Online reputation monitoring- why is it important for doctors?

Satya Kandala

8 min read Last Updated Aug 5, 2020

Online reputation monitoring is not just for the Kardashians of the world. As a healthcare provider, you should definitely be paying close attention to what your patients and potential patients are saying about you. This is because good feedback can be a great way to enhance your patient care. 

What is online reputation monitoring?

Put simply, it’s paying attention to what your patients are saying — good and bad. If two patients are full of praise and gratitude to you in person and 10 of them are writing harsh reviews online, if you never went online and checked these reviews, you would think “All my patients love me”. And when you don’t see this love reflected in revenue (meaning the dissatisfied patients go to other doctors and don’t refer patients to your practice), you wonder why. 

Instead, pay attention to what they are saying and if any criticism arises, nip the problem in the bud. Prevention is indeed better than cure and that should be your online reputation management strategy as well. But truth be told, a cure is definitely better than leaving the problem untreated. 

In this article, we will talk about how you can do some healthy online reputation monitoring and the networks that doctors need to pay close attention to. 

Ways to keep a check on your online reputation 

Here are a few ways you can go about managing your online reputation:

1. Social listening

What is social listening? Social listening is the process of monitoring conversations of your potential and current patients on social media platforms to understand what they’re saying about your brand and about the industry. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Now take into account the fact that billions of messages are shared across social media on a daily basis. Your patients could be singing your praises on Facebook or saying that they received the worst possible advice from you on Twitter — in either case, you should pay close attention to these messages. You should be showing off your wins and working hard to win over your dissatisfied patients. Now, if only there was a way to access all your social mentions in one place (pssst we know of this great online reputation management software that has kickass social listening features). 

online review

Imagine a message like this is left on your Facebook page. If left without a response, your future patients will find this message and they will be convinced that your medical practice doesn’t care about its patients. 

Now, the real reason behind this might be a technical error or a miscommunication (or just human error which is totally understandable, doctors are humans too!). Clarifying the issue or apologizing for it and fixing it — now that says that you care. Something simple like, “We strive to do our best always. Please get in touch with us to help us resolve it.”, works. 

Remember to follow HIPAA Guidelines (it’s easier than you think to break them unknowingly) while responding to patients. HIPAA violations can mean fines or in some cases imprisonment as well. 

2. Online review management

Review monitoring is monitoring what customers are saying about your business on review sites, social media like Facebook, and industry-specific sites like Zocdoc.

And by the way, while they may sound similar, social listening and review monitoring are different

Most people check online reviews before they do practically anything today. It is no different when it comes to finding a doctor. 80% of patients browse through reviews as their first step towards finding a new doctor.

Doctor review

Almost 60% of patients have said that they have chosen doctors based on positive reviews or have avoided doctors based on negative reviews. You shouldn’t be losing out on patients just because you didn’t know about online reputation monitoring, but alas that is the world we currently live in.

Top review sites to look out for

Give yourself an edge over the competition by monitoring your reviews. Reviews are spread across a variety of sites. Here are the top 11 websites that doctors cannot ignore: 

Healthgrades: With 1.1 million provider listings, Healthgrades is one of the biggest, most trusted and comprehensive healthcare review websites there is. You can get a free profile on Healthgrades if you don’t want to spend a ton of money on your online reputation monitoring strategy. On the other hand, there are advertising programs as well on Healthgrades, which can be helpful to get the word out on your medical practice. 

Vitals: Looking for a physician? How about a million of them? Vitals has a massive profiles library and yes, you read that right — they have a million physician profiles. Have you signed up with them yet? Considering how much of an increase has been observed on local search, having profiles listed across as many websites as possible is strongly encouraged. 

ZocDoc: In addition to reviews, ZocDoc also has the option to allow patients to book their appointments on their app. How fantastic right? If you have yourself listed here and have good reviews, future patients can just check your reviews and if satisfied (think positive patient reviews) can book an appointment to see you right away. No more hassle of calling your office and waiting to talk to your front desk manager. Patients love it and you will too! 

Dr. Oogle: This site is specifically for dentists. We all love good teeth, but we hate going to the dentist. That’s just how things go (sorry dentists!). If your patients are already dreading their visit, you should remove as many obstacles as you can from their path. With Dr. Oogle, patients can check office hours, use coupons, check the most used keywords — all this in addition to reviews and star ratings. 

RateMDs: With over a million reviews, RateMDs is a premier website to have your medical facility’s information listed. In addition to reviews and other information, RateMDs also has information on things like value and cleanliness. Handy, right? 

Real Patient Ratings: This site is for plastic surgery patients. It can be quite stressful to find a doctor for when you are getting a cosmetic or a corrective procedure done. There is some stigma attached to plastic surgery that makes people not want to ask peers and friends for recommendations. In this case, online reviews from verified patients is literally a godsend. At Real Patient Ratings, there is a vast database of verified reviews. Are you getting some of this love? There are all kinds of resources here. From surveys to blogs to listings, has all the info your patients are looking for in one place. There are three different levels to get listed as part of their provider program. The good news is that all levels have the ability to create a listing. And that’s what you want primarily from a listing — to be found by your patients who are browsing online resources to get a recommendation. 

Facebook: Everyone is one Facebook and everyone checks Facebook reviews. Make sure that you have a verified Facebook business page and your customer reviews option is turned on. In addition to having your listing on this site, also lets you check into multiple healthcare networks like Vitals and Healthline. Via this website your patients can get a sneak peek into your training, certification, insurance plans that you accept and available hours. Pretty cool, huh? We think so! 

Google My Business: Google is everywhere. It’s so prevalent that search and Google have been synonymous with each other. You don’t want to be left behind. A majority of online traffic starts its search on Google and you want to get those patients to your office. The first step is to claim and set up a Google My Business profile for your practice. Again considering that local search is SO big right now, this also helps you to be found via all those “near me” searches.

Yelp: If you thought Yelp reviews were just for restaurants, well think again! Here is some trivia. Yelp came into existence because co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman couldn’t find doctors in his area when he was sick. Today, Yelp is one of the biggest review sites there is and your medical practice should not be ignoring it (there are apparently 13 million healthcare-related reviews on Yelp, we are not kidding). You should first claim your Yelp profile if you haven’t already. What are you waiting for?

How Can BirdEye Help?

These are only 10 of the many websites that cater to your audience. It can be challenging to be on top of everything there is to do via multiple websites and platforms. Doing all this manually while running a successful medical practice is almost impossible. With BirdEye you can see your listings, reviews, ratings across 150+ sites. You can also make sure that you have consistent information listing across all these sites. With BirdEye you can dominate local search, get tons of new patients, stay connected to patients via Inbox and Webchat, and monitor your online reputation. All this and more from a single dashboard. It’s a miracle, indeed. 

If you want to spend your time taking care of patients saving lives and let us worry about your online reputation monitoring needs, we got you. 

Watch BirdEye demo to get more info.