A negative online review can be hazardous to one’s business reputation.
This is particularly true for doctors, hospitals, and healthcare marketers and organizations. More than ever, patients and their families are consulting multiple online review sites to determine where they should book an appointment and who to receive treatment from.
Here are some interesting numbers worth considering:
- A staggering 94 percent of Internet users who have visited a doctor reviews site consider the reviews useful. (Institute for Healthcare Policy, 2014)
- 85 percent of patients are not comfortable choosing a physician if more than 10 percent of that physician’s reviews have a one-star rating. (Digital Assent, 2013)
- About 1 out of 3 patients use either industry-specific medical review sites or more general consumer review sites as tools for finding doctors or healthcare providers. (American Osteopathic Association, 2014)
- 47 percent of patients who look up a physician online feels differently about that physician after reading his or her profile and reviews. (Vitals, 2013)
Healthcare professionals and marketers can protect their business reputation by claiming their listings and monitoring their reviews on these review sites:
Yelp is one of the most popular review sites for restaurants and bars, but did you know that CEO Jeremy Stoppelman originally created Yelp as a place to find doctor reviews and ratings? “It all goes back to 2004,” Stoppelman said. “It was summer. We were kind of looking for the next big thing on the consumer Web: the next big Internet idea. But the first month, I got sick. I wanted to go see a doctor. So I did a search online to see what doctors were near me, and who was good. But I couldn’t find a good doctor. There was no information that would lead me to a good doctor. I went to insurance websites, there was a little bit of directory information, and that just stuck with me. I was like: I should be able to know who the best doctor in the city is.”
Today, Yelp has grown to become one of the world’s biggest review sites – with multiple business categories that include doctors and medical professionals. To claim your practice listing on Yelp, just visit https://biz.yelp.com/. You can also check out the ReviewTrackers guide on claiming your Yelp page.
Along with Yelp, Healthgrades ranks as today’s most trusted site for online reviews and ratings of doctors, dentists, and hospitals. The site lets users browse and find specialists by location, by specialty, by condition, and by procedure. Nearly one million people a day rely upon Healthgrades to research, compare and connect with physicians and other healthcare professionals.
You can claim and update your free profile on Healthgrades by registering on the site and visiting https://update.healthgrades.com. The site also has sponsored programs for providers looking to promote their practice.
Meanwhile, if you’re managing or marketing a hospital or some other healthcare facility, you can also check out Healthgrades’ solutions suite to drive growth, increase engagement, and improve quality and clinical performance.
Another leading resource for healthcare reviews and information is New-Jersey-headquartered Vitals, which is home to over 1 million doctor, dentist, and medical facility profiles and more than 5 million reviews and ratings. Vitals’ database allows users to search by specialty, name, location, condition, and insurance.
To claim your practice’s listing on Vitals, visit https://vitals.com/ and sign up. Once you’re in, you can manage and edit your information, including display name, practice address, specialties and expertise, and education and awards. With a Vitals profile, you’ll also have the ability to respond to reviews.
Wellness.com isn’t just a doctor reviews and ratings site; it’s also a comprehensive go-to resource for all kinds of health and medical information. It hosts several wellness blogs, provides interactive visitor surveys, and publishes information – including ratings and reviews – on doctors (across multiple categories / specialties), insurance, facilities, and more.
You can get listed on Wellness.com by enrolling in the site’s Wellness Provider Program. Just visit http://www.wellness.com/docs/12761/wellness-provider-program and use the search box to find and claim your business page. To see if you’re already listed, go to http://www.wellness.com/provider/public/search. You can also create a new profile by going to https://www.wellness.com/secure/provider/public/add.
For more information, check out the Wellness.com Business FAQ Page.
Google+ / Google+ Local
Google is the world’s biggest search engine, and it has also quickly become one of the most powerful llocal business discovery engines on the Web – thanks to services like Google Maps, Google+ Local, and Google Search. Google has its own database of online reviews of doctors, hospitals, and healthcare professionals and facilities. To create or edit your restaurant listing on Google, visit the Google My Business page at www.google.com/business. You can also check ReviewTrackers’ guide on how to claim your listing via Google My Business.
ZocDoc is the OpenTable of doctors and health professionals, offering a platform for booking appointments instantly. Founded in 2007, ZocDoc also publishes essential information for patients, such as doctor reviews, office addresses, and open appointment times. It also has a free mobile app to help patients find and book appointments with doctors using their mobile devices.
Launched in 2004, RateMDs is home to over 2 million doctor ratings and reviews and also includes current health trends coverage and medical specialties information. It also lists and rates top hospitals and facilities across the US – providing critical info such as cleanliness of the facility and list of amenities.
Doctors and healthcare providers are listed on RateMDs for free. To claim, manage, and edit your listing, click on the “Claim Doctor Profile” located at the top of your reviews page. You can also contact RateMDs to remove fake listings, or if you’re no longer practicing.
Dubbing itself “The Good Dentist Guide,” Dr. Oogle is one of today’s leading sites for dentist reviews and ratings – totaling over 188,500 (and growing). According to their dynamic trackers, Doctor Oogle has also generated approximately 56,000 appointments and more than 6,000 e-consultations; the site also happens to serve as a platform for posting dental questions and receiving advice from interested dentists in a user’s location.
Dr. Oogle can generate listings of your practice – with or without consent – because your information is already considered public and made available by the State Dental Board. You can, however, maintain your listing’s accuracy and update your office information by going to https://www.dr-oogle.com/sitemap1.cfm. Alternatively, you can contact the site at: https://www.dr-oogle.com/user/contact.cfm/.
Doctor.com is not so much a review site as it is a platform that lets you tap into multiple healthcare networks on the Web. The Doctor.com network covers an audience of about 30 million people each month and includes the most popular healthcare, local, and review sites, like Google, Yelp, Bing, Vitals, and Healthline.
Signing up for Doctor.com gives you visibility on the sites across its network, as well as access to review generation tools, your practice’s own Showcase Page, and experienced practice consultants. For more information, visit http://www.doctor.com/providers.
RealPatientRatings owns one of the largest databases of verified plastic surgery patient reviews. The reviews generated by the site all come from a survey completed by real patients who have completed a qualified visit to a doctor’s office. Plastic surgeons can sign up to receive reviews on RealPatientRatings by visiting http://www.therealratingsgroup.com/deliver-amazing-patient-experiences-and-grow-your-online-reviews/.
Another site that provides patients with reviews of plastic surgeons, cosmetic treatments, and similar services is RealSelf. Founded in 2006, RealSelf has generated 51 million unique visitors and 287,000 answers from board-certified doctors and specialists (for the Q&A tool) in 2014. You can claim your practice’s listing on RealSelf by going to http://www.realself.com/dr/claimprofile.
UCompareHealthCare allows users to search for doctors, medical professionals, hospitals, and nursing homes by location, specialty, or doctor name. The site offers highly comprehensive comparisons of healthcare providers based on data available from federal and state government agencies and multiple third-party sources. Chances are that your practice is already listed on the site, but if you would like to add your listing, contact the UCompareHealthCare team.
Once you’ve created or claimed your listing, you can follow these best practices in managing your online reputation.
- Update your information. Always ensure that the information in your listing is up-to-date, accurate, and complete.
- Respond to reviews. On sites where you can, respond to what patients are saying about your practice. This allows you to minimize the impact of a negative review or reinforce the great user experience detailed in a positive review.
- Track regularly. By investing time and effort in tracking doctor reviews, you can gain patient-driven insights that can boost not only your reputation, but also your service levels and performance.