No one wants to look at online reviews of themselves. But in cases like these, it is important to bite the bullet and embrace the problems on hand. Reviews for doctors, in particular, require special attention.
Yes, there are so many emotionally-charged complaints online which have little constructive value. But we can learn from negative reviews of our services. Moreover, as more people conduct research online, every practice should be aware of their online image. At least, at that point, one can prepare him or herself to work against any negative reviews.
As medical professionals, online reviews are especially difficult to manage. Because this field revolves around a patient’s health, bad experiences create even worse reviews. And to add insult to injury, there is no legal way to respond to or interact with those dissatisfied patients. By responding to bad reviews online, you would be breaking HIPAA compliance. Patients may post online, but as soon as you post back, you are confirming your relationship as doctor and patient (a big no-no).
Not to mention that often there is a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality involved in the response. Listen, we all know that there is more to a story than what we see in online reviews. But, even still, they have an impact on what those reading them will think of you and your doctors.
Now, how do I get reviews?
Even though we might not like it, those reviews make a difference. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to lessen the impact of bad reviews online. The main sites where reviews for doctors appear are Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and Healthgrades. Take a look at the information listed on your practice on each of these websites. A few things to look for would be:
- Phone Number
- Website URL
You can have more control over how you look on third-party sites by “claiming” your business and bulking up the profiles. “Bulking up your profile” could mean small changes to those aspects listed above on your page. If everything is accurate and consistent, you get credibility points with both users and search engines.
The next step is obviously to get more and better reviews. Check the average rating and the number of reviews on each profile and gauge where you need the most help. In some– maybe most– cases, offices will only have 3 or 4 reviews. Here, getting 2 more glowing praises can boost the practice a ton. But the more the merrier!
Garnering reviews for doctors is easier said than done. There is a very fine line with what is appropriate and what is not when it comes to this subject matter. Yelp, for instance, has banned any kind of solicitation for reviews, so tread lightly. But more about that in blog posts yet to come 🙂
Written by Andrew Epprecht
As the Founder and CEO of Phase 5 Analytics, Andrew leads a team of healthcare marketers and consultants. He's been featured in publications like Forbes and Search Engine Watch. An entrepreneur at heart, Andrew started his first business in high school. While attending Duke University, he further developed his knowledge of online marketing and advertising. Today, Andrew uses these skills to help forward-thinking healthcare organizations attract new patients online.