Revenue Cycle Management Blog | GroupOne Health Source

Physicians: Protect Your Online Reputation

Written by Kaitlyn Houseman | July 2, 2015

As a medical professional, it's imperative to make sure your patients see the right information when they search your name or your practice's name online. If you haven't taken the time to Google yourself, you might be in for quite a surprise. Reputation management services for physicians are on the rise; read on to find out why it's never been more important to monitor, manage and improve your online reputation.

Search Results Are Your First Impression

When someone searches your name or your practice's name in Google or another search engine, what will they find? In most cases, it will be your website, social media profiles, or other pages related to you or your practice. However, with doctor review sites and the ability to post anonymous content and reviews pretty much anywhere online, this is quickly changing.

The first several search engine result listings that appear when someone searches your personal or business name can greatly affect your reputation and give a powerful first impression, which will likely set in whether an individual has met or communicated with you or not.

For this reason alone, it's vital to make sure you have a squeaky-clean appearance not only in search engine results, but also on top review sites and throughout social media.

Doctor Reviews Sites Have Massive Reach

Physician review sites are quickly changing how patients can post reviews and rate doctors along with healthcare professionals who operate on any level.

While Yelp is the most popular review site and is known for its reviews on restaurants and businesses, the website also provides thousands of healthcare reviews, whether focusing on a practice or an individual. Other well-known medical review sites include Healthgrades, ZocDoc, Vitals, and RateMDs, each of which has millions of professionals listed. It's crucial for any health professional to actively review these sites to be aware of what your patients are saying about you - and what your potential patients are reading about you.

Pissed Consumer and Ripoff Report are two of the most damaging review sites, as the reviews can be written and immediately posted about any professional, service, or business - anonymously. Not only can the reviewer post content on whatever they'd like, but the articles rank extremely well in search results for individual and practice names.

Taking Control Over Your Search Results

When it comes to review sites and anonymous reviews in particular, it can be difficult to have slanderous reviews removed from a website simply because of free speech and the fact that many of these sites operate and make money by posting user content, so they don't want to have it removed or remove it themselves. This is especially true with Yelp, who has continually won nearly every legal case that has been brought against them in reference to removing content from their site.

With that said, the best way to protect your online reputation and give a great first impression to potential patients is to "own" the first search results page for terms related to your name and practice. This can be done by creating your own website or blog as well as and developing profiles on major social media networks - and being active on them.
Since Google loves sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it's usually pretty easy to get these types of pages to appear on the first page of your name or practice name's search engine results.

The end goal is to get as much of your own positive content to rank on the first search engine result page for your practice so you can effectively suppress the negative and potentially harmful content that might be out there, especially on the review sites mentioned above.

Protecting Your Online Reputation

When it comes to protecting your online reputation, nothing is more important than having a great impression online and through search engine results. Review the advice and steps outlined above, and if you haven't already, perform a simple Google search for your name as well as your practice name, and see what comes up - you don't want to be surprised by a negative online reputation.