Service quality reporting in healthcare is the latest trend among healthcare consumers. It could be rather precisely defined as the “click-of-mouse” movement as reputations are built or tarnished within seconds and the “word-of-mouse” travels like wildfire. But with hectic work routines and patient appointments, what can physicians and healthcare providers do about it? Can they really afford to be left behind in an increasing competitive market where reputation management is witnessing a snowball effect and more and more physicians have started embracing it? The answer is clear: Either they can adapt to the changing scenarios or lose their patients to competition.
Research shows that about one-third of patients avoid physicians based on their reviews and ratings on social media and physician rating sites. Social media channels (like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), digital communities and other physician-rating sites can directly affect your reputation and thereby your practice.
Research highlights on healthcare consumer trends 2015 by the National Research Corporation
Healthcare consumers are increasingly seeking information about healthcare providers online:
- 45% have viewed provider ratings/reviews
- 31% have selected a doctor based on a positive review
- 29% claim viewing online ratings/review is their first step in doctor search
- 32% have avoided a doctor based on a negative review
Inference: Online Reputation Management is imperative more than ever for physicians, dentists and hospitals.
What is being said about you online is the main prism through which your reputation will be viewed. If you are ignorant about what is being written and said about your practice, it can gradually turn your reputation toward a negative trend. Follow this simple 5-step DIY approach to keep a close watch and manage your online reputation:
Step 1: Evaluation of your online presence
The foremost step in reputation management is to Google and figure out what is being said about you. The search results will provide a general view of your reputation and how you are perceived in the digital world.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
- Analyze main search engines like Google, yahoo, Bing
- Gather data about your practice from top physician-review websites like yelp.com, vitals.com, healthgrades.com
- Get insights from social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn to identify what patients are saying about you
Step 2: Manage your online reviews proactively
Reviews are crucial – leverage them for growth of your practice. Even a single neglected negative review can damage your practice.
- Monitor all patient reviews
- Mitigate the effects of negative reviews
- Stimulate more positive reviews
- Deal with the negative reviews in compliance with HIPAA guidelines
- Track the negative trends
Step 3: Get social with social media
Social media provides a great way for healthcare companies to engage their audience with interesting and meaningful content.
- Establish a social media response strategy
- Get perceived as a brand among online users
- Make real-time connection with patients
- Strengthen your influence online and develop a positive reputation
Step 4: Build a customized website for your practice
- Create a well-designed responsive website
- Easy to navigate with specific landing pages tailored to suit your specialization
- Let the website visitors experience a sense of your brand
- Post valuable, search engine-optimized content for the users
- Integrate social media with your website
- Educational videos for patient education
- Monthly analytics to keep you abreast with the website visitor details
Step 5: Optimize your site through SEO
- An effective SEO strategy can mean the difference between a full waiting room and an empty one
- Ensure that SEO procedures are implemented intelligently
- Do thorough market research to provide the most effective keywords, metadata, site maps and targeted content
- Continuously monitor and modify SEO tactics to compete with other sites and stay on top of the rankings
- Increase your website’s search engine relevance
The physician-patient relationship has changed radically in the Internet age. Taking into account the statistics of the increasing number of people who are turning to the Internet to manage their health, you need to be equipped to tackle the challenges of managing your online reputation. Also, engaging with patients through new technology and digital channels facilitates communication and gives physicians a chance to educate them about their conditions and treatment options. It’s time to embrace this change and step into the digital age-now!