Patients use Google for a doctor reference check

There are no longer any doubts if patients Google their doctors. Social media, your website, and Google are parts of virtually every patient’s search for a doctor. Google is a reference check and has become the most important tool to establish sufficient level of trust for an appointment to be scheduled.

I recently published 12 case studies where doctors’ reputations were improved with mobile technology and the impact they made on the goals of their practices. Here are the three most important pieces of information new patients are looking for that impact the success of your practice.

1. Your expertise. In every specialty with elective services, or when you’d like to get out-of-network or out-of-pocket patients, this is a requirement. If not prominently displayed people will go to another doctor. In areas like plastic surgery, dermatology, or orthopaedics, this very piece of information can save millions in advertising dollars.

2. Doctor review sites. One negative comment will certainly impact a patient’s trust in you, especially if it’s the only patient-review that is displayed on at least 30 different websites. Some doctor-review sites even display patient satisfaction levels, and it doesn’t matter if these reviews were posted 4 years ago, because all patients see is the % of satisfaction. This is the one piece of information that has been giving doctors trouble for a few years now, but with the newly available mobile technology you don’t have to be at the mercy of these review sites.

3. Patient satisfaction and customer service.  What if the same mobile technology that helps gather & publish verified patient reviews, can help improve patient satisfaction and customer service? What if every patient was given a chance to provide honest feedback and you’d be able to review each comment and address potential problems before they become disasters? What if this can seamlessly become part of the process of every patient visit without you or your staff spending any extra time on this process?

Google is the most over-looked form of social media. You’re either at its mercy or using it to become the most trusted and relevant source of medical information.

It’s time to get your reputations in order and realize what your patients are doing. Step 1, go Google your name!

Simon Sikorski is CEO, Healthcare Marketing Center of Excellence.

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