There’s an article that ran in the Washington Post recently that discusses Physician Rating Websites and the fact that sites like these are a growing trend. Even Consumer Reports is getting into the rating business and is reported to have signed on to partner with Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (they’ve been doing something similar since 2006) to rate 487 primary care physicians in Massachusetts.

The article is interesting and worth a read. Also worth a few minutes of your time is the survey the article references where more than 386,000 physician ratings were analyzed and indicated that for the most part, docs get pretty good ratings (nearly 4 out of 5 stars). In all, over 250,000 physicians have been rated on alone.

What the article does not discuss is how these ratings effect your practice. The fact is that these ratings (386,000 doctors via alone) show up in your search results.  Since your potential patients go online before scheduling an appointment, you really need to pay attention to this growing trend.

Here’s a video I did recently for Physicians looking to get the arms around this trend.

In the above video, I say that claiming your profile is the first step in managing your online reputation, but after review of the video for this post, let me say that I was wrong (depends how you look at it).  The actual first step and most effective method for managing your online reputation is to actually provide a good patient experience.  Here’s a post I did recently about The Importance of a Friendly Staff that I think provides some pretty good reminder information.

Why should any of this matter to you?

  • More than 92% of buyers regularly check reviews online before making a purchase or service decision.
  • 75% of searches don’t go past the first page of Google and these ratings often show up above all else.
  • 80% of shoppers change their purchase decisions based on negative reviews.
  • More than 100 million people choose to determine who their physician will be – and that number is growing.
  • Searching for healthcare information is the 3rd most common online activity.

If you wonder how labor intensive managing your online profile on these physician rating websites can be, take a look at this quick video that answers the question, Should I pay attention to physician rating websites?

Yes, my business works hard to manage and protect the online reputation for our clients.  However, we don’t make guarantees.  The fact is that if you want to have a good reputation, you need to not only be good at what you do but also be good in your delivery.  And this applies to not just you but the people whom you employ.  Managing your reputation starts with you.

If you are considering hiring a company to help manage your reputation, consider hiring a content manger first.  If you have something you need to react to, read this article so you know what these so-called reputation managers are claiming they can do (which is not always true).

I’m in the beginnings of putting together a series of legal case studies about doctors and/or practices who have had their reputations tarnished by a false statement online and have taken legal action as a result.  If you know of anybody I can talk to, please send them my way.