Online Reputation Management For Medical Practices
Reputation has a direct correlation to the success of your medical practice and the number of patients you’ll have flowing in and out of your office. This is nothing new to the business world, but as online reputations are gaining more and more importance in today’s internet-obsessed world, it’s worth taking another look at.
Today, many people rely on internet searches to find health care providers, and a large majority of those potential patients will be easily swayed to and from medical practices by positive and negative reviews. Creating a good online reputation takes a large investment in time and energy, but with the growing emphasis on online reviews and ratings, it is ultimately worth it.
Potential patients that search for you on the internet will be immediately impacted by their results. If you don’t have an online presence at all, they will consider your practice not quite legitimate and unprofessional. A simple star rating, put into comparison with other medical professionals’ online ratings, could quickly and simply determine whether or not your practice is even up for consideration. Here are some basic tips for managing your online reputation to give the best impressions to potential patients online.
This is probably the most important thing to consider when interacting with patients online, since confidentiality violations have some of the most serious consequences out of anything that could hurt you online. Review your HIPAA agreements, and, as a general rule, never share anything specific or personal about their information or procedures.
2. Take emotions out of your responses.
It hurts to read negative reviews, whether they’re true or not. And, unfortunately, it is impossible that 100% of your patients will have a 100% positive experience at your practice 100% of the time. Everyone gets negative reviews, and that fact actually makes your profile seem more credible when you have some negative reviews compared to if all of your reviews are raving about your brilliance. Before responding to a review, give yourself a day or two to make sure that emotions are filtered out of it. You want to respond as civilly and professionally as possible.
3. Respond Wisely
It doesn’t need to be said that it is important to respond and reply to reviews, both positive and negative. This gives you a chance to show gratitude to those who are promoting you and an explanation to those who haven’t had a good experience. However, remember that you won’t be able to please everyone. Do not get involved in extensive arguments online, pointing fingers and slanting insults; this makes you look childish, and while your accuser may not have much to lose by continuing this flame war, you do. Beyond one or two responses at most, let the issue go, and if you can identify the patient, just give them a call to discuss it in a more private and personal manner.
4. Ask your patients for feedback.
Actively encourage your patients to post feedback online. The type of patient most likely to take their own initiative to take the time to post a review online is one that had a negative experience. However, by encouraging your patients to post reviews will boost the number of positive reviews and thus balance out the overall perception of your practice.
Olivia Lin writes for Austin Oral Surgery, an oral surgery clinic always looking to maintain its reputation.