Online reputation can have career implications for physicians

While we have seen a continued increase of online activity in the healthcare space over the past few years, I don’t think we are even scratching the surface of what’s to come.

Aside from consumer driven trends on the web, cloud computing is having a dramatic impact on the business enterprise environment and healthcare is next. All this points in one direction for doctors: your online reputation may become as or more important than your offline reputation. It stands to reason that physicians in elective fields probably have a bit more at stake, but one’s online reputation can have a myriad of career implications for all.

More important? Yes, the reach of the web is far greater than word of mouth.

Don’t mistake my comments to mean I advocate physicians need get absorbed in web hype … and there is plenty. Rather, pay pro-active attention to your online reputation and the building thereof. Despite even the most judicious oversight however, getting a “ding” is easier than ever. While most sites will correct factual mistakes it’s not always simple or quick.

Also, negative reviews by patients are not likely going to get removed unless they cross some boundary the site in question deems inappropriate. In those cases, the only recourse is to develop enough positive press to effectively bury the negative press. There is nothing wrong with asking pleased patients to write a little review for you. A steady stream of positive comments puts you far ahead of the game.

To help with the reactive side of reputation management, this article from American Medical News is helpful: Negative online reviews leave doctors with little recourse.

Tobin Arthur is CEO and founder of iMedExchange and blogs at his self-titled site, Tobin Arthur.

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  • http://ShrinkRap Dinah

    Thanks for this. I linked to it and put it up with a vignette on Shrink Rap. I’d love to have your readers comment on the case over there as well:

  • Brooks

    Yes, this is intereresting. You can now “rate your doctor” …think about it, the people that complain – usually complain about everything anyways. How many people will write about a mediocre experience or something that was good?

  • Taylor

    I agree. You’re more likely to hear a complaint than positive feedback. How many people do you hear about that call Comcast to tell them about their awesome service? For example, my ObGyn has reviews on various websites and they’re pretty mixed. I wrote my own review because I think she is great and it’s definitely one of those things where you just have to see her to know. If you read the reviews you might think twice, but you’ll leave satisfied after an appointment. I try to keep that in mind and decide for myself whether or not I like the doctor. Some people complain about things that are out of the doctor’s hands anyway i.e. long waits. Then, there are things people complain about that I don’t care about i.e. receptionist wasn’t friendly (umm, I am here to see the doctor anyway!).

  • Cheryl Handy

    Brooks and Taylor:

    I am a patient and I have complained about physicians on line. I do it with my name. And I never “complain” without first communicating directly with the physician and administrators.

    No. I do not complain about “everything.” I have written good and excellent reviews for doctors.

    Generally, I advocate *for* physicians and the profession. But when lives are directly impacted (and people die) because of “bad doctoring,” I owe it to the rest of the patient public to be vocal.

    Posting anonymously is inappropriate and cowardly. IMHO, people should have the decency to state their names with complaints. And, in my situation, if the few physicians that I mention ever wanted to contact me and voice objection, they could. They never have.

    I write instead of engaging the legal system. My dad died and I was left partially crippled due to the same doctors. Shouldn’t someone protect the patients that might travel down my road so that no one else suffers like me?

  • jsmith

    Ho hum. Maybe in plastic surgery, but here in family medicine they’ll hire anyone with a pulse and a medical degree.
    Not only that, a lot of pts who complain about their docs complain when they go to the grocery store, and the PTA meetings, and the post office and….

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