If you’re a doctor, reputation is essential. And with everyone now online, building your online reputation score is even more important.
Since 2012, 60% of US patients always research their doctors online. And by 2016, the numbers increased to 84% of US patients who make it a habit to research their medical practitioners before their first appointment.
Patients look for reviews and both good and bad reviews influence their decisions before scheduling an appointment online.
This is where we come in. ReviewLead helps you handle your online reputation score.
What is a Reputation Score?
A reputation score is a standard that shows how much patients trust your practice. This includes the number of positive, negative, and neutral reviews that appear in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results).
It’s calculated based on your performance in different online areas like reviews, visibility, reach, and surveys. This helps patients benchmark performances in choosing their preferred medical practitioner.
How to check a Doctor’s Reputation
Binary Fountain’s survey found that more than 60% of patients start by checking a doctor’s reputation online. There are also 40% who rely on other patient’s online reviews.
A study from Patient Access Journey also said that 91% of patients still do their research online after receiving a referral for a doctor. There are patients who don’t just rely on word-of-mouth, they also verify online.
When patients want to check a doctor’s reputation, here’s what they look for:
Most patients are confident that the doctor they’re consulting is licensed to practice medicine without doing any background check. But there are stories and news of unlicensed doctors every once in a while.
Patients also do these to check a doctor’s medical license:
Browse Social Media
Every time a patient goes to a doctor’s clinic, they’ll see certificates and credentials displayed. It’s a quick way to let them know that their doctor is credible.
Today, these credentials need to be displayed online. Many doctors do post their licenses and credentials on their profiles so patients can see them right away.
Search at the state level Each state has a board that records medical licenses. These are searchable databases of licensed doctors working in that specific state.
Patients can easily enter a doctor’s name and type the license to see the information about the doctor’s credentials and license status.
States issue several different kinds of professional licenses depending on the type of practice. With this method, patients can check licenses listed on your doctor’s profile to find out if it requires additional certifications to be valid.
Patients can also do a simple Google search and add “lawsuit” or “malpractice” to a doctor’s name.
This will reveal any news articles that involve the doctor in issues or litigations.
New York offers a partial doctor malpractice database for patients. You can check if your city or state has one too.
Other online reviews
Online reviews give patients most of the information they need when looking for a doctor online. Here’s what patients do when evaluating reviews:
- They look for doctors with many reviews. The more reviews a doctor has, the more likely his average rating is perceived as accurate.
- They read longer reviews than short one-liner reviews. These are golden nuggets which tell that the other patient cared enough to share his experience in detail.
Online Reputation Management for Doctors
Reputation has always played a significant role to help doctors like you attract patients. Because patients are letting you take charge of their most valuable possession– their health.
Yes, word of mouth was enough back then. But the internet created platforms to empower patients, and give them a voice to air complaints and as a result, influence other patient’s decisions.
We now live in an age of social media, comparison healthcare shopping, and peer reviews. You need online reputation management to make sure your online reputation score stays good or gets even better.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management ensures your practice is trustworthy when searched online– and is seen positively by patients and their caregivers.
The aim of online reputation management is to guarantee that your offline practice realities are accurately reflected online.
In a sense, it is also a part of your branding. An effective online reputation management campaign has 3 main components:
- Online review solicitation – asking patients for a review
- Online review monitoring – manually checking comment
- Online review management – responding to both positive and negative comments from patients
Why do Doctors need Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management goes hand in hand with patient acquisition. The more credible you are, the higher your chances to get patients, repeat appointments, and referrals.
Building any career, practice, or business means maintaining and creating a positive reputation. Online reputation management is very important for healthcare professionals today to acquire and maintain trust from patients.
Online reputation management maintains your image to patients. It also helps you prevent:
- Dealing with negative reviews
- Being involved in bad public incidents
- Receiving negative press coverage feedback
- Getting a malpractice lawsuit
The Importance of Online Reputation Management
A survey from SoftwareAdvice said that 84% of patients use online reviews when evaluating their doctors. And there are 47% of patients who said that they would most likely choose a doctor who has more positive reviews.
As the importance of online reputation management increases, you need to be proactive about managing your online reputation.
Manage your Online Reputation
Yes, you can keep serving your patients. And you can still properly manage your online reputation and presence by:
- Getting more reviews from patients
- Promoting your good reviews
- Handling bad reviews before they mark your reputation
ReviewLead helps you build trust and manage your reviews. We help doctors create the most fitting review acquisition strategy for your brand as a medical practitioner.
What are the best sites for Doctor Reviews?
There are several websites for doctor reviews you should be aware of. Here, patients are actively posting their reviews.
This is where you should be present managing your online reputation. These are sites where other patients and caregivers will most likely find information online about medical practitioners.
Top Doctor Review Sites that Patients Use
To strengthen your online reputation and presence, it would be great to be visible in at least 3 of these.
Every single one of your patients has a Facebook account. Reviews here are highly visible with a huge audience reach.
Patients are also starting to send private messages for appointments. And that’s something you shouldn’t miss in your profile.
Make sure not to use your personal account as your business page on Facebook. It’s important to keep your personal posts separate from your professional content.
Yelp is known for retailers and restaurant reviews. Users can easily submit a review for products or services using a 1-5 star rating system. It also has a section for healthcare reviews that patients use a lot.
Patients leave reviews based on how they benefit from the service they received. Yelp is a large-scale review website, and it’s very important for doctors to monitor their work’s rating in their profile.
Use Google My Business to strengthen your credentials and manage your practice information. It provides the option to add details about the services you provide and customize your business profiles on Google maps and search.
When patients make a Google search for your niche, the results they see are also powered by Google My Business.
When your name gets searched, Google displays information from your Google My Business profile. Patients can see the reviews directly given by other patients.
RateMDs is a free site that allows patients to submit and read doctor, dentists, hospitals, and care center reviews. Both doctors and patients are free to use this site. There are over 2 million reviews on this site.
A survey from Software Advice said that 24% of patients see RateMDs as their most trusted source for doctor reviews. This is a good reason for you to give time to creating and managing your own profile on this platform.
WebMD is the biggest medical information hub on the Internet. They get over 145 million visits to their website every month. The website features ratings and reviews from patients, making it an important part of online reputation management for doctors.
It’s a no brainer for you to create and optimize your profile in WebMD. Both patients and medical practitioners get valuable health information, tools for managing health, and information support.
Are Doctor Reviews reliable?
Getting a doctor online can be stressful and nerve-wracking. Thanks to the Internet, medical information is now easily available to help a patient in decision-making, and getting an appointment is just a click away.
Patients now check doctor reviews as a primary source of information to find a medical practitioner for their needs. A survey from American Medicine Association reports that 41% of patients find online ratings a very important part of their decision making.
But despite that, many healthcare organizations question the credibility of doctor review sites. They see it as fake or paid reviews. Are doctor reviews reliable?
Doctor review sites are indeed trustworthy, and here’s why
Customers have been using review sites to make decisions on where to dine and where to book a hotel. It was only a matter of time until patients also used doctor reviews to look for a healthcare provider.
Doctor reviews are trustworthy and they’re here to stay. If you know someone who still doesn’t see the value of these reviews, show them these stats:
- According to Wainscot Media, 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Software Advice said that 77% of patients use online reviews as the 1st step to find medical practitioners.
- In a data from Software Advice, 51% of patients see looking at public doctor reviews as a good idea.
- Journal of General Internal Medicine said that 53% of doctors look at review sites to understand patient’s experiences and improve their services.
- A survey from Software Advice says that 47% of its respondents will go out-of-network for a medical practitioner– who has more and better reviews– than an in-network medical practitioner.
How do you ask a patient for a review?
You may feel uncomfortable asking patients to review your practice, but it’s only second nature to them. According to BrightLocal’s survey, when customers are asked to leave a review, 70% of them do it right away.
It’s time for you to get those patient reviews to strengthen your online reputation and presence. Here are some tips you can do right now:
Reach out to your loyal patients
You might have some regular patients and they’ve been with you for a long time. These people have stayed loyal to you because they are very satisfied with the service they receive and you’ve developed a great rapport with them.
These are the perfect candidates to approach by yourself. There’s no need to be shy asking them to refer you to their friends or leave an online review of your services. The majority of patients will gladly leave a review when asked in a nice way.
Ask for a review when you receive compliments
When your patient gets a very satisfying experience from your practice, chances are they will share their story with others.
Yes, there will be patients who compliment you on a regular basis. And instead of keeping these words between the two of you only, you can use this opportunity to ask them to post it online in a review.
These kinds of people do enjoy sharing positive recommendations, especially if they do like your practice, and they’ll be happy to share their testimonials.
In today’s technology, patient testimonials are just one click away.
It’s a lot easier to use technology to request referrals. In every email or newsletter, you can always include a link for patients to post reviews. It’s easy and effective!
Sometimes, the best way to get reviews from patients is to offer them rewards for participating. In every testimonial or referral, try giving them discounts, movie tickets or dining coupons– or something even better for each person who had referred someone to be your patient.
Play around with your incentives. Offer rewards for every online review or referral from your patients.
Prepare a Script
A nice script really helps, especially if you’re asking for your first reviews and referrals from your patients face-to-face or through a phone call. You don’t have to memorize the entire script.
This will just serve as your guide for getting reviews. Then when you get the hang of it and become more flexible, you can stop using the script and be more spontaneous.
Pro Tip: Have someone collect and manage reviews for you
Yes, doctor reviews are important to make you more trustworthy. But you don’t really have to manage and collect reviews by yourself.
Focus on your patients and your practice. You can have someone to do all the work for you. ReviewLead collects and manages your doctor reviews so you don’t have to.
Get more 5 Star reviews from patients
Build trust and drive sales
Attract new patients
Can You Trust Online doctor reviews?
We can trust online doctor reviews. Both doctors and patients can benefit by simply being informed.
Patients looking for a new doctor can use review sites and check multiple sources. Patients have the right and motivation to be informed because they’re investing in their most valuable asset, their health.
Doctors like you can check out review sites so you can get insight on what patients want and need from practices like yours.
Of course, you will also need to maintain a good online presence and reputation. Your profiles and reviews should also be managed from time to time.