The Internet has completely changed the way that patients select physicians, especially for those seeking specialty or Integrative care independent from insurance plans. According to a survey of 50,000 patients, 25% found their doctor online and made a decision to call based on online reviews. We believe that this number could be even higher when considering the tech-savvy Millennial generation, now in their mid-30s. If you want to build or grow your online reputation, these 5 simple steps will get you started in the right direction.
1) Google yourself and search the top healthcare rating sites for your name and your practice’s name.
Before you can go about managing your online reputation, first get a sense of what patients have already said about their experiences with you and your office. Have one of your support staff create a Word or Google document that summarizes your ratings and patient feedback in one place. With this big-picture view, you can easily see the areas in which your office could improve and go about tactics to improve your ratings if needed. Here are links to a few of the top healthcare rating sites to help you get started:
2) Update all of your online profiles on the sites listed above.
Personalize each page with a short bio or short paragraph that describes your practice and/or specialties. Complete each field on the sites and be sure to correct any errors, such as the best telephone numbers to use. Of course, link to your own website if you have one! In addition, uploading a recent professional photograph of yourself can go a surprisingly long way in attracting new patients.
3) Put one of your staff members in charge of “reputation management” and reporting ongoing.
Ideally, this person will monitor both praises and complaints and will have the communication skills necessary to deal with negative reviews right away. The larger task of ongoing reporting could easily be completed once per week and any new content—good and bad—could be copied/pasted into a word document (along with a link to the comment) that is sent to you or presented at a staff meeting.
4) Use automation to monitor online feedback in real-time.
To do so, set a Google alert, which will send a report with links to new content that is posted on the web featuring your search term. You can choose either daily or weekly email reports. These instant reports come with a couple of major benefits: First, you can use positive reviews as testimonials on your website or social media pages. Second, your office will gain the ability to respond to negative reviews as soon as they are posted.
5) Address the negative reviews appropriately.
If you get a negative review, there is no need to panic, as patients know that you no one is perfect 100% of the time. In fact, a couple of less-than-stellar reviews will make the rest of your positive reviews appear more authentic. In fact, the best way to overcome a negative review is by gaining more positive reviews from satisfied patients. When it comes to responding to negative reviews, be very careful with how you handle them, as HIPAA does limit what you can say. Do not try to correct or argue with a patient online. Instead, encourage the post author to call your office and speak with someone instead.
If you’re interested in creating a plan to generate more online reviews, there are a couple of services that can assist patients in posting, either by proxy or guiding the patient to post where the practice needs it most. A couple examples of these sites are Demandforce and MyPracticeReputation.