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The reputation of a medical provider can drive the success or failure of a medical practice. Patients today use the internet to share their experiences with others. It is vitally important that medical providers take a proactive approach to online reputation management.

Many of today’s consumers rely heavily on the internet to research virtually everything, including doctors they are considering seeing. The increased use of social media to make recommendations has grown exponentially. Patients are using physician and community rating sites as a platform to share their experiences with others.

If you are not performing online reputation management, you are doing yourself a disservice. While you may offer the best service and care to each and every patient you treat, there is bound to be at least one unhappy patient. By being proactive in online reputation management, you reduce the likelihood and impact of negative reviews. Here are some tips to make the most of your online presence.

1. Complete your online profile

Visit doctor rating sites to ensure the information provided is accurate and up to date. There are many sites such as Vitals, Citysearch, HealthGrades and Google Places where consumers can post their opinions of businesses. Take advantage of these sites as a way to boost your business by verifying the information provided to visitors.

2. Google Search Your Brand

By researching both physicians and practice names, you can get a clearer look into the online appearance of your practice. Is your practice easy to find online? If you have a blog or social media account, are you keeping them up to date? It is important that the information available online is accurate.

3. Encourage online testimonials

By asking your patients to rate their experience, you are more likely to have a successful online presence. Happy patients are less likely to take the time to write reviews, however, when asked, most are delighted to! Multiple positive testimonials will outweigh any negative ones. You can make this request by providing your patients with a card that indicates where they can go to rate their experience

4. Survey your patients regularly

Constructive feedback in the form of an anonymous survey provides vital information about the overall patient experience. The survey provides patients with an outlet to express any concerns they may have rather than going online to voice them. Take the feedback received and make any needed changes. By asking your patients for their opinion and then making necessary changes, you show them that you care and want to continuously improve the practice.

5. Monitor Online Mentions

By regularly visiting sites such as Vitals, Google Places, Citysearch, and HealthGrades, you can get a clear view into how your practice rates online. If there are negative comments listed, address them, even if they are old. This shows that you are actively seeking to improve upon each patients’ experience and that you care. Additionally, it is important to monitor social media sites for brand mentions. A social media agency can help promote and protect your business on these popular social networking outlets.

Repeat, repeat, repeat – Regular online reputation management will ensure you are shown in the best light possible and alerts you to when changes are needed. This takes time and commitment but is important in protecting your online reputation.

While online negative comments are rare, it is imperative that you manage your reputation before it manages you! Internet marketing can be a wonderful tool for your practice when used effectively. There are many companies and tools available that can help you navigate your way through the web and simplify the process of online reputation management.

By effectively learning the tools of the trade, you can take advantage of the internet by strengthening your brand and increasing consumer awareness of the quality of services offered at your practice.