On a grand scale, word of mouth doctor referrals have been replaced with internet browsing. Instead of asking a trusted neighbor or family friends, patients now look online for patient feedback, including social media and online reviews. In fact, the 2022 Healthcare Trends Report revealed that 72 percent of consumers read online ratings and reviews when considering a new healthcare provider and the same percentage stated that they preferred choosing providers rated four out of five stars or higher. That is why it is so important that doctors’ reputation management strategies include monitoring online review sites— especially negative patient reviews— and social media regularly.
Optimize Your Website for A Strong Online Presence
Doctors’ websites are often the first impression that patients will have of a practice. As patients look at your website, they are getting to know your medical practice – and you only have a mere second to make a good impression. Your website should have a clean, modern look. It is also important to ensure that the website is easy to navigate and use, especially on a mobile device.
Your content should be relevant and patient-centered, meaning that the content is directed towards the specific needs of your patient population. Language that is friendly and reassuring puts prospective patients at ease.
But for patients to find your website, it should be optimized with search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a specialized area of digital marketing, so you may want to bring an expert consultant to assist with optimizing your website to help it appear near the top in search results.
If that is not an option for your practice, then you can review your content for keywords that your patient population may be searching and include these phrases in your website content. Some keywords to include are the geographic locations that your practice serves and services that you provide to specific patient populations. Use specific keywords, such as “sports physical for student athletes” to show up in search results for your target audience.
Online Platforms You Need to Use to Manage Your Reputation
Existing patients also want a provider that they feel that they can trust and recommend to others. That is why online reputation management for doctors is so important for both attracting and retaining patients. It is a best practice for any reviews— with both positive patient reviews and negative comments— to receive a prompt and well-crafted response.
In fact, the 2022 Healthcare Trends Report also found that 65 percent of respondents indicated that it is essential for providers to respond publicly to patient feedback. The report also stated that responding to patient reviews could build brand recognition and positively influence patients when selecting a provider.
It also is important to claim your Google Business Profile because without it, you are virtually invisible to patients who are looking to schedule an appointment, have a telehealth visit, or message a staff member within your organization. In fact, according to Google consumers are:
- 2.7 times more likely to consider a business reputable if they find a complete Business Profile on Google Search and Maps.
- 70% more likely to visit and 50% more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with a complete Business Profile.
To help build your online reputation, ask your current patients to post online reviews about your practice on sites such as Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades. Patients are not only looking for quality reviews, but they also are looking for quantity. Interestingly, a study published in Psychological Science indicated that people tend to favor quantity because more reviews indicate a larger sampling and “more votes” so consumers tend to trust and select those more often.
The same report found that “Positive online reviews will attract new patients and boost patient loyalty; however, the number of reviews also impacts patients during decision-making. Eighty percent of respondents stated they deem providers with five or more reviews as trustworthy. When selecting care, 50 percent of participants read ten or more reviews, and 23 percent read 20 or more reviews.”
Also, public relations campaigns, such as press releases, announcements, and featuring positive reviews on your website and social media sites can boost your online reputation in the eyes of current and prospective patients.
Finally, a strong online reputation is not only important for attracting new patients, it also helps attract talent. In a competitive hiring environment, your practice needs every advantage to stand out from the crowd. When prospective hires compare your practice to others, it is important that they see your practice as reputable and one where they would feel proud to work.
Summary: Reputation Management for Doctors
According to Chelimar Miranda, VP of Operations at Medical Advantage, “As technology becomes increasingly accessible, online reviews supplant the need for word-of-mouth endorsements, placing a world of importance on obtaining favorable web reviews.” Providers used to rely on referrals from insurance companies or other providers, but now patients increasingly turn to their personal devices to find doctors on their own. Your online reputation is an invaluable asset for winning new patients.
Patients are looking for trustworthy providers like you online – they just need to be able to find you. They also want validation so that they can trust your practice. Comprehensive online reputation management, including your website, social media and Google reviews will give your patients the confidence they need your services over other providers – and recommend you to others.
Managing Your Online Reputation
The experts at iHealthSpot understand both the importance of reputation management and building a strong online presence. We can not only help with hosting and building your website, but our content marketing specialists will plan out content that builds your authority and engages patients.
We also provide SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) services to ensure that your website has a strong online presence that helps retain and attract patients. Our goal is to help you achieve your business goals – and this all begins with a strong online reputation.