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Taking care of every aspect of a successful medical practice can frequently feel like juggling, or taming a lion. If the complexities of the ever-changing online reviews and reputation management landscape have you feeling overwhelmed, we have a few tips to help you take control of the cacophony of opinions shaping the way potential patients perceive you, as they review your online profiles in websites such as Yelp, Vitals, RateMDs, and Healthgrades.
As you review the factors affecting your medical digital footprint and learn about ways you can improve your online presence, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of remaining true to your Hippocratic Oath, and maintaining the privacy of your patients. If you place these two factors first, all the other pieces of the puzzle will fall into place.
Bedside manner can make or break your online business and brand reputation. Even if you are the most competent and experienced practitioner for your medical specialty, a lack of bedside manner can be devastating in the online review arena. (Check out: “What’s Up, Doc? Doctor Reviews Show that Patients Care More About Service than Medical Expertise”)
In fact, even when doctors deliver results, if their patient interactions are curt, indifferent, harsh, or hurried, chances are the patient will speak negatively of the service they received. Make it a point to practice with compassion, be a good listener, and be willing to invest time and energy in the doctor-patient relationship. The fact is, in regard to online reviews, social media, and reputation management, great bedside manner helps you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to online ratings and popularity scores.
Quality of Care
Bedside manner can only take you so far. If your medical practice is not providing solutions, no matter how nice you are the patients still have the right to voice their opinions, and chances are they will. There are many factors that may affect the results of a treatment or procedure, and frequently these are likely to be outside of your control.
When they are, however, it is essential that you foster a results-driven practice that seeks to provide answers and healing quickly and thoughtfully. Be proactive in changing treatment plans, and be open to using advanced diagnostic tools and procedures as needed, with the goal of providing your patient the best possible outcome. If his or her condition does not show progress, then it is essential that you communicate the whys and hows to help the patient have the best possible quality of life, even when total healing is not in the horizon.
Statistically speaking, we all know there will be times when your patient will not get better. When faced with the scenario of declining health and the possibility of death, communication is your best tool to protect your online and offline business reputation.
If you are sincere, prompt, and caring in informing your patient and his or her family, you set the stage for positive online feedback, even when the prognosis is poor. If your budget and practice infrastructure permit, consider having a patient liaison onsite that is able to tackle the complexities associated with end-of-life decisions, patient-family issues, and palliative care. We are often surprised by the number of highly positive doctor reviews associated with patients facing declining health, when the doctor and his or her staff have made it a point to maintain the channels of communication fully open at all times.
Poorly Planned Online Interactivity
Moving on to your actual online medical footprint, the main factor affecting your reputation relates to spotty and careless management of your reviews, online profiles, mobile-based referrals, and social media.
Centralizing the way you manage and monitor your reviews will greatly improve the chances of maintaining and developing an excellent online reputation. Every review or rating deserves your attention. Make it a point to capture every review from every relevant website, and engage with the reviewers in a manner that best represents caring patient advocacy.
Make sure your practice and professional profiles are accurate and highlight the totality of your experience and credentials. Outdated or incomplete information drives potential high-quality patients away. Conversely, interactive medical practices that show interest and compassion in addressing every review frequently capture the highest percentage of patient leads.
The most damaging action you can take as it relates to your medical practice reputation management is to take no action at all. By neglecting the voice of your patients and failing to maintain the most accurate and updated information for your medical practice on the most popular medical review sites, you are allowing your practice to sink into obscurity.
In this day and age it is not enough to be a great doctor. To effectively grow your practice and grab a larger wallet share, you need to leverage your web presence and embrace a reputation-oriented marketing culture. At ReviewTrackers, we take pride in providing medical practices and private doctors effective review monitoring / review management software designed to take you to the next level, and help you stay on top of your online reputation.