It’s important for physicians to monitor their online presence because more patients than ever are researching their doctors on the web, and negative news stories or negative patient reviews can be a part of your online presence and you want to know when that happens.
The first step would be simply to Google your name at least once a week and see what comes up, because that’s what patients are doing. You can automate this process by using what’s called Google Alerts. In the search query box, you can enter your name, or the name of your practice, and whenever it is mentioned online, you can get notified immediately.
I will also monitor conversation on Twitter to see if people are talking about you. There’s a great free tool called Topsy. Whenever you’re mentioned on Twitter, you also can get notified.
Of course, there are a variety of paid services as well, and you can choose to go through that route. But at the very least, every physician should Google themselves at least once a week and create a Google alert. That’s a great way to start monitoring your online presence.
Kevin Pho is an internal medicine physician and co-author of Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices. He is on the editorial board of contributors, USA Today, and is founder and editor, KevinMD.com, also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.