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[How-To] Guide for Physician Online Reputation Management

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online physician reputation management

A significant portion of patient outreach and engagement happens online. The digital age has ushered in a new era where the majority of patients turn to the Internet to find and evaluate healthcare providers before scheduling an appointment. 

This shift has made physicians’ online reputation management one of the most significant determinants of a medical practice's success. In this context, managing your online reputation is not just about maintaining a positive image; it's a vital strategy for increasing patient volume.

With a focus on a physician’s online reputation, it is key to monitor and address certain elements, including: 

  • The consistency and accuracy in all online listings, sites, and directories. 
  • Using keyword-rich business descriptions that convey the practice's personality and help with search result rankings.


Optimizing Google My Business Listings for Physician Online Reputation Management

Establishing an effective online presence begins with consistency and accuracy in the information about your medical practice that can be found online. It’s crucial to ensure all online listings, directories, and sites correctly list your medical practice name, address, phone number, and website. For sites that allow for business descriptions, it’s essential to create a keyword-rich blurb that conveys the personality of your business while boosting your ratings in search results.

Setting Up Your GMB Profile requires some effort, but leaving parts unfinished isn’t ideal when you are trying to show up in search results and bring in new patients. 

We have a playbook for this, which covers all the information you need to include and the most relevant factors for potential clients (Hint: Distance is a relevant factor here.)

Online reviews and feedback are double-edged swords; while positive comments can significantly boost a physician's reputation, negative reviews have the potential to harm it. Reputation management involves not just monitoring what is said about your practice online but also responding to feedback professionally and constructively while maintaining HIPAA compliance. 

While negative reviews are not ideal, addressing concerns and demonstrating a commitment to patient satisfaction can potentially turn negative experiences into positive outcomes. 

When it comes to managing reviews and ratings, it is crucial to remember a few current facts:

  • Patients turn to online reviews FIRST when considering a new physician. 
  • 84% of patients won’t reach out to a physician who has less than four-star reviews 
  • 65% of physicians currently do not have any reviews online. 

Receiving reviews - and preferably positive ones - requires some communication with your patients. It also requires proactive effort on your part, including: 

  • Responding quickly to feedback and any concerns patients share
  • Focus on being authentic in responses, but remember to also show empathy to the patient commenting/sharing feedback.
  • NEVER reveal personal or confidential patient information. Always stay within HIPAA guidelines - read more about general social media and online best practices here.

Social Media Management for Physicians

Today's patients in Texas, much like elsewhere, begin their healthcare journey virtually. Before ever stepping foot into a medical office, they use websites and online directories to research physicians, read reviews, and consider ratings on platforms like NextDoor, Yelp, and Healthgrades. 


There are three main components to having an effective social media strategy: 

  1. Establishing your presence
  2. Content creation and engagement
  3. Privacy and ethics


1. Establishing Your Presence

Social media platforms offer an unparalleled opportunity for physicians to connect with their community, share valuable health information, and showcase their practice's culture and successes. Effective social media management helps physicians to proactively shape their online narrative, ensuring that their digital presence accurately reflects their commitment to patient care.online reputation management - physician

Choosing the right social media platforms for your practice, such as Facebook and NextDoor, will provide an opportunity for an online presence that also allows for others to recommend you. 

When it comes to NextDoor, it is important to take the time to complete the profile fully at the time of creation. Verifying your business page means you will need accepted documentation, including: 

  • Government-Issued business license and permits from the local, state, or federal government
  • Business Tax or VAT registration certificate
  • Business bank account statements (account number redacted)
  • Business credit report from one of the reporting agencies
  • US ONLY: EIN confirmation letter from the IRS 
  • US ONLY: Official tax notices from the IRS
  • US ONLY: Fictitious Business Name Statement. Please provide this in addition to one of the above documents, if you do business under a different name.

If your page is created, claimed, and optimized, then word-of-mouth recommendations can tag your page. This expands the reach of your listing and increases the chances of getting in front of the right audience. It is also worth noting that if your page wins the Neighborhood Favorite award, this can be promoted across platforms. 

When setting up professional profiles, best practices are to focus on consistency and sharing relevant information in a digestible manner. For more, check out our blog on social media management.


2. Content Creation and Engagement

Content creation is an essential part of online physician reputation management. Creating educational content that informs your patients (and any potential patients that happen upon your page) provides them with value before they set foot in the office. Content that increases awareness and/or encourages community involvement builds a positive rapport with patients who are interacting via screens. 

When evaluating strategies for engaging with followers and managing feedback, including negative comments, consider the following guidelines: 

    • Commitment to regular presence: It is important to show your regular participation via posts, responses to reviews, and updates. 
    • Remember to post visuals: Images are easy to use on any platform, and they provide a stronger impact on your audience. 
    • Don’t skip the emojis: Regardless of how you feel about them, emojis are a part of social media, and your audience wants to see you use them. 
    • Promote interaction: You can either join conversations already in progress or ask questions to generate discussion on your own posts. Either way, the key is connecting with your audience.
    • Include a CTA (call to action) - Let your audience know the best way to reach you and schedule an appointment.
    • Make sure your Name, Address, and Phone Number are consistent: Your name, address, and phone number should be the same across platforms. That allows patients to find you easily. 


3. Privacy and Ethics

In Texas, as in the rest of the United States, physicians must navigate the complexities of maintaining an online presence while adhering to HIPAA regulations and ensuring patient privacy. Effective online reputation management includes ensuring that all online communications comply with these regulations, protecting both the physician and the patient.

Maintaining patient confidentiality during social media interactions is crucial to building a relationship infused with confidence and trust. Maintaining that confidentiality means:

  • Respond to reviews - especially the negative ones. While responding to the positive reviews shows you are paying attention to what your patients are saying, responding to the negative reviews shows you acknowledge when things aren’t going as well as they could be and that you’re willing to address the issue head-on. 
  • Analyze your current reputation online: take a look at any reviews and information available. Make sure the listings on doctor review websites are accurate, any reviews have received a response, and that you have a strong grasp of what is being said on social media platforms. 
  • Set yourself up for success: Having a convenient location and providing excellent patient care will lend itself naturally to positive reviews. Make sure you are listening to your patients during their visits and take care of any concerns that crop up. 

Our blog has several resources that expand on this topic, including: 

4 Common HIPAA Violations on Social Media Platforms

10 Social Media Guidelines & Tips for Online HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA Compliance Overview + Social Media HIPAA Violation Examples

How Online Reputation Management Can Make or Break a Medical Practice


A Final Look at Physician Online Reputation Management

For Texas physicians running their medical practices, online reputation management is no longer optional; it's a critical component of modern medical practice management. By actively managing their online presence, engaging with patients through social media, and responding to online feedback, physicians can enhance their reputation, attract and retain patients, and ultimately, ensure the success of their practice in the digital age. 


Attract New Patients with the Right Online Reputation

With patients relying more on reviews and other online resources to look for a new doctor, it means more effort focused on your online presence. Thinking about the next generation of patients and their care journey? Take a look at this resource:

How to Increase Your Patient Volumes by Marketing to Millennials

how to start a medical practice in Texas

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