How do you get positive reviews? People will be reading your reviews for proof of a strong, positive reputation. They want to see authentic and authoritative reviews that appear regularly and across a range of sites before they feel confident in your practice. Negative reviews on sites like RateMDs.com, Vitals.com and Yelp.com can hurt your online reputation and the success of your business. It’s imperative your information on these sites is correct and current; create and populate profiles for the sites your practice is not on, and seize opportunities to remove or respond to negative reviews without breaching doctor-patient confidentiality.

 

A successful online reputation management program needs to be multifaceted and include elements of social media, search engine optimization and owned, earned and paid media. It’s important to understand how these things impact your online reputation and use them properly—before a problem arises—because despite the amount of time and resources required to build a positive reputation, it takes considerably more to repair a negative reputation.

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How the Internet Affects Doctor's Reputations 

How the Internet Affects Doctor's Reputations  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Running any kind of business involves a certain amount of public relations work – and most doctors, lawyers, and small business owners don’t have PR teams on staff. When it comes to the medical profession, the importance of a good image is doubled. Reputation management for doctors isn’t an easy task, but it’s an important one for physicians to understand.

How the Internet Affects Doctors’ Reputations

We live in an age in which everything is public. Unfortunately, that “everything” includes negative information as well.

There are a lot of things that can happen to medical professionals that can negatively impact their reputation. Many of these things are very easy for competitors, disgruntled patients, or others to make public. Here are some examples:

  • Negative patient reviews
  • Court cases
  • Medical licensing issues.

Even if none of these has happened to you, one of them very easily could. Also, you’d likely be surprised if you sought out your online reviews.

Even the best physicians occasionally have negative reviews. These reviews can damage the business side of your practice before you’re even aware of them. Many of your patients and potential patients probably

 

That’s why one of the most important aspects of reputation management for doctors is knowing how to check on your own medical reputation online. Forearming yourself with knowledge is the surest way to fix any reputation problems. This includes both problems that you have now and those that may develop in the future.

How to Check Your Reputation as a Doctor Online

Plenty of consumers know how to do research on you – it’s practically public knowledge. You need to know how to do so too.

There’s a simple way, of course: simply running a Google search on your own name. That may actually get you pretty far. However, there’s a lot more you need to do to get a true sense of your online reputation.

How to Deepen and Widen Your Online Reputation Search
  • Don’t just search for yourself on Google, but on Yahoo and Bing as well.

Google is the most popular search engine, but your patients and potential patients probably use all three to a certain extent.

  • Use a wider variety of specific search terms.

Instead of searching for your name or the name of your practice, try searching for things like “[Your Name] Medical License,” “[Your Practice Name] Reviews,” or “Should I go to [Your Name]?”

The more specific your search terms, the more specific your results. You can bet your patients are asking Google and the other search engines these types of questions. Why aren’t you?

  • Search for yourself or your practice on consumer review sites such as Yelp!
  • Try searching for reviews by patients you know may be creating negative content associated with your name or your practice.
  • Look online for information on court cases you’ve been involved in, or other specifics that could drastically affect your online reputation.

It’s important to be very honest with yourself here about anything that could result in your medical reputation getting dented.

Search for anything you can think of that could negatively impact your public image. Even personal problems not related to your practice can sometimes spill over into your professional life.

Proactive Reputation Management for Doctors

Congratulations! By completing a fairly wide and deep search for information on your public reputation, you’ve already taken a big step towards better reputation management.

However, reputation management for doctors involves a good deal more than simply knowing what’s out there. To keep your reputation spotless and your patients coming in, you also need to consider some of the following:

  1. How often you should check up on your online reputation.
  2. The amount of positive information about you online.
  3. How to run deeper online reputation searches.

Let’s look at these in order.

How Often to Check Your Online Reputation

The first step to maintaining a positive reputation is frequently checking on that reputation. You can’t fix problems you haven’t seen. Also, reputation problems tend to fester and grow the longer they’re left alone. Seeing a bad review can make another patient more likely to post one, for example.

As such, it’s important to consistently check all properties related to your practice online. Is there a Yelp page for your practice? Have patients written Google reviews regarding your care? Be sure to check these frequently.

You should also look yourself up on Google, Yahoo, and Bing fairly frequently to make sure there aren’t any negative news articles, blog posts, or other types of online content being circulated that regard you.

Luckily, it’s easy to check the status of your reputation on Google constantly with the search engine’s helpful service Google Alerts.

How Much Positive Information You Should Hope For

Even if there isn’t any negative information about you or your practice available on the internet, is the web doing all the work it could be doing for your practice? If there isn’t a large amount of positive information out there, the answer is no.

Why do you need to worry about how much positive information on your practice exists? There are several good reasons:

  1. Negative information is going to crop up eventually. No one lasts long in the medical industry – or any other field, for that matter – without getting at least one negative review. Being proactive about generating positive content can offset the effects of future negative content.
  2. Good information on you or your practice existing online can work like free advertising. All those same people that you worry about being scared off by bad information could be brought in by good information.

There are several ways to create more positive content for your practice detailed in the next section, “How to Fix Your Online Medical Reputation.” It may be worth looking over even if your reputation is already spotless!

Is There a Way to Run Deeper Online Searches?

The answer to this question is complicated. For now, I’ll say yes and no.

There is no secret “deep search” feature hidden somewhere on the internet. A lot of less ethical online firms, including some in our own industry, like to say something like this exists in their advertising. It’s nothing more than a sales tactic.

However, there is a way to search more deeply than you already have. The way to go deeper on the internet is to go wider.

In addition to Google, the other major search engines, and Yelp, you should be checking less obvious places. These include social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, and the like), as well as consumer reporting sites. Look through legal documents posted online, through licensing board records, and at minor review sites that haven’t achieved the status of Yelp.

Google and the other major search engines are the main factors determining your online reputation. However, things go much deeper than that. Different internet users trust and find different sources.

Some may almost exclusively use Facebook for news and reviews. Others don’t trust Yelp for whatever reason and use alternatives. The savviest internet users will look at more complex documents like public records to determine whether or not to get treatment at your practice.

Because all of these internet users are potential patients, you want to be sure you have all your bases covered. That does involve putting some work in now, but it could make a huge difference to your practice later on.

How to Fix Your Online Medical Reputation

There’s a lot of work involved with creating and keeping a spotless reputation in the internet age. However, with the right amounts of time, knowledge, and hard work, anyone can do this for themselves. Although Google and the other search engines have created this unique 21st-century problem for doctors and other professionals, the search engines also offer the best means to solve it.

The key principles of reputation management for doctors are very simple, even if the practice itself is complex. Here they are:

  • Negative information affects your practice because it appears on the first page of Google. According to Search Engine Journal, a whopping 75% of search engine users never get past the first page.
  • Pushing the negative information off of the first page of Google, then, would provide an instant boost for your business.
  • The only way to push negative content down is to create positive or neutral content that ranks higher in Google and other search engine results.
  • The art and science of making web content more attractive to search engine algorithms are called SEO, an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization.

All of the top companies in the world use SEO to a certain extent. Some have internal SEO departments or rely on marketing and PR employees to do SEO. Others hire out. In fact, there is a huge SEO industry serving both small businesses and the corporate world. One subset of that industry is professional reputation management.

 

Reputation Management for Doctors Tip No. 1 – Creating Positive Information

The first and most important thing you can do to start better managing your medical reputation, then, is creating positive information.

Negative content about you won’t simply disappear on its own. Something has to take its place. Furthermore, having more positive content related to you and your practice available on the internet can only be good for your business.

However, many doctors don’t know how to create positive, professional web content at all. On top of that, there’s an additional step: making sure that the positive content you create ranks higher than the negative content on Google. If the positive content ranks higher, it pushes the negative content down. If the positive content doesn’t rank as highly, no one will ever see it.

Here are a few quick guidelines for creating relevant, useful positive content that will rank highly on Google (and the other search engines). There is also some great information in the video at the end of the last section.

Creating Positive Content for Physicians, Step by Step

1. Use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to create positive content about your practice. These platforms, while they may not seem important, can be extremely useful. They have high “authority” with the search engines, meaning they almost always automatically rank highly in searches.

2. Create other free, high-authority profiles such as those available from LinkedIn.

3. If you don’t already have a website, create one. If you do have one, consider expanding it. Do you have a blog? A blog can be an amazing way to create positive content about your practice.

4. Consider writing press releases and submitting them to news media, or guest posting on other medical blogs. Although you don’t directly own these other sites, filling them with the information you’ve created and tied it to your name can work wonders for your online reputation.

Reputation Management for Doctors Tip No. 2 – Hiding Negative Information

The good news on this front is that you’ve already put a lot of the work in by creating positive content. However, there’s a little bit more involved with getting rid of negative information. This is one of the most important components in the puzzle of reputation management for physicians.

To make your positive content rank higher on SERPs (that’s an abbreviation we SEOs and reputation management professionals use for Search Engine Results Pages), you’ll need to do some SEO work.

More good news: for public profiles like Facebook and LinkedIn, the SEO work is essentially already done for you. However, if you’re creating positive content on your own website or another less ubiquitous web platform, you’re going to need to optimize it for search engines.

Unfortunately, there is a lot more involved with search engine optimization than I could ever get into here. However, there are a lot of great sources out there that can help you learn SEO, such as the Moz Blog, which covers a wide variety of important SEO topics in depth regularly. It’s a great place to familiarize yourself with the basics. Also, it can help you understand the latest developments in the field once you’ve become an advanced SEO yourself.

You may also be interested in this video. It’s very long, but it is one of the most concise and complete introductions to SEO I’ve ever come across.

Getting Rid of Negative Content – Beyond SEO

In addition to SEO, you need to think about how to get rid of negative content on platforms such as Yelp. Because Yelp is such a large and frequently-used platform, you’ll never beat it on SEO alone. Other review sites, such as Facebook and Google Reviews, work in much the same way.

However, there are two ways to minimize the effects of negative reviews on these sites:

  • Try to get as many patients as possible to write positive reviews – the law of averages will be on your side when customers look at your Yelp or other review site profile.
  • If a patient you have a good relationship with writes a bad review, consider contacting her or him directly. Ask if there’s anything you can do to make things right, and the patient may end up taking down the review.
  • However, never be pushy or defensive when you’re doing this – that will only end up making your reputation that much worse.

Don’t rely on Yelp or any other review site to take down a negative review, though. Unless you can prove a review is fraudulent or overly malicious, it’s here to stay. Even if you do have a case, the review companies move slowly on this issue.

Furthermore, if you have a lot of negative reviews on sites like Yelp, ask yourself if there’s anything you’re actually doing wrong.

Even the best doctors make mistakes, and patients are sometimes malicious in reviews without thinking of the consequences. However, have an honest conversation with yourself and your staff about ways to combat negative reviews. Honesty and a good reputation and outlook in the real world will not solve all your problems online, but they might help a great deal.

Reputation Management for Doctors Tip No. 3 – Hiring a Professional Reputation Management Service

For some doctors, all of this reputation management work can simply be too much. You have a practice to run, after all.

Many doctors, as well as lawyers and other professionals and business owners, hire outside help for this. There are pros and cons to hiring outside reputation management help, as with any business decision.

Hiring Outside Reputation Management Help for Doctors: Pros

1. Hiring professionals to carry out reputation enhancement and management tasks leave you with more time to focus on your main work: taking care of patients.

2. Utilizing a professional service can also bring about positive results faster than managing your reputation on your own.

3. Professional reputation managers do this for a living and know a great deal about reputation management for doctors and other professionals.

4. Perhaps the biggest benefit associated with hiring professionals to do this sort of work, besides the time it will save you, is how long-lasting the changes will be. Because professional reputation management firms have a deep expertise in the field, they know how to get you longer-term results than you’re likely to get on your own.

5. Many firms also offer affordable recurring contracts, checking up on your reputation and offering help in the future should you need it.

Hiring Outside Reputation Management Help for Doctors: Cons

1. The major drawback to hiring professionals is the expense. Reputation management services aren’t cheap. However, some firms in this industry are much more reasonably priced than others, and the positive changes professionals bring about can get you more patients.

2. While there are many upstanding, legitimate reputation management and SEO firms out there, there are also a few illegitimate businesses to watch out for. Signs to look out for on this front include overly aggressive sales tactics and too-good-to-be-true offers or pricing.

3. It’s also important that you talk with any SEO professional or reputation manager you’re considering hiring about their stance on a white hat and black hat SEO tactics. Black hat tactics can hurt your practice in the long run.

Online Reputation Management for Doctors: Your Options

If you suspect you need to start a reputation management program for your practice, you have a few options:

  1. Do it all on your own.
  2. Hire professionals right away.
  3. Ignore the problem.
  4. Do what you can on your own, and learn a bit more about the science of reputation management and enhancement, before hiring professionals.

The fourth option is the one we most highly recommend. Although there’s a lot to be said for hiring professionals, there’s also a good amount of work you can do on your own. Furthermore, managing your own online reputation can be a hugely positive learning experience.

The worst option, of course, is number 3. Ignoring this problem will at best be very problematic for your medical practice, and at worst could be entirely fatal for it. With a compromised reputation, the prognosis is not good.

Here at Reputation Enhancer, we help individuals and businesses get rid of negative listings on Google and other search engines. We do so use a highly personalized approach. Because of our low overhead, we can offer these services at lower prices than almost any of our competitors.

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27 Essential Tips for Leading Online Reputation Management 

27 Essential Tips for Leading Online Reputation Management  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

If you’re like most doctors today, you’ve begun to realize that a healthy online presence can make or break the success of your practice. Who you are online matters more than ever.

Around 84% of today’s patients say that they research new primary physicians and medical practitioners online before setting foot into a doctor’s office. This means that your patient knows what others say about you before he or she ever meets you.

This isn’t a passing trend. In fact, a study in the US National Library of Medicine reports that more than 90% of people now turn to online reviews before engaging in business with companies from any industry.  As we move into 2018, these numbers will continue growing until almost all of your patients know your reputation before you know them.

When patients find doctors with excellent online reputations, they’re likely to spend more money to see them. In a recent study, 48% of patients said that positive online reviews can convince them to go out-of-network for treatment, as they value quality of service over care affordability.

If you don’t know where to start with your online presence, or if you’re not sure if you even have one, Status Labs is here to help! With 2018 fast approaching, The twenty-five tips below will help you better understand and cultivate your online reputation so you can improve your practice for the coming year:

 

1. Self-Assess Your Current Online Reputation

Have you Googled yourself lately? If you don’t know what’s being said about you or your practice online, you need to self-assess your current reputation. In 2017, patients commonly checked doctor reviews on websites such as Yelp, ZocDocs, WebMD, RateMDs, Healthgrades, Google Reviews and Angie’s List. If you find your practice on any of these websites, look at what patients are saying.

 

After exploring various review websites and the first few pages of Google, you’ll have a better idea of your current online reputation.

 

2. Monitor Your Reviews Proactively

Set up Google alerts that will email you whenever your name or the name of your practice is mentioned online. Read each new mention of your practice carefully and closely monitor your online reputation every day.

 

This proactive approach will allow you to better manage your image and improve the success of your medical practice.

 

3. Treat Every Patient Like a Reviewer

Remember that every patient that calls or comes to your practice is a potential reviewer. Treat each patient with the utmost respect, projecting the image you want your practice to have. For example, if you’d like patients to report courteous behavior and compassionate staff (and you do), go above and beyond to ensure each person experiences just that.

 

Remember, in today’s high-tech society, what you say to a patient could be posted online immediately.

 

4. Request Feedback

If you’re not receiving many online reviews, it might be because you’re not encouraging patients to leave them. Ask your patients if they’d be willing to leave reviews about their experiences online when you send them follow up emails.

 

According to a 2016 survey, 70% of consumers said they’ll leave a review for a business if they’re asked to.  If you’re concerned about asking for public feedback, know that requesting reviews rarely hurts a practice. In fact, more than 50% of patients report leaving positive reviews when they do rate a business. To compare, only 7% of patients write negative reviews.

 

5. Hire a Reputation Firm

If your online reputation has gotten away from you, or if perhaps you’re just too busy to take the necessary steps to improve it, you may want to seek out professional assistance by hiring an online reputation management firm. These firms staff teams of professionals who can keep your online image focused on the positive aspects about your practice so you can put your best foot forward when being considered by new patients.

 

Reputation firms can also offer advice on responding to negative patient reviews and on improving doctor/patient relationships online.

 

6. Address Critiques Objectively

Before you do anything about a critical review, address it objectively. Consider the situation from the patient’s point of view, from a legal standpoint and from the public’s point of view. Examine the most professional response and how you can minimize the damage to your reputation while respecting confidentiality laws.

 

If you are feeling heated and upset by a negative review, come back to the review later on.

 

7. Think Carefully Before Addressing Anyone Online

Nothing looks worse than a doctor arguing with a patient online. For example, if a past patient claims your practice missed a diagnosis, to dispute this online would breach doctor/patient confidentiality laws and cause you to appear unprofessional.

Instead, doctors are encouraged to ask the patient to contact the practice for a specific response while offering apologies. Always address reviews professionally and do what you can to make it right. Do not acknowledge that a patient was in your office, or that you provided treatment for both positive and negative reviews.

 

8. Don’t Create Fake Reviews

Filling a website with dozens of fake positive reviews might sound like the easiest way to improve your online reputation. Instead, this can quickly ruin a practice. Not only is this fraudulent behavior, but many review sites regularly scan for fake reviews.

 

If the authenticity of your positive feedback cannot be verified, the reviews may be removed and your practice may be flagged for fabricated reviews. It’s just not worth it.

 

9. Respond to Positive Reviews

When you receive a positive review, thank the patient for his or her kind words about your practice. Leave an uplifting, professional response that shows your commitment to patient satisfaction. Do not, however, share any patient information that could violate privacy laws.

Stay clear of phrases like, “It was great to see you,” or “Thank you for visiting the office.” Keep it vague and positive such as, “Thank you for the kind words.”

 

Patients prefer visiting practices that demonstrate active engagement with online reviewers.

 

10. Respond to Negative Reviews

Just as you should respond to positive reviews, you should also respond to patients who leave negative feedback. As previously noted, do not do so from an emotional state and always consider your response carefully. Ask yourself if anything you write violates confidentiality laws and if it shows your practice in the best possible light.

 

Most patients feel that it’s important for doctors to respond to all online feedback. In fact, only 27% of patients found it minimally important, or not at all important, for physicians to respond to negative reviews.

 

The right response can neutralize a negative review, preventing it from further damaging your reputation.

 

11. Don’t Get into Online Arguments

When you respond to a negative review, an upset patient might try to antagonize you into an argument. Regardless of what is said, even if the patient is lying, participating in an online argument will do worse for your reputation than the review itself.

Always respond professionally. If a patient instigates an argument, offer to discuss and resolve the matter privately, but do not otherwise engage in a dispute.

 

12. Promote Positive Reviews on Your Website

The positive reviews you receive can be your best marketing material. Promote positive reviews on your website, use quotes from happy patients in your marketing and draw attention to the good things your patients say about you. Before sharing or embedding patient reviews, however, always seek written consent from the patient to protect his or her privacy.

Remember, there is no better narrator for your success stories than a satisfied patient.

 

13. Be Extra Careful of Patient Privacy Laws

Patient privacy laws must be respected when responding to online reviews. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability ACT of 1996 (HIPAA) obligates every healthcare practitioner to protect patient privacy.

Information gained through any part of the patient’s care should never be published publicly without proper authorization. Best practice is to never confirm that the patient was seen by your clinic, according to Dr. Danika Brinda of Planet HIPAA. Instead, thank the patient for sharing feedback, and if necessary, invite further discussion in private.

 

14. Train All Staff in Customer Service Best Practices

Patients leave reviews about their entire experience with a practice, not just with their doctor. Train every staff member in customer service best practices and make it company policy to follow these practices closely. Each phone call, front desk conversation and nurse interaction should be handled with friendly, professional behavior.

When patients read reviews, they’re not always focused on the quality of healthcare that each review reports. It might surprise you to learn that a combined 48% of patients say they value the friendliness of the medical staff and the ease scheduling appointments over other information when reading online reviews.

 

Every member of your staff, even those who do not regularly interact with patients, should be trained in the company customer service policy.

 

15. Maintain a Social Media Presence

Social media is an excellent way to find new patients, engage existing patients and improve your online reputation. Maintain a social media presence that provides useful information, updates about your practice and helpful, respectful answers to patient questions.

 

Many patients turn to social media in their online inspection of a healthcare provider. If you don’t have a presence, you’re selling your practice short. Over 40% of patients report that social media affects their choice in a healthcare provider and facility.

Today, 31% of healthcare professionals have already turned to social media for professional networking. Join these businesses and shine brighter than your competition in 2018.

 

16. Keep a Regular Social Media Posting Schedule

Maintaining an effective social media account for your practice requires consistency. The right posting schedule will boost your traffic and help you find new patients.

 

Include your posting schedule in your organization’s social media guidelines to keep your staff on the same page. Over 30% of healthcare organizations provide similar social media guidelines to staff. If you do not have staff in charge of managing your social media, consider outsourcing the job to a reputation management firm.

 

17. Be a Thought Leader in Your Field

Don’t settle for being an off-line doctor. Become a thought leader in your field. A thought leader drives innovation and brings new ideas to his or her given industry. Such leaders become popular, well-respected professionals in their fields, which increases exposure and boosts their online reputations.

Becoming a thought leader isn’t something you can earn a degree for and be done with, it’s a process. You must establish yourself as a reputable professional, refine your skills and bring new, improved ideas to the field on a regular basis.

 

18. Keep Your Online Private Life Private

When your patients look you up online, you don’t want them to see your nights out with friends, family barbecues and casual social media updates. Keep any private online profiles restricted so only friends can view them and never post personal opinions, photos or videos on your professional accounts.

Ideally, your patients shouldn’t find your personal social media accounts even if they go looking for them. If you have private information online and cannot remove it, an online reputation company can help.

 

19. Register Your Name as a Domain and Secure Relevant Web Properties

Registering your name as a domain dramatically improves your search engine optimization (SEO) and it can even protect you from scandal. When potential patients Google your name, the domain that matches your name will appear at or near the top of the page. If you don’t own this domain, someone else could purchase it for their own means or even to use it against you.

For example, a disgruntled patient or competitor could buy an unregistered domain – i.e. www.DrYourName.com – and post false content about you there.

You’ll also want to secure other relevant web properties on professional website, blogging platforms and more.

 

20. Verify and Claim Your Google Business Listing

Claiming your business on Google provides a good starting point to control what’s displayed about you on Google searches. This includes business location, images, hours and reviews. Once claimed, you can use Google Business tools to improve your listing.

 

Visit www.google.com/business and log in with your professional Gmail account to create your free Google listing.

 

21. Read Reviews of Other Doctors to Identify Trends and Pain Points

Researching the competition is among the best ways for businesses in any field to boost their success. Read reviews from other local doctors so you can identify pain points and trends that impact what other patients are saying.

The more you know about how and why your competition succeeds or fails, the more information you have available to help improve your private practice.

 

22. Know Your Audience and Keep It Professional

Whether you’re posting on the company blog, your practice’s Facebook page or in response to a positive review, know your audience. Consider your patient demographic and use it to define how you present yourself. Also keep every post professional, clean and polite.

 

Doctors, more than many other types of professionals, must maintain complete professional presentation and neutrality.

 

23. Be Transparent

Transparency is possibly the most important aspect of a doctor/patient relationship. Patients currently have access to more information than ever. From medical billing, to staff/patient interaction, transparency can win many positive reviews when handled appropriately.

 

24. Temper Your Expectations

Remember, overhauling your online reputation is a marathon, not a sprint. If you start cultivating your online reputation now, it will not look perfect in five days. However, if you work on your reputation every day, proactively address reviews and continue to improve your practice, you could end 2018 with an excellent online presence.

 

To put it into perspective, Google typically recognizes index profile changes every two to six weeks. This means you can expect some small changes about every month, but you will not dominate the front page of Google after one long night of reputation repair.

 

The more time you can devote to this, the better. If you don’t have hours of extra time to devote to managing your presence, consider outsourcing to someone who does.

 

25. Treat the First Page of Google as Your Business Card 

Whether you like it or not, Google results are the new business cards. It doesn’t matter what your traditional advertisements say if your potential patients find contradictory information on the front page of Google. Often, when a patient Googles a practice, he or she will look for another physician in seconds if the front page lacks information or displays negative reviews.

According to a 2016 survey, 88% percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Furthermore, 90% of consumers read fewer than ten reviews before forming an opinion about the business.

If your online reputation is less-than-perfect, launching a proactive approach will improve your practice’s success. Online reviews are a modern concern for practitioners in all fields of healthcare and the number of platforms used to facilitate patient reviews is rapidly increasing.

 

Whether your reviews are positive, negative, or nonexistent, knowing what’s out there is the first step in protecting both yourself and your practice.

 

26. Pay attention to your Facebook reviews and ratings

Facebook is increasingly becoming one of the more frequently relied upon review platforms. Many experts have so much as predicted that 2018 will be the year that Facebook reviews come of age and begin to rival Yelp and other platforms as the go-to source for customer sentiment about brands. You can be certain that doctors – especially those with the all-important social media presence – will be a healthy part of the mix. Facebook is also a great place to speak to your patient base and directly ask them for reviews through organic posts. And since no one can hide behind an anonymous moniker, you can trust that the feedback you solicit should be a bit more reliable than on other platforms. Take advantage of the following you’ve built to solicit feedback.

 

27. Content marketing is essential, even for doctors

Not only can an effective content marketing strategy win you valuable organic search traffic, but those in your city who see you’ve published thought-provoking articles about your industry of expertise will also see you as a thought leader in your field. What better way to show the world you’re keeping up with current trends in the medical world than to publish a regular stream of articles about your profession? Useful content will be greatly appreciated by readers and it gives you an effective means of selling without being overtly sales-y. Even just one post per month will go an incredibly long way over a period of several years.

 

Status Labs has successfully helped many prominent doctors around the world with their digital reputations. As the industry’s premier digital reputation management firm, we’d happily offer you a Free Consultation should you need additional assistance with any reputation management issues or opportunities.

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Reputation Management for Physicians

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

emphasized the importance and value of creating and maintaining your online presence. Moreover, reputation is an ever-present ingredient in healthcare marketing. And who you are online is who you are to most people.

 

The top 10 rules of reputation

 

  • Claim and maintain your online DIRECTORY listings. Among the four information areas we’ve listed, the directory-type listings deserve careful attention for several reasons. The first challenge is that there are many such “directory” listings; likely including several that you didn’t know existed. What’s more, many “directories” are based on old data files, vital information (as elementary as your address and phone number) is missing, incorrect, and sometimes difficult to correct.
  • Reputation management has two speeds: regular and urgent. Most patients give physicians a favorable rating on online physician-rating sites, according to the same study cited in Part One. (J Med Internet Res 2011;13(4):e95)  But some online comments—both positive and negative—have a timely importance. It’s important to recognize the difference between “maintenance” and “hot potato,” and tackle any tough ones first.
  • Always take action on both positive and negative comments or ratings. Positive comments deserve attention, perhaps with a reply, a follow-up note, or some form of outreach and involvement. Think of it as being aware of public perceptions and a means to encourage and maintain the positive interaction. It’s also vital to listen to a negative issue, take any appropriate remedial steps, and to respond to the concerned individual. A prompt response has been known to douse flames, while a slow response can fan the flames. (See Neglect…)
  • Neglect is a slippery slope. Unfortunately, negative comments, reviews, and outright complaints tend to come forward more easily than positive comments. (The ratio is about three to five positive notes vs. 10 to 20 negative ones in general consumer studies.) A policy of “ignoring things” tends to foster more negativity. Stuff rolls downhill. Conversely…
  • Positive comments and testimonials thrive with encouragement. The fact is, patients, tend to appreciate good service and a little encouragement—without compensation, of course—often goes a long way. To make it happen, you (a) need to ask, and (b) make it easy for them. Consider ways to systematically invite online comments, improvement suggestions, surveys and other feedback and engagement tools.
  • You can’t control what people say, but you can actively tell your own story. You can control the quality of care you provide and deliver a positive patient experience. And in addition to the foregoing list of items, the primary means to influence what the consumer finds online (and what they regard as your reputation) is to contribute significantly to the online conversation.

 

Several favorable notes from satisfied individuals provide balance to an occasional unfavorable note. And using the voice of your website, blog, social media tools, and appropriate, regular and timely responses to comments and questions, the result can be a favorable ratio of positive to negative. And overall, you have control of the story—about yourself and your practice—that you tell online.

 

There’s HIPAA of course. Patient privacy issues and personal sensitivities will guide how a physician can present information online. There are, however, meaningful ways to provide timely and engaging information and to address important issues online, while respecting confidentiality and privacy.

 

Know the meaning of Astroturfing. The term Astroturfing, according to Wikipedia, “is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g. political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by a grassroots participant(s).” Without offering legal advice here, it’s easy to understand how “fake reviews” would be deceptive, dishonest and inappropriate.

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Online Reputation Management - Why it’s Important for Your Practice! 

Online Reputation Management - Why it’s Important for Your Practice!  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Not that long ago, it was relatively easy to market a medical practice. You made sure your practice had an accurate entry in the phone book and people searching for a doctor would call. With the growth of the internet, the world of practice marketing has become much more complicated. A single phone book has been replaced by Google and hundreds of online directories including the old Yellow Pages, Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals and others. Mismanagement of these online directories can be detrimental to your business in more ways than one, so let's look at a few reasons keeping your business listing in online directories up-to-date is so important.

Get Found on Google Maps
If someone is using their phone as a navigator for driving directions, Google uses your Google My Business directory listing to provide an address. If you don't have a listing, when someone searches for doctors in your town, you won't appear in search results! A Google My Business listing is essential to being found on the #1 search engine. Make sure it is accurate with your address, phone number, and office hours.

Rank Higher in Search
Google looks beyond your Google My Business rankings to other online directories to confirm their information is accurate. If Google finds conflicting information in multiple directories, it casts doubt that you are still in business. This doubt can cause the search engine to push your entry lower in search results below other practices in town that have all their information aligned. Multiple accurate listings in online directories can also help you own the first page of search results for your name.

Get Referrals from Reviews
The majority of buyers today use online reviews to make a decision before a purchase. The same goes for patients choosing a doctor. Review sites like Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals, RateMDs and others allow patients to get a real life perspective on your services. It's important for you to take ownership of your reputation on these sites. Make sure the information is accurate and then monitor reviews and try to improve them. Google loves reviews too, sometimes these review sites will rank higher in search engines than your own website when searching for a doctor

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Online Complaints? Blame Customer Service, Not Doctors’ Care 

Online Complaints? Blame Customer Service, Not Doctors’ Care  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

A nationwide study has uncovered what drives patients to write glowing, or scathing, reviews on the Internet. For a study of online doctor reviews coast to coast, Vanguard Communications developed special software to analyze Google+ reviews of doctors, group medical practices, clinics and hospitals.

 

The software analyzed 34,748 patients’ reviews of their physicians throughout the United States and determined that customer service is the leading distinction between highly rated and poorly rated doctors.

 

After compiling data containing the words patients used in describing their experiences with medical practices, the software determined the most common phrases associated with each review star level. An analysis of these most common phrases revealed that an incredible 96 percent of patient complaints are customer-service related, while a mere 4 percent complain about quality of care or misdiagnosis.

Summary of findings

  • 96 percent of patient complaints are customer service related
  • 4 percent are healthcare related

Of the customer service complaints:

  • 53 percent of complaints are related to communication
  • 35 percent of complaints are related to long wait times/waiting rooms
  • 12 percent of complaints are related to practice staff
  • 2 percent of complaints are related to billing

Of the compliments:

  • 40 percent of five-star compliments are related to bedside manner
  • 28 percent of five-star compliments are related to practice staff
  • 24 percent of five-star compliments are related to communication

The reviewers:

  • 61 percent gave five stars, producing 69 percent of content
  • 5 percent gave four stars, producing 5 percent of content
  • 3 percent gave three stars, producing 4 percent of content
  • 9 percent gave two stars, producing 11 percent of content
  • 23 percent gave one star, producing 12 percent of content

Of the common negative review phrasings:

  • Poor communication is the most offensive practice for a medical office. Fifty-three percent cite communications frustrations, such as “to get an appointment … ” and “I was told that … ”
  • Long wait times can obliterate a practice’s reputation. Thirty-five percent complain about wait times and waiting rooms, such as “in the waiting room for” and “an hour and a half”
  • Churlish staff can also drag down reviews. Twelve percent relate to practice staff, such as “the doctors are great but … ” and “the rest of the staff … ”
  • Only two percent are billing related, the most common being “I had to pay … ”

Regarding the complete list of review phrasings:

  • The great majority of reviews are positive. Sixty-one percent reviewers gave five stars, 5 percent gave four stars, 3 percent gave three stars, 9 percent gave two stars, and 23 percent gave one star.
  • Happy patients are the most verbose. Sixty-nine percent of content was written by five star reviewers, 12 percent by four star reviewers, 4 percent by three star reviewers, 11 percent by two star reviewers and 12 percent by one star reviewers.

Of the common positive review phrasings:

  • Patients are impressed with outstanding bedside manner. Forty percent of five star reviewers gush on their doctor with phrases such as “took the time to … ” and “answered all my questions”
  • Patients love staff who love patients. Twenty-eight percent of five star reviewers compliment the staff with phases such as “the staff is friendly and…” and “went out of their way to … ”
  • The happiest patients keep good communication at the top of their list. Twenty-four percent use phrasings such as “made me feel very comfortable” and “and made me feel … ”

Actions doctors can take

While some patients may incorrectly blame doctors for a misdiagnosis, this appears to a very small minority. The large majority of patients are eager to compliment their doctors. Complaints could largely be eliminated by medical practices if they implemented the following measures.

  • Better communication: Practices must keep their patients informed. Patients can tolerate surprising medical results, but they do not tolerate surprises elsewhere (long wait times, difficulty booking appointments, difficulty obtaining test results). Keep your patients informed! If wait times are going to be above 15 minutes, let the patient know. Doctors should ask the patient if all questions have been answered or if there is anything more they can do for them. Staff should do the same.
  • Better organization: Find the most organized individual you can and hire them. You need to have someone on your team who can ensure things are kept in order so that when patients ask questions, you can spend your time answering them rather than hunting for the answer. While long wait times may be unavoidable at times, better communication and organization can minimize this complaint. Automatic appointment reminders and online scheduling may help reduce large variations in daily patient load.
  • Better disposition: Cheerful and empathetic staff can help ensure patients feel as comfortable as possible. While a great team can’t solve all problems, it can help a good practice become great.

Study methodology

The software utilized the Google Places API to obtain listings that were categorized as a “Doctor” business type. Upon cataloging these listings, the software again utilized the Google Place API to obtain all available reviews associated with the respective listings.

At the time of execution, the software obtained a catalog of 34,748 reviews. A frequency analysis was then computed for the body of review text associated with each star rating (one through five) to determine the most common four- and five-word phrasings.

Analysts used these most frequent phrasings to assess patient review patterns. For the purposes of the analysis, each frequent phrasing was assigned one of four primary patterns:

  1. Customer service – reviewers’ phrasing references customer service (ex: “made me feel very comfortable”)
  2. Quality of care – reviewers’ phrasing references healthcare (ex: “to the emergency room”)
  3. Context – phrasing establishes reviewers’ credibility or other context (ex: “I’ve been going here for”)
  4. Advice – reviewers’ phrasing is advisory (ex: “I would highly recommend this”)

Context and advice phrasings were not considered in the analysis. Each phrasing determined to be customer service related was further analyzed to determine more specific patterns such as wait times, bedside manner, staffing, communications and billing.

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How to Build Online Reputation for Your Practice

How to Build Online Reputation for Your Practice | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

In 2018 you will have new plans, resolutions and to-do lists for yourself, your family and your practice. The new year is expected to have even more people on the Internet, which makes it imperative for you to build a strong online reputation. You need to set aside some time from your busy schedule to manage your online reputation and grow your business exponentially. You just can’t afford to miss this opportunity. Here are some tips that can fasten and ease your task.

Track and grow your online presence

Online reputation is all about your online presence and what people think about you and your practice. To know how and where you are sited on Google searches, you need to check your online presence. For this, you need to type the name of your practice in the search engine.

Don’t ignore words like fraud or scam if they appear in search results under your practice name in Google (Bing or Yahoo). This can be a part of review spam, as well. Take immediate steps to rebuild a damaged image. Also, check on which page is your practice being displayed on. If you are not on the first page of Google search results, then you are losing your target audience. This also indicates that you are lacking in your SEO strategies.

For establishing your online profiles to attract more online traffic via Google+, citation or website, your profile should have your practice name, practice address and number, operation hours and a description of your practice. Remember to make use of relevant keywords.

Have an engaging website for your practice

Visiting your practice website is like making virtual communication between your patients and you. Every searcher wishes to receive genuine information from your website. For your target audience to stay on your webpage, you need to have an engaging website. There should be a balance of images and text. Don’t overload your website with information or present it in a bland way. Make use of content marketing and present the information in different content forms such as blogs, infographics, podcasts, videos, etc. Also, make use of relevant keywords so your website never goes unnoticed.

You are well-versed in the popularity of social media and can expect its growth this year. So, utilize this platform to popularize your practice and build a strong online reputation. Check if you are present on all social media platforms and if not, create an account at all such sites. Then stay active on all your accounts. How to do it?

  • Do regular posting
  • Reply to comments and feedback
  • Reply to queries by messaging patients personally
  • Maintain privacy and follow HIPAA rules
  • Join groups related to your niche
  • Share informative comments on others’ posts

Manage your online reviews

Have your profile created on all review platforms such as Yelp, YellowPages, Healthgrades, etc. and regularly monitor what your patients have to say about you and your practice. To build a strong reputation, you need to get as many positive reviews as you can. This can be done in the following ways:

  • Asking for positive reviews

Your service and treatment are the best ways to please your patient and build a long-term relationship. Once a patient is pleased and about to leave your practice, you should not miss the chance to request him/her to write a positive review for your practice online. You can say something like, “If you are satisfied with the treatment, can you please write few kind words on a review platform for us? I would be obliged.”

In addition to requesting people visiting your practice, you can send an email or text message or make a call to your patients and ask them for positive reviews. After patients write a review for you, it is good to thank them personally.

  • Handling negative reviews

At any time in your life, you can face negative reviews. Neither ignorance nor taking them personally is a solution. First check for review spam. Then, politely explain the issue, if anything happened. Give assurance of improvement and request the reviewer to take things offline. Satisfying comments can turn disappointed patients into happy patients.

Reputation is a gem that will brighten your future. The world will not destroy your reputation over a single mistake, but it will take years for you to build a strong online reputation. myPracticeReputation will help you create an online reputation and beat the ever-growing competition.

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What A Googler’s Leaked Manifesto Teaches Us About The Importance of Managing Your Online Reputation 

What A Googler’s Leaked Manifesto Teaches Us About The Importance of Managing Your Online Reputation  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

We live in an age when thoughts and opinions are shared as rapidly as they’re formed. The ubiquitous, instant access to online visibility in such culturally and politically-charged times puts constant pressure on the public to participate and make their voices heard. Sharing opinions online is considered by many as a new form of political activism — of doing your bare minimum diligence as a citizen of a digitized world.

 

This equates to a common compulsion to bring awareness to certain actions and opinions of others as a means to debunk, refute, and oppose. Visibility and awareness, while generally seen as advantageous (there’s no such thing as bad press, right?), are now used as weapons against perceived ignorance, wrongdoing, and the like. With this compulsion, however, comes the need for what we may call a responsibility to your reputation. Take for example the recent viral, sociopolitical news story of the “Google Manifesto.”

A Series of Unfortunate Events

To recap: James Damore, now-former Google engineer, caused an outcry within and outside the company after releasing what he called a “manifesto” about diversity in the tech industry, arguing that biological differences between men and women are the reason for the industry’s infamous gender gap, and that the company’s diversity policies are essentially futile and disadvantageous. According to Damore, the memo had circulated internally for about a month, during which time he asked for feedback and input.

 

The 10-page document, which claimed Google’s programs designed to hire more women were “lowering the bar,” was then leaked online where it quickly went viral in a concert of shares, comments, tweets, and articles by a public loudly declaring that it proliferated harmful, sexist ideologies. In a matter of days, its language and ideas were deconstructed and analyzed a million times over, a flurry of statements were made and amended, Damore was fired, the manifesto was taken down, and a lawsuit was filed.

 

Google fired Damore on August 7th, just two days after one of the first articles about the manifesto was published, reportedly for violating the company’s code of conduct by “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in [the] workplace,” and undoubtedly for garnering a lot of unwanted attention. It became clear that Google didn’t want their name attached to the manifesto as they condemned Damore and his document.

 

Damore’s responses have been swift and public. He’s filed a labor complaint, citing “a legal right to express [his] concerns about the terms and conditions of [his] working environment and to bring up potentially illegal behavior.” He also hasn’t shied away from offering up personal statements and online interviews. On Sunday, August 13th, he defended himself in Reddit’s Ask Me Anything forum, where he was met with a bevy of supporters, including some female programmers. But he also encountered critics who argued some of those supportive voices were fake users.

 

This series of events has prompted many ethical, cultural, political, and legal questions. Did Google have the right to fire him? Some experts say maybe not. Would Damore have been fired if the document hadn’t gone viral? He believes he wouldn’t have.

But legalities, politics, and ethics aside, other questions we’re left asking include, what’s next for Damore, his future, and his reputation? What does his experience, which calls to mind many before him, like Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick and his recent forced resignation, teach us about living and working in such a digitally-public, share-happy, and vocal society?

There Actually Is Such A Thing As Bad Press

First, the entire situation is evidence of the fact that nearly every move an individual makes has the potential to turn into a tweet, a status, or an article — for better or worse. The same is true for companies and every move they or their employees make. As we’ve witnessed, not even Google is immune to this reality. In other words, it’s easier than ever — practically effortless — to become part of a story you aren’t the author of.

 

For those whose reputation is critical to their livelihood (and whose isn’t, because everyone looks up everyone for everything), this fact must influence how you carry out your daily work and life. In a society where Googling is a reflex, the Damores, the Kalanicks, and Googles of the world simply cannot afford knee-jerk, uncalculated choices and actions that allow the Internet-at-large to control their fate.

 

The issue of “it’s my right” and related legal actions are often top-of-mind for handling a crisis, but this is a short-sighted approach. Gaining and maintaining control of your narrative in such a tumultuous online landscape is a challenging, long-term strategy and warrants serious investment in the form of a management plan or team, especially for those closer (than what’s now normal) to the public eye.

 

Second, no matter how careful you are, some form of bad press is likely over the course of a career. People have different opinions and ideas of what is right and wrong, and everyone makes mistakes of varying subjective degrees of severity. We just happen to now function in a time when the Internet is able to flare up and immortalize a story, regardless of what may or may not be true. This spectrum of bad press can range from an unfavorable review to a full-fledged scandal that can threaten a lifetime’s worth of work. This, again, makes it essential to have a team and plan already in place, both so you are less susceptible to damage and so the necessary recovery process is as painless and effective as possible.

 

Damore says he has no regrets, but it’s only been about a week and the consequences are piling up. He’s lost his job, he’s about to enter a legal battle, he’s gained a long list of critics, and his name is, at least for now, synonymous with a sexist scandal, despite his claims otherwise.

 

Will it be harder for him to find work going forward? How will his personal life suffer? It’s unclear how the rest of his story will unfold or how much he’s investing in having control over it, but we can be certain the Internet is watching and won’t be quick to forget his claim to infamy.

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Online Reputation Lessons From Dentist Who Shot Lion

Online Reputation Lessons From Dentist Who Shot Lion | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

People are on the hunt for the dentist who shot a lion

The people at Yelp have been busy this week, thanks to a Minnesota healthcare provider’s recent African safari. As a result, there are lessons aplenty in the art of online reputation management for doctors.

 

Until the last week of July 2015, Walter J. Palmer was a Minneapolis dentist little known outside his circle of patients. Then the international news broke that Dr. Palmer had hired an African guide to help him hunt and kill a famous lion in Zimbabwe.

All hell has since broken loose, much of it on Yelp. And there’s little Dr. Palmer or even Yelp can do about it.

 

Yelp is the most popular site on the Internet for rating local businesses (including healthcare providers), with 83 million users monthly. Virtually anyone can claim to be a customer of any business and post a review of that business on Yelp. The business owner may not ever know it or the reviewer claiming to be his/her customer.

 

As of July 31, the dental practice of Walter J. Palmer, DDS, had 491 “reviews” on Yelp, averaging 1.5 out of five possible stars – about 100 times more reviews than a typical dentist attracts. But that’s not the half of it.

 

Yelp also has another 141 reviews of Dr. Palmer that are “not recommended.” In the Yelp credo, that means the reviews are from infrequent Yelp users who haven’t earned the credibility stripes of more frequent reviewers.

 

And what violations they are. The density of swear words and vulgar images on Dr. Palmer’s Yelp page (which users can also post freely) has surely set new Internet records.

 

Unlike Facebook, Twitter and other social-media websites, Yelp does not allow a business listed on its site to remove its own page. However, as in Dr. Palmer’s case, Yelp does remove highly offensive comments. But the Yelp staff can’t take down the fulminations nearly as fast as new ones appear.

What doctors can learn from Walter Palmer

What kind of dentist is Dr. Palmer? We don’t know. He could be the world’s greatest dentist, but all we can learn about him from the Internet is what others think of his morals.

 

Whatever kind words any of his grateful patients had previously offered on Dr. Palmer’s Yelp page are all but gone now, buried under an avalanche of contemptuous remarks. Meanwhile, his practice has reportedly closed its doors, its website has been taken down, and he is in hiding, according to news reports.

Can his professional reputation be salvaged? An orgy of public mea culpas might ultimately help defuse the outrage. Or passing time could erode the outcry, though not likely in time to fully restore his remaining career.

 

Thankfully for the medical profession, healthcare providers almost never undergo the same intensity of public scorn. Regardless, his case illustrates – in mountains of excess – a few useful guidelines for healthcare providers interested in managing online reputation in less volatile but sometimes still stressful situations.

1. Ignore online reviews at your own peril

Reviews of physicians, dentists and other medical professionals are often unfair and/or outright lies. But healthcare consumers read them.

 

And they use them to choose their doctors – according to a study by the accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers, approximately 150 million Americans have read doctor reviews, and about 100 million have used them in choosing physicians.

 

Just as importantly, whenever someone Googles a doctor’s name, links to several reviews of that doctor frequently show up on the first page of Google results – along with the star ratings for each review.

 

Check out Dr. Palmer’s search results on Google to the right. You’ll see poor ratings for not only Yelp but also for Google at the top.

 

Granted, providers have little time for monitoring Internet reviewers who may not even be their real patients. However, even a modest effort invested in online communications can yield enormous gains in the online image and subsequent business health of any medical practice. Often it requires only a few minutes of attention maybe once or twice a month.

2. Pick your arenas of engagement

Everyone knows about the Internet’s ubiquitous echo chamber. And everyone knows anyone can say almost anything about a healthcare provider on rate-your-doctor websites.

 

But not every rate-your-doctor website merits monitoring because they don’t show up prominently in search engines. Further, most doctors get at most only two or three reviews a month. So it doesn’t really take much effort to keep up with what patients are saying about you online.

 

Quite a few companies sell monitoring software that reports a review every time a doctor’s or practice’s name appears in it. I usually recommend taking a pass on such products. For most provider groups, the software is usually overkill.

 

Only a handful of rate-your-doctor websites attract enough visits to matter, as you can see from a sample list below. These are the sites worth keeping tabs on, and you need only register with those in order to get updates from them.

  • Yelp.com – 83 million monthly visitors
  • Healthgrades.com – 5 million monthly visitors
  • Zocdoc.com – 1.3 million monthly visitors
  • RateMDs.com – 307,000 monthly visitors

3. Claim your online identity

Once you’ve decided which rate-your-doctor websites you care about, you should “claim” your identity on each.

 

Claiming generally permits you to register an email address for receiving alerts any time someone posts a review (thus circumventing the need for monitoring software). Most rate-your-doctor sites also allow you to respond to reviews publicly or privately or both. (See below for more.)

 

To make a claim, simply go to the site and click on a button saying something like, “Is this your business?” or “Claim doctor profile.”

Most sites require claimers to provide a contact name, business address and phone number, and some ask for a driver’s license number or a medical license number. I know of little risk in providing either, as the information is almost always encrypted on the website.

 

Once you’ve claimed your identity at each website – as Dr. Palmer has yet to do on Yelp as of this writing – you’re ready for managing your online reputation.

4. Respond to digital critics

Anyone who’s been in business for more than five minutes has at least one unhappy customer somewhere. In healthcare, sometimes the most enraged patients are emotionally unbalanced. These tend to excoriate their providers on the Internet most frequently.

 

The unfortunate reality is that readers of online reviews don’t know who’s mentally unhealthy. They typically take criticisms at face value. For this reason, a response is in order almost every time.

 

This can be tricky territory, but when a provider is “flamed” (Internet parlance for vigorous online censure), the doctor (or a representative with the doctor’s login credentials) can respond publicly without violating privacy rights – provided that the doctor or practice has claimed the online identity.

 

Usually, all that’s needed in a public response is some show of nonjudgemental and non-disclosing compassion, something like: “I’m sorry to hear your complaints. The experience you describe is not at all our goal here at XYZ Medical Associates…”

 

Sometimes this requires swallowing one’s pride in the knowledge that the criticism is a big fat lie. But go for the bigger prize of broad respect. Answer with composure and professionalism. And in commenting on the review, don’t discuss anything about the patient’s case online. Take care to avoid even confirming that he’s a patient, which in itself is potentially a privacy violation.

 

Instead, inviting the unhappy reviewer to contact the practice directly in hopes of a resolution goes a long, long ways of telegraphing to others that the physician is a highly caring provider who listens to his patients.

 

Even if the unhappy patient can’t be mollified offline, at least the provider has sent a valuable message to all who see the online response.

5. Build a cushion of favorable online reviews

Reputation is like money in the bank. You want to save it for a rainy day, when you’ll need it most.

Regardless of Dr. Palmer’s personal ethics, if he had built up, say, 25 or 50 or 70 favorable reviews on Yelp, there might at least be another side to his professional story.

The same dynamic is in play – on a much smaller scale, of course – for any provider outside the global media spotlight. The majority of healthcare providers will probably eventually get at least a handful of online complaints in their careers, if not a dozen or more. The best defense is a counter-offense from loyal patients.

 

There are a number of tactics for soliciting complimentary online reviews, including asking for them whenever patients express gratitude for their care, as well as on customer-satisfaction surveys. We don’t have space here to discuss methodologies in depth, but the opportunities do exist.

 

At any rate, the point is that no one need be entirely a helpless victim of online bashing…perhaps not even a big-game hunter who ironically and metaphorically finds himself in the crosshairs.

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Reputation Management Mistakes Doctors Should Avoid 

Reputation Management Mistakes Doctors Should Avoid  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Reputation management is the necessity of time for your practice to flourish. Review sites and numerous people who browse the Internet for all solutions have made reputation a big deal for a practice to exist. Online reputation management of your practice now has a direct link with the number of potential patients visiting your practice and increase in revenue.

Not claiming practice

You can lose numerous potential patients if you have unclaimed profiles or listings. Searchers find you online with the hope of genuine information, so take care of duplicate Google My Business (GMB) listing and remember to claim your practice. Also, get your practice citation done on relevant websites for establishing a strong reputation in your locality.

Not asking for reviews

Every day you meet so many patients and provide treatment to cure their ailment. So, you need to request your happy patients, who thank you before leaving your practice, for a positive review online. This creates a better understanding of patients’ expectation and builds a stronger doctor-patient relationship. Writing reviews or feedback allows the patient to even share their concerns with physicians. You can even mail your patients for positive comments and post them on your practice website as testimonials. The more reviews you have for your practice on the web, the better will be Google’s ranking.

Posting fake reviews

Remember, not to post fake reviews. Just to get high ranking and a strong online reputation you cannot post false reviews. Requesting friends, family to write for your practice, bribing employees or patients and posting fake reviews can land your practice in trouble. Any such review spam once deducted by Google can hit your ranking and online reputation badly. You should regularly check the review sites to save yourself from such review spam. Different review platforms have a different process of claiming them.

Not thanking for Positive reviews

It is essential for your practice reputation to thank patients who take out time to post positive feedback about your practice without bothering for any personal gains. On receiving a thank message will make the reviewers delighted and cared. This will assure them of your services and the increased trust will help you get word-of-mouth marketing for your practice. When replying, stay simple and short. You can also ask them to use any of your new services but never get swayed in emotion and disclose private health information of your patients.

Ignoring negative reviews

Another mistake is ignoring or deleting negative reviews. Receiving such a comment is very normal because to err is human. Removing a negative comment is a big mistake that can spoil your online reputation. Instead of taking it personally, you first need to check if it is not a review spam. Secondly, check the reviewers’ concern. Thirdly, thank the reviewer for posting feedback and assure for improvement. These steps can turn a negative reviewer into a positive one. Communication is a bridge of solution for most problems, so don’t lose this opportunity of increasing your patient base and delighting every patient.

No personalization

Another factor affecting your online reputation is not personalizing your marketing and services. You need to engage with patients on a personal level to make them comfortable. In addition to relying on reviews, you should send personalized emails. An automated response can demotivate people. Respect your patients and send them messages that improve your brand image.

Not monitoring activities

In addition to the above-mentioned practices, you need to monitor the outcome to maintain a strong online image of your practice. This online image helps you attract potential patients and increase the revenue from your practice. If you cannot find the time or manage your online reputation, take help from agencies such as myPracticeReputation. Tying up with an inexperienced and inefficient agency can degrade your reputation. Agency should be dedicated and well-versed in healthcare marketing.

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How to Increase Patient Engagement

How to Increase Patient Engagement | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

You offer treatment with a motive to cure and satisfy your patient. Your practice is dependent on your patients. A happy patient is a key to the growth of your practice. You need to take various initiatives to increase patient engagement. The clearer your treatments, procedures, and conversations are the stronger will be your doctor-patient relationships. This helps you develop better online reputation for your practice.Below are some mistakes to avoid and creative ways for growing patient engagement and benefitting your practice’s growth.

Mistakes to avoid

For a rock-solid engagement initiative, you need to avoid following mistakes

One-for-all script: You cannot use the same script for all communications. Streamlining your communication efforts help you increase engagement and get you, loyal patients. You need to improvise and customize your script especially when dealing with same patients. Else, you are likely to bore them and face rejections. Since repetitive scripts give insecurity to patients make them feel unimportant and demotivated.

Pushing content: For successful marketing and patient engagement you cannot go with push strategy. You should always broadcast only the required information and don’t overload for engagement. Plan and be clear about your strategies instead of bombarding everything together and confusing patients.

Use newsletters, offers, and surveys to engage your target audience. Remember to check the frequency. Just like too many emails can annoy patients, similarly, very few emails can also make your patients forget about your practice.

Sales on mind: Don’t consider patients as a sales resource. This would make you lose your existing patients assuming you inconsiderate and leaving no scope of re-engagement. You need to increase your patient base but that’s possible only when are successful in retaining your existing patients.

Your patients never wish to be treated as numbers. They want to feel concerned. Any sales focused step can bring in anger and annoyance in search of immediate results. Rewards come with patience.

 

Below are some effective and easy ways to level-up your engagement with your patients.

Feedback: To increase engagement you need to get valuable feedback from your patients. This will help you know what your patients want. If you are not pushy, patients are likely to express their opinion. You can ask for feedback when a patient visits your practice, or you can send a survey email after the patient is done with a treatment. To unsatisfied patients, you can assure improvement and reconnect with them. Feedbacks are a great way to get insights about your patients and build strong relationships.

Customer service: You and your staff should be supportive to your patients. Following an organizational culture develops a friendly environment that helps patients to share their concerns in details. Feeling respected, patients are likely to refer your practice to their friends and family. A nice behavior should be continued from first interaction to the last.

Social media presence: Have a good presence on social media platforms to engage with your existing and potential patients. Showcase your thought leader personality and share your knowledge with all. Join other groups of your niche and broaden your marketing’s wavelength and increase engagement. Use different platforms wisely keeping in mind the type and age of the audience.

Some more creative ways to increase patient engagement are:

  • Ask for recommendations
  • Send daily medication reminders
  • Have an engaging patient portal where they can schedule appointment online and check their reports
  • Recommend mHealth app that includes fun and knowledge
  • Get a mobile-friendly website
  • Share your videos on YouTube
  • Use different forms of content such as infographics, videos, images, podcasts, etc.
  • Participate in seminars and local community activities or host an open house to interact with more new patients.
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Physician Online Reputation Management in 2018

Physician Online Reputation Management in 2018 | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

A few years ago, when we first wrote about online physician reputation management there were fewer people writing and reading reviews, especially for physicians and other healthcare experiences. The tide has turned since then and now we're seeing that physician reviews are playing a significant role in the selection of a healthcare provider. Did you know that:

 

  • At least 77% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor. - Software Advice
  • 53% of providers looked at physician review websites, likely to understand their patients’ experiences and to improve their practices. - Journal of General Internal Medicine

 

What do you need to do for your reviews to be visible and show positive interactions with patients? 

 

HOW DO CONSUMERS USE ONLINE PHYSICIAN REVIEWS?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Bright Local reports that in 2017, among those who look at online reviews, 68% said a positive review makes them trust a business more.  And negative reviews have almost as big of an effect in the opposite direction with 40% saying that a negative review makes them not want to use that business. 

 

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

 

The short answer: Physician online reviews matter. A lot.

 

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

 

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

 

The sad reality is that no matter how good our intentions we sometimes don't see eye to eye and that can cause a negative review to get published. Here are a few steps to take when a less-than-stellar review shows up online:

 

1) Pause before responding

It's a very personal feeling when you see someone comment about you and your life's work in a negative way. Remember, your response can actually make things worse if it's not carefully crafted and all facts taken into consideration. You don't want to leave a public record of an argument with anyone on a third party website.

 

2) Reach out directly

Whenever possible we recommend the practice call that patient right away and have the discussion offline. That way when you respond online later to state that you saw this and addressed with Mr. X privately because he is very important to you.

 

3) Never delete the bad reviews

You don't want to be accused of trying to manipulate how your reptuation looks by removing anything that's negative. When every review is 5-stars, consumers are likely to  sense that you're curating the results to only show the best ones. You can also start a firestorm on social media if you remove a negative review rather than respond to it publicly. 

 

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

 

TIPS FOR INCREASING POSITIVE ONLINE PHYSICIAN REVIEWS

1) Use a Service for Online Reputation Monitoring and Reporting

 

Using a service makes it easier to stay on top of what's out there so that you and your staff aren't blind-sided by a negative review. We recommend that you use a service that monitors everything and gives you a regular report or a dashboard you can access at any time. They can also help mitigate some negative reviews from appearing publicly.

 

Your review service can often help with removal of a review, especially if PHI is being revealed. Ask us if you're not sure what kind of review services are out there and what you get with each.

 

2) Make it Someon'e Job to Make Updates and Address Reviews 

 

It's not enough to know what's out there, you'll also need hands to help correct things and address items as they come up in reviews. Most of the online review collection services do not review and update the data. They only aggregate it for you. If you don't have someone you can assign to this, let us know.

 

If you don't choose an online reputation management service, be sure to pay particular attention to these five physician review websites:

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

Facebook could also play a role if you have reviews enabled on your business' page.

 

3) Do Not Submit Reviews on Behalf of Your Patients

 

Don't do anything that could potentially look like you're stuffing the reviews. Consumers will become suspicious if they see this.  Avoid asking your spouse or children to review you, as well as your employees. You really need actual patients to submit their reviews. Use a follow up email to give them a link for reviews. Some services offer a texting following where reviews can be submitted. 

 

REFERRING PHYSICIANS USE ONLINE REVIEWS

We mentioned at the start that other providers are reading the reviews, especially for physicians they may refer to. While your best referral sources typically know you personally, they want to be sure that their patients are going to find good things about you online, knowing that about three-fourths of them will do a check of the reviews.

Also, be sure your listings and reviews show the correct office address so that your referral sources feel confident that when they refer you their patients can find you.

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