How to Manage Your Practice’s Online Reputation

Before choosing a Improve your practice's online reputationnew doctor, many healthcare consumers do their due diligence and spend time researching a doctor and/or practice online. By reading online ratings and reviews, they’re forming an opinion of your practice before they even set foot in your office. A recent report by MDValuate found that 72 percent of consumers will make a decision to select or de-select a doctor based upon online ratings. As millennials become even larger consumers of healthcare, it will become even more critical to have a positive online presence.

Here are a few simple steps to help you manage your online reputation:

Monitor regularly

It’s important to continuously monitor review sites to know how you are being portrayed online. Don’t have time to add another item to your to-do list? Consider investing in a dedicated monitoring system to track what is being said about your office, or consider designating (such as an office manager) or hiring a staff member to help monitor the net regularly.

Engage with patients online

Don’t ignore the patients that have taken the time to review your practice. Even though you might be limited in what you can say due HIPAA guidelines and patient privacy, taking the time to acknowledge patients with a response is a great way to help boost your online reputation.

Your response not only tells the patient reviewing you that you care, but it also tells future potential patients that you are a practitioner who is committed to each patient at a personal level.

When coming across a negative review, consider calling the patient or inviting them to your office to discuss their concerns. Responding to them personally increases the likelihood of the patient removing the negative review. If you do choose to respond online, don’t get into specifics. Instead, write about general policies and standard protocols.

Encourage your patients to post reviews

It’s important to be proactive about recruiting online reviews to retain or attract new patients. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of online reviewers post positive or neutral reviews, so don’t be hesitant to ask for patient feedback. A few suggestions to elicit an online review include: adding clickable links to popular reviews sites to the practice’s website, keeping a tablet at the front desk where patients can post reviews before leaving the office, or follow-up with the patient by email.

Patients comment on everything from medical billing errors, to parking, to bedside manner. Discovering what patients are saying about you online, provides an opportunity to improve your practice. Patient experience is more important than ever, so use your patient feedback to your advantage.

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