Doctor Reputation Management in an Online World
Improving patient reviews and enhancing your online reputation is one of the best ways to increase patient books. Learn how to manage doctor reputations today.
How Important is it for a Doctor to Have a Good Online Reputation?
The short answer is critical. The enhancement of internet features and transparency can be a healthcare provider’s simultaneous best friend and worst enemy. Picture any of your favorite web retailer’s average product reviews; well-made products that are universally loved get one-starred for reasons as minute as slightly damaged packaging, while the product remains completely intact and unharmed. If the average user can be that discerning about a cheap and easy internet purchase, the imagination runs wild at both the positive and negative possibilities of healthcare reviews and reputation. Thus, doctor reputation management online becomes of critical importance, because this is where most people will look first to check on the quality of provided care at any given practice.
Reputation Management for Doctors
As we’ve established, in an online world, reputation is of the utmost importance. It instills trust and credibility in patients new and old, and without a positive reputation, the consequences could be dire. Fortunately, reputation management for doctors and healthcare practices can be maintained in a number of simple and effective ways.
Maintain an Informative and Professional Website
A well-designed, user-friendly website is often the vanguard of drawing in new patients to your practice. Creating an easy-to-use website is a highly effective way of capturing new patients’ attention. Offering relevant content such as articles, blog posts, and patient testimonials can be used as an attention-grabber, and adds to the sense of credibility and confidence in all types of patients.
Utilize Social Media Effectively
Create and manage professional social media profiles for your practice on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. This can be an opportunity to streamline your patient engagement by opening a direct line to a more personal side of your practice. However, you must remember that professionalism is key- while certain businesses like major fast food chains can get away with off-color jokes and commentary to gain and maintain customers, the same is not true for a healthcare practice trying to manage a real-world and online reputation. Share relevant healthcare information, engage with your audience, and respond promptly to inquiries or comments in order to build a visibly credible reputation at what could very well be the initial point of contact for new patients.
Encourage and Manage Patient Reviews
Actively encourage satisfied patients to leave positive reviews on reputable review sites like Google, Healthgrades, or RateMDs. Utilizing services like NexHealth’s automated review features can have tremendous results in increasing the number of reviews you receive, while simultaneously (and gently) encouraging positive reviews over negative. Generally speaking, all press is good press, but in the realm of healthcare, trust, credibility, and transparency are paramount to a strong reputation.
Respond to Negative Reviews
Your practice should respond professionally and promptly to negative reviews, addressing concerns and demonstrating a commitment to patient satisfaction. This can include a personal touch and an offer to do right by the jilted patient. Begin your response by acknowledging the specific concerns raised in the review and encourage the patient to take the issue offline.
Provide Accurate Information on Online Directories
This one is simple: what seem like small frustrations and inconveniences on the outside can cause a complete dismissal from a potential patient on the other side of the keyboard. If they cannot get a hold of you or your practice easily, they are more likely to move on to the next one than continue to try to find your correct contact information. Regularly update these listings to reflect any changes in your practice information, including contact information, services offered, and business hours.
Engage in Thought Leadership
Contribute to healthcare discussions and showcase your expertise by writing articles or blog posts, whether on your own website or elsewhere. This gives an accurate impression of your level of knowledge and skill, and greatly enhances your ability to maintain your reputation. In addition to simply writing, webinars, podcasts, or other online events to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, and can easily put a face to the name, giving that ever-effective personal touch to your reputation. Medical reputation management is tricky, but a friendly, wise, and familiar face can go a long way in the right direction.
Monitor Online Mentions
Let’s call back to the adage “all press is good press”. Once again, there is an exception to this rule, and one that is becoming exponentially more common and detrimental- misinformation. In order to effectively engage in reputation management for doctors and healthcare providers, your practice should utilize online monitoring tools to notify you when you are mentioned on the web. Aside from being a good gauge of what kind of traction you are receiving, it can also give you the advantage in responding to any misinformation promptly, thus helping you and your practice to engage with positive mentions to ultimately reinforce a positive reputation, rather than letting a false one fester and grow outside of your view.
Adhere to Patient Privacy Laws
While this particular tip is more of a behind-the-scenes method of doctor reputation management, failure to adhere to this practice can be monstrously detrimental to your carefully constructed public standing. Quite simply, you should always ensure that your online activities comply with patient privacy laws, such as HIPAA. Avoid sharing patient information without consent and educate your staff about the importance of patient confidentiality. Your patients’ information should always be safeguarded as securely as possible, or trust is lost rapidly.
Invest in Online Marketing
Consider investing in targeted online marketing strategies to reach a wider audience. This may include search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, or social media advertising. Search engine optimization is the practice of optimizing your online presence to rank high on Google and other search engines, as statistics show that most people do not move beyond the first page of results for their query. Ensure that you are as high as possible on that first page to increase digital and physical traffic in the direction of your practice. Social media is a vast opportunity for direct patient engagement and transparency, but a poorly managed profile can tarnish even the most stellar reputation, as the rules can be different online.
Case Study: How Pinecrest Dental Increases Monthly Reviews 10x
Dr. Williams, the owner of Pinecrest Dental, emphasizes the critical role of positive reviews in attracting patients. According to him, without positive feedback, a significant majority—around 80-90%—of potential patients may choose to avoid your practice. Negative reviews can significantly impede patient flow more than any other factor.
Securing consistent positive reviews poses a challenge for most practices. This is why Dr. Williams opted for NexHealth to streamline the review request process. "Immediately after patients leave our office, they receive a notification prompting them to share their feedback."
The impact has been substantial for Pinecrest Dental. With NexHealth, they now receive 5-10 times more monthly reviews on Google, and team would see positive reviews come through during the weekend or off hours.
How NexHealth Can Help You Create and Maintain a Stellar Image
As previously mentioned, NexHealth has a variety of features that can contribute to your positive reputation. Automated messaging and communication features help patients stay engaged and feel seen and heard by their providers, leading to an overall feeling of satisfaction with the practice. Tools that generate review prompts and subtly hint towards the realm of the positive can have an immensely beneficial impact on your online presence. By automating administrative tasks (including online reputation management and media presence) with NexHealth, you free up an average of 3 hours per day per practice to focus on the most important feature of your reputation- quality care.