Physician reputation management starts in the office

Let’s face it. Most physicians and health care professionals are too busy. Yet as a doctor myself, I know first hand you want to do as much as you can for your patient, such as making sure prescriptions are being called in, or working in an urgent appointment.

Then why do most doctors ignore what’s being said about them on the internet?

Recently I was chatting with a physician who had an unflattering review on a public forum.  She knew it was there (most providers do) yet chose the defensive tactic, “Oh people don’t believe anything on the internet”.

Unfortunately it is easy to make swipe generalizations but by ignoring the complaint, to most prospective and current patients that if a gripe is posted online, then the review is true! In a recent consumer study, one out of three customers  who have a negative experience take the time to post their opinion online. The fact is you can be one of the most outstanding physicians in the world, but most patients won’t take the time to post something positive, as great customer support is a given.

And that is the issue in a nutshell.  In medicine, we all may have different specialties, but we are all in the customer service business.

Take the time to understand why that is being written.  Can you identify who wrote that?  Don’t forget your ancillary staff is a part of who you are as a doctor and will have more impact than you might think.  Are you and your staff being abrupt to patients? Is your waiting time longer than necessary? Could this have been handled with better communication?

In our experience, most  negative reviews start as a misunderstanding.  Periodically followup with your patients through an email.  Proactively encourage patients to fill out testimonials and online forums. The steps to improving online physician reputation management starts in the office.

Michael Woo-Ming is the founder of RepMD.com, an online medical marketing company focused on helping health care professionals control their internet reputation.

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