Physician Reputation Management
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One 2018 survey by PatientPop revealed that fully 80% of providers understand that their online reputation matters, but that they had no idea of how to monitor and influence that reputation. The facts are simple. Patients go to the Internet to help them make medical decisions, whether that decision is about the type of treatment to be pursued, or the provider that will be selected.
Physicians have the responsibility to keep track of their online reputation. More than 60% of patients are using websites to get a better feel for a practice prior to making an appointment. The most important web location is Google, but pay attention also to Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals and others.
Most physicians may not take the time to see what types of reviews patients are giving them and this could be detrimental, especially if the negative remarks outweigh the positive ones. Technology makes it easy for patients to go online and write a review about their experience, they can even write reviews within minutes of leaving the office, which makes the remarks difficult to control. Online reputation management should be a key component in your practice's business plan.
Physicians should be proactive about their online presence and assign a person in the office who will keep track of social media. That individual should regularly conduct searches and monitor the physician and practice names. You can also set up an automated monitor at Google Alerts.
Even if some physicians are not online their names, complaints or compliments about them probably are. Create a website for your practice that is user friendly; give patients access to what your practice offers as well as bios on the physicians, PA'S and NP'S you employ. Keep the bios current and make changes if and when a person leaves the practice. It's important to know that you may need to proactively let Google know about changes to your website. This is normally done with the tools located at https://www.google.com/webmasters/. Your website marketing team should be well aware of this tool. Ask them to demonstrate that they use it. Patients will appreciate your updates and it shows that you take an interest in your practice and more importantly you take an interest in how your patients view your practice.
Consistency is imperative when talking about online reputation management. Your reputation lives in two places: online and in-person; pay attention to both. Keep a sign in the waiting room saying you value patient feedback and give them an email address or phone number where they can give comments about the visit. If a patient has a visit that they feel was rushed or just satisfactory then supply him/her with a response and explains how their visits going forward will be improved. Patients might think that the wait time is too long or they may feel like physicians are rushing and you may not be aware of this because you think that everything is going smoothly when it is not. If patients feel comfortable enough telling you or another member of your staff how the appointment went, then they may not feel the need to write about it on other websites.
Physicians know that their reputation is a significant factor in determining patient volume and satisfaction and therefore they need to manage their online reputation. By keeping track of what is being written about the practice you will be able to increase patient satisfaction and decrease the likelihood of negative comments impacting your practice.
Patients are leaving reviews of their provider on multiple sites across the web, which makes it important to claim a listing on as many relevant review sites as possible. Doing so can improve your reputation; it also helps with patient acquisition, especially if your current patients provide good reviews.
There are multiple sites that are obvious choices for a listing such as Google My Business and Yelp. You should also claim profiles on healthcare-specific reviews sites like Healthgrades, Vitals, and ZocDoc, which attract hundreds of thousands of viewers on a regular basis.
After a successful visit, ensure that your front desk asks patients for reviews. A good Google review is arguably the most important as it impacts on your ranking. You can get more reviews by sending reminders to patients after their visit. This can be in the form of a short email, SMS message, or a small handout.
Once you start to build a volume of reviews, take the time to respond. Thank patients for good reviews, and reach out to patients who might leave a poor review.
No one will score 5.0 stars on Google, but concentrate on having as many patients as possible review you and your practice. Assuming you are providing good quality care, the simple law of averages will offset any poor reviews that you might receive.
Patient Experience is a "complete" package..., from parking, to front desk, to examination, to outcome. Be certain that your office environment builds a positive experience for your patient.
Many "negative" reviews say that the knowledge and care was good, but the experience was poor. A rude receptionist can make the whole experience unpleasant.
Make sure that your practice team is committed to a positive experience for your patients.