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TestHealthcare Reputation Management for Doctors & Medical Practices

Healthcare Reputation Management for Doctors & Medical Practices

What is Healthcare Reputation Management?

Healthcare reputation management (HRM) has grown increasingly important for doctors, medical practices, and hospitals alike. As more patients search for their providers online, it’s important to have a strong online image and presence — one that instills confidence in your doctors’ abilities. HRM means taking control of your image and brand to attract more patients.

To better understand HRM, ask yourself the following questions:

When prospective patients search for your medical practice or doctors’ names online, what do they see? What’s their first impression?

Go to Google and search for your individual doctors or medical practice. You may be surprised by the results…

When doctors hear the marketing buzz phrase “reputation management,” they tend to think only of their online reviews.

HRM encapsulates a doctor’s:

  • Online profiles, reviews, and ratings across Google, Healthgrades, Vitals, WebMD, Facebook, and more
  • Presence across online physician directories
  • Authored articles
  • Medical practice website

Reputation management for doctors is a hot topic. The use of internet and social media has exploded in recent years, and many patients now rely primarily on the internet for healthcare provider recommendations.

Historically, many physicians only grew their patient base through word-of-mouth. This is no longer necessarily true. Now, more and more patients are being sourced from the web through paid ads, organic search, online reviews, and online physician directories.

Benefits of Reputation Management

The goal of HRM is to optimize a doctor’s online digital footprint. And, with an effective HRM strategy in place, doctors and medical practices will attract more patients, increase their practice profitability, and build their reputation in the communities they serve. Additionally, a strong online presence with an abundance of 5-star reviews will help medical practices outshine their local competition, making them the “go-to provider” in their area.

The Importance of Managing Your Online Image

Managing a doctor’s online presence has never been more important. After all, we live in an increasingly digital age as more and more patients turn to the internet for healthcare recommendations.

Doctors spend their careers building their reputation and brand. They work tirelessly to earn the respect of their community and professional peers.

As a physician, your online reputation takes years to build and moments to ruin. One online review from a disgruntled patient (or competitor) can tarnish your reputation, costing you patients and money. And when that reputation is tarnished, others notice.

In some instances, reviews can be removed from the internet if they violate certain guidelines set by review platforms like Google, Healthgrades, and Vitals. Typically, however, once a negative review is posted online, it stays there for years for new patients to see.

Let’s say you had 24 reviews, averaging 2.8 stars on Google — would you be proud of those numbers? Would you feel comfortable posting those same reviews and testimonials on your own website? Probably not…

And, as a patient, would you really feel comfortable scheduling an operation with a doctor who has subpar reviews and ratings?

Imagine you are prospective patient searching for a pediatric ophthalmologist in New York City. Your primary care physician provided you with two referral options. After a quick Google Search, who would you choose below?

Similarly, if you were searching for an orthopedic practice in Raleigh, rather than an individual surgeon, which would you choose?

Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic Google My Business
Duke Orthopaedics of Raleigh - Google My Business

Another way patients frequently find their providers is through a local search — or a “near me” search — on Google. An example of a local search is “best orthopedic surgeon near me” or “best urologist in Boston, MA”. In these instances the patient is looking for recommendations. When patients perform these searches, the Google 3-Pack appears at the top of search results, before any organic listings. 

In the below example, we Googled “best orthopedic clinic in Raleigh North Carolina”. The Google 3-Pack appears immediately below, featuring three Google Business Profiles (GBP). 

You’ll notice the top two listings are actually both from Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic. Combined, both listings have over 2,000 Google reviews averaging 4.8 and 4.7 stars. Compare this to the third GBP listing from Wake Orthopaedics, with only 58 reviews and 3.5 stars. 

Based on these local search results, if you were a patient, who would you call: Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic or Wake Orthopaedics?

This is a prime example of how a negative online image can be deterring patients from booking an appointment. And, thanks to their stellar online image, Raleigh Ortho is outshining their local competition online and attracting more patients. 

Healthcare Reputation Management Statistics

To fully comprehend the importance of HRM, consider the following statistics.

  • 77% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor.
  • 47% of patients would go out-of-network for a similar doctor with better reviews.
  • 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians.

Heard about a new restaurant opening in town? Perhaps you’re visiting a new city and don’t know where to go for lunch? In this scenario, many people immediately turn to Google for recommendations, reviews, and ratings. You may be willing to eat at a 3-star restaurant, but most people wouldn’t feel comfortable getting an operation from a 3-star doctor. After all, nothing is more important than your own health and well-being. Searching for a doctor is no different.

Place yourself in the patients’ shoes. Imagine you’re in need of a new physician or specialist. Word of mouth is certainly important. However, it’s hard to come by if you’re in a new city or don’t have local connections. Therefore, much like patients these days, it’s time for you to put greater stock in the power of platforms like Google, Healthgrades, Vitals, WebMD, and Facebook.

FREE Online Reputation Scorecard

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See how your online listings appear across every major reputation website, including Google, Healthgrades, Vitals, and more!

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Tips & Tricks for Managing Your Online Reputation

Create and Claim Your Online Listings

First and foremost, medical practices and doctors should create and/or claim all of their online listings on Google, Healthgrades, Vitals, WebMD, and Facebook.

By gaining control of your listings, you can ensure all of the information in your listings is correct. Claiming your listings ensures you’re able to keep them updated with any changes or activity.

There are hundreds of online directories where you could create listings; however, keep in mind that not all directories are equal. Focus on the review sites and directories that matter. The most popular review platforms for doctors are Google, Healthgrades, Vitals, WebMD, and Facebook.

Optimize Your Online Listings

Once your online listings are created and claimed, it’s vital to fill them out completely and accurately, especially on Google.

You can complete your Google listings by adding office hours, a description of your medical background, and outlining your speciality. Make sure to be as specific as possible. One common mistake to avoid is categorizing yourself as a “doctor,” instead of as an “orthopedic surgeon.” If you want to appear in online searches for “best orthopedic surgeon near me”, it’s you must put yourself in that category to begin with.

By default, Google will sometimes use the Google Maps image as your profile picture. By claiming your listing, you can choose your profile picture and instead use a headshot or photo of your team or medical practice.

At rater8, we highly recommend using professional-quality photos in your listings. A headshot taken in poor lighting on an Android won’t make a very strong impression with prospective patients. You should have a professional headshot to convey the standard of excellent you provide.

Rank 1st in local search results!

Everything Providers Should Know About Google Business Profiles

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Automate Review Requests

Grow your online reviews through automation.

At rater8, we’ve seen medical practices experiment with different ways to build online reviews. Some hand out a business card, some have a sign at the front desk with a QR code, and some verbally ask patients to leave an online review. Unfortunately, none of these ideas are practical nor effective. Manually emailing — or worse, snail-mailing — patients to request a review is too time-consuming to be a great strategy either.

Fortunately, the process of cultivating online reviews can be completely automated, thanks to HRM solutions like rater8. We text or email review requests to patients immediately after checkout and, with a 28% response rate, we’ll ensure you have a steady increase of online reviews over time. An abundance of recent, high-quality reviews will instill greater confidence in patients seeking your services.

Cultivate a Balanced Online Image

Build a balanced online image with tons of 5-star ratings across the most popular healthcare review platforms.

When it comes to HRM, we recommend initially focusing your efforts on Google. Over time, however, you should aim to grow your online reviews across other popular review platforms like Healthgrades, Vitals, Facebook, and WebMD. The goal is to have a perfect, balanced online image across all review platforms, not just on one.

Monitor and Reply to Online Reviews

Monitor and reply to all your online reviews.

To keep a pulse on any new reviews written about your practice or doctors online, designate an employee to stay on top of any new activity. While this may seem like a daunting task for large practices that have dozens of listings across multiple review sites, it can be made easy with rater8’s centralized dashboard. Conveniently view all of your reviews and ratings from each listing in one location.

Keeping an eye on new reviews will also allow you to respond to them — positive and negative ones alike — in a timely manner. When replying to online reviews, remember to be clear, concise, and professional. Remember, you’re replying to patients, so it’s important to be mindful of HIPAA guidelines.

Build a Modern Website

Build a modern, responsive website.

Imagine this: A prospective patient managed to find your practice on Google, and they thought you looked like the answer to their healthcare needs. So, instead of checking out your competitors, they clicked on your website  — and were greeted with a homepage straight out of 2002.

Your website is where the majority of patients will go to book an appointment. It shouldn’t just leave a strong — and positive — first impression, but it should also be easy to navigate.

Here’s another rater8 tip: Once you’ve built a high volume of 5-star reviews, be sure to highlight that social proof of your quality care directly on the homepage and your doctors’ bio pages.

rater8: Leaders in Healthcare Reputation Management

Do any of the following sound familiar?

  • Your medical practice or individual doctors are plagued with poor online reviews and ratings.
  • You’re investing a ton of time and energy asking patients to leave online reviews — and seeing minimal results.
  • Your competitors are outranking and outperforming you online.
  • You’re looking to increase your new patient volume.

rater8 is the leader in healthcare reputation management. Our industry-leading solution was designed specifically for healthcare providers — we understand your challenges and goals. We’ll help you cultivate 5-star reviews so you can attract more patients and thrive in a hyper-competitive market.

rater8 offers a risk-free, 30-day free trial, so why not get started today? We take care of the activation and setup so you can sit back and watch your online reviews and ratings take off.

See rater8 in action!

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