Why Physicians Need to Care About Their Online Reputation

When patients Google your name and practice, what are the first results that appear? Chances are, review sites like WebMD and Vitals are among the top search results.  Your online reputation is being looked at by 83% of patients who are looking to find a medical provider. However, a shocking 78% of those provider listings are inaccurate. Things like your hours, area of specialty, phone number, or website may be wrong. All things that can hurt your practice. 

It can be stressful for physicians to have their reputation in the hands of third-party sites that share reviews from patients. These sites allow patients to review and rate physicians, without the physician having the ability to remove any negative ratings. 

At the end of the day, patients rely on online reviews to help make educated decisions when choosing a physician. 

Why Your Online Reputation Matters

When incorrect information about your practice is visible online, it can hurt your business. Your online reputation is vital to growing your practice because it is your digital footprint. Just like you wouldn’t want to advertise incorrect information about your practice on a billboard or brochure, you don’t want to have wrong listing details online. 

Potential patients who rely on these reviews and search results will see incomplete online profiles or negative and contradictory reviews are less likely to book an appointment. 

If You Don’t Take Control, Who Will? 

Believe it or not, but there are still doctor’s offices and medical practices that do not have a website or active online presence. However, they are not ever truly offline. Chances are, there is a myriad of patient-generated content about the practice, which is being unmonitored. The likelihood of there being false information is very high. 

The dangers of not having a controlled online presence means there is a high probability of your practice being painted in poor light. Receiving more reviews that are negative are likely, and there is nothing you can do about it. The majority of review sites do not allow physicians or a business to remove negative reviews, at the sake of providing patients and users with unbiased information so they can make a decision regarding their medical providers. 

Social media sites also offer review capabilities, so if a practice does not have a claimed business Facebook account, a “user generated” page can be created.  Practices are able to claim them and take control of this profile. 

What you can do is claim your online pages and take control of the situation.  While you are not able to remove negative reviews, you can respond to them. This lets you negate any false claims or provide a phone number where disgruntled patients may be able to discuss why they were unhappy with their visit or experience. Potential patients will see these responses, which is why it is important to make these replies professional and factual.  However, when a practice or physician engages with these types of reviews, it adds credibility to their online reputation. 

Why Reputation Management is Crucial

Taking over your online presence can be a daunting task. Depending on what sites have been generated by users, it can be a time intensive process. This is why many practices and providers are using full-service reputation management companies, like Valet Health with Valet LaunchPad as a foundational product solution. 

We treat each provider and practice like it is our own business and our own online reputation. As a full-service reputation management service, we will claim your online profiles and ensure accuracy and up-to-date, including holiday hours and weather-related closures.  Being “full-service” means we do not stop there.

It is important to monitor your online reviews and have quick, effective replies in the event of a negative review or rating. Using standard replies can be helpful in circumstances when an unhappy patient posts a negative review, with the hopes of taking control of the situation. 

Creating a review management strategy to redirect negative reviews can reduce the number of negative reviews that are posted online. A specific, tactical approach to gather high quality reviews and ratings by using well-designed landing pages, social media advertising, and strategic review requests. This helps your practice utilize these reviews for good, in order to attract even more patients.

Physician online reputation is foundational with LaunchPad as the cornerstone and most efficiently way to get started.

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