Impact of Social Media: Defining Factors for a Physician’s Practice

Impact of Social Media: Defining Factors for a Physician’s Practice

Like it or not, in this digital era, irrespective of whether you are social digitally, social media catches up with you. Social media has invaded the medical cocoon and is here to stay. Also, whatever is written about you on the Internet stays there forever. The Internet never forgets!

This is an era of patient-powered healthcare. Social networking and physician rating websites are recently discovered platforms for patients where they can provide feedback about a physician and get information about other patients’ experiences. For physicians, it’s now imperative to understand the importance of social media and online reviews so as to leverage the power of these platforms to grow their practice.

In the earlier times, physicians relied on word-of-mouth marketing for their practice to grow. Now, the scenario has changed altogether as more and more patients have started trusting online reviews from unfamiliar people as much as personal recommendations from people they know.

The results of a survey published in the Journal of American Medical Association state that the use of online reviews and testimonials to select physicians is growing and is of increasing importance to consumers. The results further conclude that 40 percent of patients think physician ratings on websites are “somewhat important” and, of those who used the web to search for a physician, 35 percent selected a doctor based on good ratings. In addition, 27 percent of these web users reported avoiding a provider with bad ratings.

Impact of social media on a physician’s practice

Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.

Physician reputation on various social media platforms has taken center stage, and managing a positive digital reputation is becoming more important than ever. As a physician, you can be so busy with your daily schedules and appointments that you barely have time to go to the Internet and see what people are saying about you. Even worse, once in a while when you are able to spare some time to read about yourself on the Internet, you see some negative reviews written about you or your practice. You feel shattered, disgraced and decide you’ll never go back online or to that website again. But does that solve the problem? Will it stop people from posting about you and rating your practice on physician-rating websites and social media? The answer is a clear NO!

Unfortunately, not all patients are satisfied with the services provided by a practitioner. Under the condition of anonymity anyone can post reviews about their experiences. What makes matters worse for physicians is the fact that even a few unfavorable/biased reviews from unsatisfied patients can wreak havoc on a physician’s online reputation. This can be a setback as these are visible to all other patients/prospective patients, who will make a decision to visit a physician or not based on these reviews.

The good news is by being proactive about online reputation management and responding effectively to online customer reviews, physicians can turn the tables around in their favor. A well-crafted response to a bad review can help protect your reputation, minimize the review’s negative impact and help create a sense of credibility. On the other hand, a humble response to a positive review can reinforce customer satisfaction and act as a catalyst for positive word-of-mouth.

Digital advancements have not only impacted the practice of medicine but also the way in which people have taken charge of their health decisions. Social media has gone a step further and changed the dynamics of the physician-patient relationship. Maintaining a virtual relationship with patients on social media has become imperative for physicians and other healthcare providers. Being reluctant will only take your online reputation in a downward spiral and cause havoc to your brand entity. Always remember that it can only take a few seconds to destroy a brand’s online reputation that took years to build.

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