What Experts Are Saying

Online health search is the third-most popular Web activity. Online reputation management is the process of managing and controlling the information that appears when people search for a physician online. Types of information on the Web can include public online profiles, news articles, ratings and reviews, awards and accolades and mentions by others in their public profiles.

Gone are the days when a physician’s practice reputation was best-established and passed on by word-of-mouth or discussion among friends at golf sessions or social visits. Some studies related to consumer behavior have pointed out that nearly 80% of consumers go online to research medical conditions or evaluate a healthcare provider. Cyberspace is where potential consumers are, where they go first and where physicians need to be.

Since consumers rely more on Google than asking someone for referrals, the reviews and content scattered on the Web can make or break a practice. Online reputation management for healthcare professionals is critical to protecting a practice from malicious content posted on the Web. Online reputation management comes to their rescue when physicians proactively turn to a wide range of tactics to control what’s written about them online.

A doctor’s online reputation management starts with having a robust online profile listing all credentials and areas of expertise. A profile of past and recent achievements (often supported with videos) will attract higher search rankings on the Web. Also, posting a recent photo can be very helpful.

Managing patient reviews and ratings online is an indispensable part of complete online reputation management. The modern physician must manage his/her online reputation by monitoring what is being said about the practice and controlling what is being seen on the Internet. Medical reviews posted on RateMDs, Healthgrades, etc. speak volumes about a physician’s practice, his experience and interaction with patients. Based on the reviews, an average quality rating is calculated automatically by the rating sites. This goes hand in hand with a well-designed and structured physician website that has relevant information and up-to-date contact details with a way for the patient to schedule an appointment online.

Managing a physician’s online reputation is not a herculean task if approached in a proactive manner with just the right mix of website design and development, informative and accurate content over the Web, positive reviews and SEO activities.