Five Tips to Manage Online Physician Reputation
Managing an online reputation seems like a daunting task, especially for a busy physician and their staff. So, here are top five areas to focus on for the greatest benefits to online reputation.
1. Check for accuracy. Even if you don’t plan to manage information on all review websites, it is important to at least ensure that the information that is listed is accurate. One of our employees recently found a physician’s personal cell phone number and home address listed on Healthgrades®. So, when she clicked to view the street address, she immediately had a street view of the physician’s home. When she called the physician’s cell phone, the doctor appreciated being notified about the personal information being displayed on a public website. If you haven’t claimed your listing, the websites do their best to find your information, but it may not be accurate. Block out some time to check your information and Google and Bing yourself to see what shows up.
2. Claim key listings. Even if you don’t claim listings on all of the review sites, it is important to claim your listings on the most popular sites (refer to pie chart from Part 1). Most are free to claim and allow you to correct information and interact with reviewers.
3. Observe trends. Focus on one or two review sites and take one hour monthly (or ask someone on your staff) to note positive and negative trends. If patients are all complaining about how long wait times or unpleasant reception staff, perhaps action needs to be taken to address those issues. Conversely, if patients routinely comment about positive care experiences, thank and reward your staff for a job well done.
4. Engage. While it’s not always possible, blocking some time out each month to engage with patients online will let patients feel heard and appreciated. Make an effort to respond to all negative reviews privately and perhaps take a moment to thank a patient publically for a positive review.
Sample Reply to negative comment: Hello [username], We appreciate your feedback and would like to find out what might have gone wrong with your visit and how we can improve next time. Please contact our office at _____ or email us at _______ so we might research your issue and prevent future negative experiences. Please do not share patient information in this public forum. Thanks, Dr. ______
Sample Reply to positive comment: Hello [username], I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed your experience at our clinic. If you ever have any suggestions on how we can improve our practice, we’d love to hear them. Please don’t hesitate to email us at _____. We look forward to serving you in the future.
5. Encourage positive reviews. Create a simple card to hand out to patients after their appointment to request that they go online and take a moment to review their experience. The card should include which website(s) to review as well as any other details they need to know to ensure they can easily find your practice or physician name on the website.