The Physicians Guide to a Positive Online Reputation | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. As a physician, your first impression used to determine if you would meet with a specific patient again. In today’s world however, it often determines if you will ever meet that patient at all. This is not because the importance has subsided, but rather because the location of your first impression now occurs online. Even if you personally are not active online, your reputation is. More patients than ever before are using the Internet to find a doctor. If you haven’t established a positive online reputation for them to discover, it is very difficult to make a good first impression.

  

Physician rating websites are gaining popularity at an alarming rate. The increasing significance of these websites is pressuring doctors to reevaluate their online presence. Whether or not you’re aware of it, patients are evaluating your work and publishing their opinions online for the world to see. The influence customer reviews have can tremendously affect the overall success or failure of any product or service. For physicians, the implications of a bad review can be especially costly.

  

In today’s digital world, an online presence is practically mandatory for any physician trying to advertise themselves to the public. Patients are becoming tech-savvy customers who want to make informed decisions when it comes to selecting a doctor. Therefore, it’s crucial for you to take the proper steps in order to prove to these potential patients that YOU are the doctor for them. I wrote a piece a few weeks back that listed 3 ways healthcare professionals can boost their online profile in 1 day that can help you initially get your name out there. However,introducing yourself is the easy part. Maintaining a positive online reputation is what will separate you from other physicians.

  

Below are 8 steps physicians can use as a guide on how to maintain a positive online reputation. These general tips will substantially enhance your presence online, and your success as a physician.

  

1.) Search yourself

The first step in managing your online reputation is knowing what you need manage. As I said earlier, just because you haven’t personally broadcasted information about yourself online, it doesn’t mean that others haven’t either. The Internet is a powerful tool where information can spread like wildfire. You need to be aware of what others are saying about you in order to stay ahead of a potential issue. I’m not suggesting you be paranoid to the point of searching yourself every day – that would be both unreasonable and unnecessary. Simply Google yourself once or twice a month, see what comes up, and deal with it accordingly

  

2.) Check for correct information

The first step in managing your online reputation is knowing what you need manage. As I said earlier, just because you haven’t personally broadcasted information about yourself online, it doesn’t mean that others haven’t either. The Internet is a powerful tool where information can spread like wildfire. You need to be aware of what others are saying about you in order to stay ahead of a potential issue. I’m not suggesting you be paranoid to the point of searching yourself every day – that would be both unreasonable and unnecessary. Simply Google yourself once or twice a month, see what comes up, and deal with it accordingly.

  

3.) Understand HIPAA regulations

Perhaps the most common (and valid) reason doctors are reluctant to engage in online activity regarding their professional life is the fear of violating HIPAA regulations. Doing so is a detrimental issue that can jeopardize your career. Therefore, as any healthcare professional knows, it must be taking very seriously. At the same time, allowing your HIPAA-related hesitancies to prohibit you from taking a proactive approach to your online reputation can hinder your career success. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, but there are definitely ways to use it to your advantage. The number one rule to remember is to avoid discussing specifics regarding a particular patient or case. Keep your comments as general as possible while still getting your point across, and you should be fine. If you are unsure whether or not you are violating regulations, err on the side of caution and make adjustments.