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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Online reviews and HIPAA: What you need to know about responding to patient reviews

Online reviews and HIPAA: What you need to know about responding to patient reviews | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

HIPAA adds extra complications for healthcare providers facing negative online reviews. The common wisdom for most businesses is to respond to all negative feedback publicly. However, HIPAA levies large fines and penalties against providers who reveal personal health information without patient consent.

 

It’s no wonder then that most healthcare providers are gun-shy when it comes to responding to online reviews. Fewer than one in five have a process for dealing with bad reviews, even though more than 80% of providers are concerned about the damage reviews can cause.

 

That said, there are HIPAA-compliant ways of dealing with patient reviews, and you should definitely incorporate review responding into your practice routine.

Why responding to online reviews is so important

Especially given that healthcare can be a life-and-death matter, prospective patients pay a lot of attention to a provider’s online reviews. In fact, 94% of people use online reviews to evaluate physicians, and 75% say that review sites have influenced their choice of provider. As such, negative reviews on sites like Vitals.com, Healthgrades.com, RateMDs.com, Google, and Yelp can be especially damaging—destroying your online reputation and turning away prospective patients.

 

The good news is that most patients tend to write positive reviews. But when negative reviews do pop up, you can often turn them into good reviews by responding promptly in a caring, professional, and HIPAA-compliant manner.

 

These online interactions show potential customers how much you care about your patients’ satisfaction, which can significantly boost your online reputation. Moreover, responding thoughtfully to a negative review can cause a two-fifths of viewers to overlook it.

 

But you shouldn’t just respond to bad reviews; you should also respond to good reviews. In fact, 70% of people believe it’s important for healthcare providers to respond to all reviews online. Doing so not only demonstrates that you listen to your patients, but it also shows that you truly value them and are grateful for their feedback.

 

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The Beginner’s Guide to Online Review Management

The Beginner’s Guide to Online Review Management | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The Beginner’s Guide to Online Review Management

Make a List

Before you can begin your online review management and improvement, you have to know what you’re up against. Block out some time to do some research and audit your online business reputation. To start, search for your business as a customer might. What comes up first? Your website? Your Facebook Page? Your Google Business listing? A third-party site? Are these reviews reliable and made by real customers?

 

You’ll probably come across some negative reviews, but don’t worry about addressing them yet. At this stage, simply try to gather as much information as you can. In your list, record the following information about each result you find:

  • URL
  • Search engine results page (SERP) position
  • Number of reviews listed
  • Overall star-rating and/or overall sentiment (positive, negative, neutral)
  • Reviews appear to be made by real customers (or not)
  • Information within the reviews is accurate (or not)
  • Complaints in the reviews have been addressed (or not)

 

After the first page of results, do a quick scan to see if there are any particularly problematic results, like a blog post or local news story defaming your business. If you find these, add them to your list. If not, stick to the first page of results. Since most customers don’t scroll past the first page of results, it’s probably not worth your time to go past the first page either.

Prioritize Online Review Sources

At this point, you probably have 8 to 10 items on your online review management list. Most likely, you don’t have the time to manage all of these. Choose the sources that are most impactful, and prioritize managing those first.

Look at your research from the previous step and find which sites showed up first, which scores were bad, or any reviews that were obviously false. If any of the sites that showed up had ten or more positive reviews, you might skip these and move on to more urgent items. Remember your own website is important here too, especially if it shows up high on the SERP.

Established Businesses

If you’re a well-established business, you may find that you already have a number of positive reviews across a variety of sites. After all, you’ve been around this long because you do a good job and customers like you! In this case, you may want to take a closer look at the ROI of online reputation management. Your strategy can always be stronger, and you can reach more customers with well-placed reviews. To start, look for holes in your online reviews; are there any places customers are looking for you, but not finding you? If you don’t have a Facebook page, website, or other top online listings, these should be your priority.

New Businesses

New businesses may find a few relevant results to start. That’s okay. A clean slate is good; you have the opportunity to control the conversation around your business. You’ll want to prioritize the top spots on the SERP. Ideally, these will be your Google Business listing, website, and Facebook page. You can control some parts of what appears on your Google Business listing and Facebook page, and every aspect of your website, so make sure this information is accurate, and your SEO is good. If you don’t have any reviews in these places yet, this is a good place to start.    

Gather more reviews

Now that you have the information you need, you’ll need to bolster the reviews on your top-priority sites. Make a plan to gather more testimonials and direct customers to the site to post their reviews. There are several ways to do this, and which you choose will depend on where you want to gather more reviews and how you best interact with your customers. Here are a few ways you can ask for reviews;

  • Automated email campaign
  • In-store tablet or kiosk
  • Facebook campaign
  • Customer appreciation event
  • Contest or giveaway
  • Other unconventional ways

With the right plan, you can automate your testimonial gathering process in under one hour. Check out the Step-by-Step Guide to Automating Testimonial Collection.

Manage Your Online Reviews

If you have some reviews coming in through emails, some on YouTube, some on Facebook, and a number of other places, it’s going to get difficult to manage. Focus your reviews into one easy-to-use platform, and make sure customers know where to go to submit them. If you use Boast, you can request, gather, approve, and display text and video testimonials all in one place. You’ll also want to use a platform that integrates with your WordPress website, Facebook page, MailChimp account, and other services so you can use the reviews that you gather in more places. With these integrations, you can continue to manage your online reviews from one place, but use them in many different ways.

Monitor Your Online Reviews

Nothing online remains unchanged for very long, and your online reputation is no different. After you boost your reputation on your top-priority sites, including your own website, you’ll want to monitor these sites. You can set up Google Alerts with your company name as a keyword to see when new mentions go up anywhere online. It’s also a good idea to check back on your review sites periodically and thank customers who post reviews, and respond (where appropriate) to negative reviews or issues. Finally, keep gathering, posting and using testimonials in new ways. Some of the top brands in the world use testimonials to maintain their industry authority, engage customers, build community, and build trust.

 

Once you have a plan to manage online reviews, the process won’t seem so chaotic. Remember that building (or repairing) your reputation takes time, consistent effort, and exemplary service. If you continue to impress your customers and make it easy for them to show their approval, you’ll start to see more reviews rolling in.

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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 Manage the Online Reputation of Your Medical Practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Can Medical Practices Manage Their Reputations?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Physician & Medical Practice Online Reputation Management

Physician & Medical Practice Online Reputation Management | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Earning good patient reviews ethically

Virtually every business has dissatisfied customers. Our difference is a three-prong management strategy:

  • We help each client practice deal privately with unhappy patients. Our special technology surveys and screens for complainers first, before they go online to post public criticisms. Secondly, we work with the practice management to resolve their complaints constructively.
  • We respond quickly and politely to online complaints when they do occur. Every consumer expects to see one or two complaints about any business. What’s less important is any single complaint than how the business responds – which should be promptly, respectfully and constructively. Depending on several circumstances, some responses on behalf of the practice are public, while others are private.
  • We encourage and grow online praise. Happy patients are less likely to comment publicly than unhappy ones. We can fix that. Through our own specialised technology – along with tried-and-true methodology for improved patient service and communications – we can increase the ratio of good to bad reviews dramatically. See the case study at the top of this page for an example.

Eight steps to improving doctor ratings

As part of Vanguard ‘s online reputation management program, we optimise, monitor and manage the most popular rate-your-doctor websites for client practices, including Yelp, Google+, Vitals, Health-grades and RateMDs. Here’s how:


Reputation management starts with the first appointment. Six carefully crafted questions sort out the happiest from the unhappiest patients.
  1. We claim and consolidate accounts on third-party websites (Yelp!, Vitals, etc.) for each medical practice, allowing us to manage the practice’s identity and respond to public postings.
  2. We monitor patient reviews daily on these and other sites.
  3. We immediately alert a client of any critical review when it is posted.
  4. We draft an immediate response for the practice’s review before posting on the website where the criticism appeared.
  5. We deploy a highly advanced online patient satisfaction survey that uses proprietary computer coding to screen for the happiest and unhappiest patients. Each group is then managed wholly differently.
  6. We help the practice promote the post-appointment survey in its offices, helping garner more responses from more patients. This identifies the complainers in order to address their concerns privately-before they go online to vent. The survey also identifies the happy patients and encourages them to post a review online.
  7. We provide additional feedback mechanisms on each client’s website to encourage private complaints and public praise.
  8. We provide each practice with reputation-management training and support designed to boost overall patient satisfaction.
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12 Signs It's Time to Request a Client Testimonial

12 Signs It's Time to Request a Client Testimonial | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Developing a collection of outstanding client testimonials means not only delivering a great experience but also knowing how and when to ask your client for their thoughts. If you ask too soon, they might not be ready, but if you delay too long it might be too late. Look for one or more of these 12 signs it’s time to request a client testimonial and you’ll know when to get your testimonial request emails, phone call or face-to-face meeting ready.

 

12 Signs It’s Time to Request a Client Testimonial

1. The Praise Email

If you consistently impress your clients, you’ve no doubt received more than one email full of praise. Your client has already gone out of their way to tell you what a great job you’ve done. This is the perfect time to ask for a customer testimonial. Make it easy for your client to submit a testimonial online and you can turn your high praise email into an official client testimonial.

2. A Stellar Meeting

When you meet with your client, sometimes everything just goes smoothly. Maybe you’ve delivered great news or you’ve reached a milestone together. For whatever reason, you know your client will leave your office feeling satisfied. This is a good time to ask for a client testimonial. Have question prompts and a way to record their testimonial ready, so you can get their information right away.

3. Tremendous Results

Some clients experience results that are even better than expected. When you deliver these results to your client, or when they see them for the first time, they’ll be likely to give a client testimonial. Explain the impact of the results if it’s not clear and give your client a moment to enjoy them before asking. Keep in mind that lawful testimonials must give an accurate representation of expected results; you may need to mention that this client’s results, though possible, aren’t typical.

4. Other Reviews

It’s good practice to audit your business reputation online and see what customers are saying. This might be a business review site like Yelp or an industry-specific review site like lawyers.com. As you regularly check in, you may notice previous clients that have talked about your good work unsolicited. If you recognize the name on the review, contact them again to thank them and ask for a client testimonial you can use for your website or marketing materials. If you don’t recognize the name, look at the date the review was posted and see what clients you served near that time.

5. Problem Solved

It doesn’t always take tremendous results to make a big impact; you just need to make a big impact on that client’s life. If your product or service solved a problem your client had, ask them to explain their experience in a client testimonial. Remember, your solution doesn’t have to be earth-shattering to be impactful; you may have simply saved them time, given them confidence, or explained a system they didn’t understand.

6. Parting Ways

Ideally, you would like happy clients to return to your business or maintain an ongoing business relationship, but this isn’t always possible. In many cases, your job has a beginning and an end. Your client may also be relocating out of the area, or their needs have changed. If your business partnership is near its end, ask your loyal customer to mark the occasion with a client testimonial.

7. Contract Renewal

In some industries, clients may work with their preferred businesses for years. If they renew their contract with you or make another long-term commitment, they clearly enjoy working with you. As you thank them for renewing and outline the plan for another fantastic year, ask if they would answer a few questions about your work so far and give a client testimonial.

8. Plan Upgrade

If you offer tiers of service and a customer decides to upgrade, their needs may have changed, they may have new confidence in your business or both. Take this opportunity to reconnect with your client; thank them for their business, explain the new capabilities of their service, and ask for a client testimonial.

9. Recommendation

The goal of testimonials is to show the quality of work you do and inspire confidence and trust through social proof. If a client’s friend, family member, or business associate contacts you, your client has already made an informal testimonial. When you thank them for their recommendation, ask if they will repeat what they said to their associate in an official client testimonial.

10. Positive Customer Survey

Conducting regular surveys on customer happiness is a good way to make sure your business relationships are strong and your own performance is on track. When customers fill out a positive survey, send a response with a client testimonial request. You can even automate this process with email triggers and a testimonial gathering landing page to save time.

11. Implementing Changes

Whether you make a small change to your terms of service, you add new services to your office, or you completely revamp your business model, it’s essential to keep your customers in the loop. Hopefully, the changes you’ve made are informed by the feedback you previously received. Once your clients have had a chance to use and adapt to the new changes, ask them how they feel. Reply to the positive sentiment with a client testimonial request.

12. After an Event

If you see your client at a tradeshow, convention, or another industry event, ask them how business is going. This extra familiarity can go a long ways towards gathering testimonials. During or after the event, follow up and ask them to submit a client testimonial.

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it’s time to ask for a client testimonial! Asking for testimonials can be difficult at first, but it helps to have a system in place and to know when the timing is right. Make it easy to submit testimonials, continue to deliver a terrific experience and you’ll quickly develop a list of client testimonials.

 
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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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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.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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A Guide to a Healthy Online Reputation for Physicians

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

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

Just take a look at these convincing statistics:

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

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

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

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

What’s Being Rated and Reviewed?

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

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

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

Tips for a Healthy Online Reputation

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

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

Physcian Marketing Online Reputation Management Takeaway

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

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

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

No comment yet.