Reputation and review management for medical doctors and other healthcare professionals is not an easy quest.
While patients are free to voice whatever they deem appropriate on popular medical directories and review sites, doctors are held to a higher standard of privacy and professional ethics. Because medical practitioners are by no means on even grounds when it comes to two-way engagement with reviewers, doing everything in their power to assure that patient and customer experiences are positive and conducive to highly rated reviews is essential.
In the case of reputation management for medical practices, the key is prevention of negative customer feedback.
There are many factors that shape the opinions patients have about their doctor and support staff, but at the end of the day the bulk of patients’ opinions are shaped based on their interactions with their medical practitioner.
Ensuring that you put your best foot forward with every patient engagement will help you solidify your online reputation and get ahead of the competition by receiving more and better patient reviews. (Check out: “Study Reveals that Yelp and Healthgrades Are Most Trusted Sites for Online Doctor Reviews”)
Increase Patient Satisfaction, Boost Online Reviews
Let’s take a look at 9 great tips that can help you increase patient satisfaction and boost your reviews and rating scores on Yelp, Healthgrades, and other important third-party review sites. (And if you don’t know where to start managing these reviews, check out this list to get a better idea of where patients might be talking about you.)
Remember: if you are a solo medical practitioner or you run a larger medical clinic as a senior partner, the principles remain the same. Work toward crafting your delivery of medical care in a way that shapes and directs your patients’ opinions and results in outstanding online and offline referrals.
Tip 1: Be a Great Listener
The diatribes are endless. Patients often feel like they are invisible to their doctors and become frustrated at practitioners whose patient engagement goes from auscultation to monologue. Becoming a good listener is a matter of tact, and the benefits go beyond the patient.
A doctor who listens has insights into the lifestyle and symptoms of the patient, equipping him or her to be a much better diagnostician. Even in the absence of a clear diagnostic, doctors who listen are better able to empathize with the symptoms of the patient and offer better management of symptoms, providing a more accurate diagnostic. Just a few minutes spent on Healthgrades will reveal how important listening is to the overall patient experience.
Tip 2: Be Flexible
Connecting with patients demands great flexibility in access of care, in terms of options for treatment, and in the incorporation of non-traditional medicine and other wellness options.
Medicine should be a collaborative process between patients and their doctors. Taking a dictator-like approach where no other opinion counts but the one given by the physician can significantly damage the relationship and result in reduced trust and negative online and offline feedback.
Great physicians embrace the mantra of “My way is not the only way” and are willing to explore other avenues and make accommodations, within reason, to help their patients achieve optimal health. Flexibility as a personal trait can tremendously and positively impact your reputation as well as your reviews.
Tip 3: Adapt, Innovate, and Embrace New Tools and Technologies
There is value in staying up to date and embracing continuous medical training and education. Knowing what the next best thing is will equip you to provide your patients with more options that in some cases can be life saving.
Look for new and better ways to do things, and be willing to embrace technology. Even simple changes such as digital records can significantly improve the level of care you can give to your patients, and help you convey a better professional image.
Tip 4: Meet Your Patients at Their Point of Need
Availability matters. Even if you are a coveted specialist, you need to find a system that allows you to prioritize your consultations in order to meet patients at their point of need. Consider setting aside a day or a few hours per week to deal with patients that require urgent attention. Making yourself available when needed the most will leave a lasting impression in the heart and mind of your patients; and more often than not, it will trigger superior online reviews and reinforce patient loyalty.
Tip 5: Avoid a Self-Important Approach
Humility and empathy can go a long way. Work on having a demeanor that is relatable, and find common ground with your patients.
One of the most common complaints regarding medical doctors, in particular specialists, has to do with an “uppity” attitude in dealing with patients. Protect your online reputation by taking the time to reach out to your patients and making them feel like they matter.
Tip 6: Invest in the Community
One of the easiest and most effective approaches to amplifying your reach and becoming a household name in your community is to find ways to serve those around you, separate from your medical practice.
Find ways to volunteer for or sponsor activities that matter to your patients and their families, and engage with your community at a personal level. Doctors who are well-integrated into their communities usually garner higher scores on Healthgrades and other third-party review sites.
Tip 7: Contextualize the Consultation
Step back and consider all the factors affecting your patients’ health. Use all the resources available to contextualize the consultation. Listen for queues from your patients, and take into account their medical history. Context can help you arrive at an accurate diagnostic quicker, and it will help you connect with your patients more effectively.
Tip 8: Engage Others in Patient Satisfaction Initiatives
A good percentage of medical ailments have an environmental or psychosomatic element to them. When taking care of patients, take a holistic approach and consider other factors that may be impacting their satisfaction level: waiting room area, ease of making appointments, staff service, etc.
When appropriate, also consider involving patients’ families to help you reach an accurate diagnostic, and to support patients through the healing process. Doctors who are willing to engage relatives in the care of patients will generally be more effective and thus secure better overall online ratings.
Tip 9: Engage with Patients Online
Don’t ignore the patients that have taken the time to review your practice. While you may not have a ton of leeway on what you can say in light of patient privacy, taking the time to acknowledge patients via a review response will do wonders for 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.