As a healthcare practitioner, you’ve probably spent years building up your practice. The investment is obvious- immense hard work, time and money. Needless to mention, you must have missed your favourite soccer games, family get-togethers, old fiend reunions, movies, shopping and endless other things to devote time to establish your practice. All this was for one fine day– till you’ve created a good reputation of your practice; so that you have your appointments full and more patients come in.
Though you strive to deliver best healthcare services and try to provide safest treatment to your patients, you realize your practice is not growing. You’ve toiled over the years to build your practice and suddenly your existing patient count reduces, new patient inflow vanishes and you just can’t understand why.
Does it sound like your story? Unfortunately, it’s true for hundreds, if not thousands, of physicians, dentists and physiotherapists across the country.
Exploring the reasons
The world is changing at a rapid pace and Internet is the catalyst. Physicians, surgeons, dentists and other healthcare providers are often taken off-guard by online reputation issues. Many of them don’t even realize they need to be concerned about their reputation online. They take years building a reputation for themselves but ironically, today it is all in the hands of digitally empowered patients who just take a few minutes to post their reviews on social media platforms and physician-review websites. If the online reputation is positive, it can be a boost for a physician’s practice—but negative online reputation can be a disaster.
Though online reputations are imperative for all businesses in this digital era, in the healthcare industry they matter more than any other. For physicians, their reputation builds the foundation of trust and credibility among patients. What people say about you and your practice has become the single most important reflection of your reliability, medical skills and quality of healthcare services.
In Nielsen’s Advertising study, 70 percent of global consumers specified they trust online reviews from strangers when making purchasing decisions. What people say about you and how they perceive you online has become a prism through which your reputation is reflected.
Many healthcare providers are still reluctant to use Internet and social media and are often taken off-guard by online reputation issues. There are a few of them who don’t even realize the need to be concerned about their online reputation. They feel they are doing their part by providing best healthcare services to their patients, so they needn’t be concerned about what patients are saying about them online. But one day they might wake up and realize some negative reviews have jeopardized their reputation online. To make the matters even worse, being inactive on the Internet and not addressing the issues immediately spreads the online negativity like a wild fire.
The benefits of maintaining a positive online reputation
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
When it comes to your online reputation, it is now more critical than ever to be cognizant about what patients are saying, experiences they have had at your practice and, most importantly, how they react online and get influenced by online reviews. In the present scenario, patient reviews matter more than experienced physicians and healthcare services offered. Physicians spend years earning a good reputation for themselves hence, rightfully they deserve the recognition when someone searches them online.
One of the most important reasons physicians need to have a strong online presence is that patients have too many choices these days. Having a good digital footprint for your practice is imperative in the modern age of information technology as it directly represents your online reputation. Patients need to be reminded constantly that your practice exists. A proactive online presence is the best way to reach your target patients is to reach them where they spend a good amount of their time, i.e. on the Internet.
Even if you are aware or not, anyone can post reviews about your practice on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. and on physicians-review websites. Even the slightest hint of a negative online reputation can be enough for people to consider other options. This is why it is absolutely essential that you pay attention to online reputation management for your practice.
Hospitals and practicing physicians face a continuous challenge of distinguishing their online presence from the crowd of hundreds of others. Having a positive online reputation helps to identify your practice as a brand on the Internet, define what healthcare services you offer and market your communications more effectively to your patient/ potential patient base. Hence, a positive online reputation is a powerful marketing tool as well.
Give reputation management the attention it deserves
The world of the Internet and social media is now teeming with competition. What seemed insignificant until a few years ago has become the defining factor for success of any business. All thanks to digitalization, there has been a 360-degree change in the way businesses now operate, the healthcare industry being no exception.
As digital sources of information have become first stop for the patient decision-making process, how physicians build a positive online reputation has become fundamentally important. The high bar of healthcare services and cut-throat market competition has made it imperative for healthcare professionals to be proactive and take charge of their online reputation. Patients are tech-savvy and make intelligent decisions when it comes to spending on healthcare as they want the best value for the high amount of money they shell out as healthcare costs. Ignoring your online reputation can have disastrous results. So, take control of your online reputation and keep your practice online reputation “healthy.” Though it involves a lot of hard work and persistent efforts, the results are definitely worthwhile.