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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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.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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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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How Much Is a New Patient Worth to Your Medical Practice?

How Much Is a New Patient Worth to Your Medical Practice? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Determining the lifetime value of a new patient can help your medical practice run a more informed and cost-effective business.

 

In an increasingly competitive healthcare environment, there’s no way around the fact that in order to get a seat in the table, you have to ante up. That means investing in a variety of digital marketing tactics, such as search engine and social media advertising, content marketing, and website optimization. But how do you determine how much budget you can spend on patient acquisition while still remaining profitable?

 

By determining the actual lifetime value of a new patient for your medical practice, you’ll be better prepared to set realistic goals, build an impactful strategy, and justify your decisions to administrators. Most importantly, by assigning a hard value to each new patient gained, you’ll gain a practical understanding of what kind of marketing budget is appropriate in order to maximize your practice’s profitability.

How to Determine a Patient’s Value

The real question is, how do you actually go about calculating the lifetime value of your patients? It’s best to begin with the basics. Of course, you want the number to be as accurate as possible — but a bit of estimation is expected and perfectly acceptable. Here are a few of the considerations you should take into account:

  • Average cost of each in-office visit
  • How many times the average patient receives treatment
  • Average number of peer referrals per existing patient
  • Average recurring revenue generated by each patient
  • Revenue from procedures

For example, if you typically charge $120 for an in-office consultation, and the average patient visits the practice about five times per year, each patient is worth a minimum of $600 per year. However, if each of those patients, on average, makes two referrals that result in new appointments, their value effectively doubles. And that’s not even factoring in recurring revenue from follow-up visits, as well as revenue from procedures.

Then you have to consider that value over the course of a lifetime — the longer the patient stays with your practice, the longer you’ll continue earning the same amount of revenue (and sometimes even more) year after year.

Once you’ve identified the average baseline value of each new patient, you can determine all sorts of things, like how much you can afford to spend on various digital tactics while still remaining profitable.

Maximizing the Lifetime Value of Each Patient

Now that you’ve determined the potential lifetime value of each patient, it’s time to focus your efforts on improving that value. The good news is this is a relatively simple thing to do.

 

You should strive to make your practice as patient-focused as possible, both online and off. By improving the overall patient experience, you bolster loyalty, retention, and referrals. In an increasingly competitive healthcare environment, the value of a solid reputation is immeasurable. Also, remember that it’s much more expensive to find new patients than it is to hold onto existing ones.

 

At the end of the day, the deeper your understanding of who your patients are and the lifetime value they represent, the better you’re able to build the business side of your operation. By reducing revenue-related stress and uncertainty, you can focus more of your attention on quality of care, treatment, and patient satisfaction — in other words, the building blocks of a successful and sustainable medical practice.

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How Doctors Should Respond To Negative Online Reviews

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Encourage, Don’t Discourage, Patient Reviews

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

Dealing with a Negative Review

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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Online Reputation Management for Doctors a Growing Concern

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

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

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

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

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

Online Reputation Increasingly Important for Physicians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accuracy in Online Doctor Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

How Doctors Can Work With Physician Review Sites

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

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

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

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

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Can Marketing Automation Help Doctors Improve their Patient Relationships?

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

 

As Dr. Henry states:

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

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

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

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

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

Improving your patient relationships with marketing automation

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

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

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

Emails

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

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

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

Nervous about getting bad reviews?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Newsletter

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Regain that personal feel of your practice

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

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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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7 online reputation management strategies for doctors 

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

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

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

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

 

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

#1 Leverage online ratings and reviews

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

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

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

 

#2 Fix your online presence

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

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

 

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

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

 

#4 Always respond to reviews

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

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

#5 Promote positive testimonials

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

#6 Build a strong social media presence

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

#7 Motivate your staff to provide outstanding service

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

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

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Online Physician Reputation Management: An Interview With Kevin Pho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

PS: What is your takeaway message from the book?

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

 

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

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Why Medical Marketers Need to Understand the Differences Between Google and Facebook Advertising

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

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

 

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

Facebook Advertising

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

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

Google Advertising

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

 

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

 

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

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

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