There is a powerful prescription for doctors who are concerned about negative reviews hurting their medical practice – online reputation management. Doctors are including online reputation management as part of their marketing strategy, recognizing that to attract new patients you need more than just a good bedside manner – you need a positive online reputation.
Online reputation management involves a combination of digital marketing, public relations, legal and search engine optimization (SEO) skills to promote, protect and defend your online image.
Although technology has paved the way for tremendous advances in diagnosis and treatment, one of the unfortunate side effects of the digital age is the damage a single former patient can do to the reputation and livelihood of a doctor or health professional. Online defamation has become a widespread problem for mental health and substance abuse prevention practitioners who may be treating patients with serious behavioral or social disorders. While most people still rely on personal or insurance network referrals for their choice of doctor, patients are checking up on their doctors online. Patients may choose to go elsewhere based on negative reviews on any of the popular rating sites like RateMDs.com, Vitals.com, DoctorOogle.com, DrScore.com or HealthGrades.com. Alternatively, a patient or potential patient may discover other negative content posted online, such as a lawsuit or an adverse disciplinary decision.
Doctors might be most afraid of insurance companies and plaintiff’s lawyers, but disgruntled and dissatisfied patients who take their frustrations out online may be an even greater threat. In comparison, positive feedback and reviews from satisfied patients are a free advertisement that can support a thriving medical practice.
Online reputation management can suppress negative content by using social media, blogs, news media, personal websites and other tools to help you “own” the first pages of Google.
For doctors who recognize an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, online reputation management can help create and maintain a positive and professional online image and generate a powerful patient referral network with minimal additional effort or expense.