Thursday, September 18, 2014

Negative Practice Reviews on the Internet

Formerly physicians would receive negative reviews or 'bad press' in a local newspaper as a result of a malpractice case, deserved or not. The negative information is difficult to counter even if disputed. False reports were subject to libel complaints.  Individual bad feelings or complaints about a physician would be disregarded in the noise of other news.

However today a poor review or even less than a ***** (five star) rating on websites such as Health Grades, Vitals,  Rate MDs,  ZocDoc, and can be devastating to a practice.  WebMD offers an analysis of Doctor Rating Sites.

About 40 to 50 online sites -- such as Healthgrades, and Vitals -- allow patients to rate or write reviews of their physicians.

The visual appearance of a web page often has more authority than the printed content, when a user is searching for physicians and their ratings:   For Example:

Physician                      Satisfaction Score

Dr Good                          ******
Dr Soso                            ***
Dr. Who                          -------
Dr. Uhoh                          *
Dr. Missing
Dr. Maybe                       **

Let's hope it is not something like this:

Early on these services were very questionable, but some have improved.   Some are even 'respectable' and now have a mechanism for building their ratings, and sources.  An algorithm for **** power appears to have developed.

iHealthbeat offers how physicians can take a proactive approach to online rating websites. However, the devil is in the details and can take a considerable investment of time and alteration of practice routines.

Once upon a time physicians were unaware of these 'consumer oriented websites". Some did not even know they existed, however they are now or should be uppermost in any practice administrator or physicians mind set.  Even one negative review, or the absence of any reviews or a missing listing on a search engine such as Google,  Yahoo or  Yelp can be disastrous and result in a patient's bypassing your services. It is mandatory that administrators and/or physicians routinely monitor these websites, and have a consistent proactive approach to building reputation.  It is not expensive but does require a professional plan. It can be done internally, however there are marketing services that can incorporate into your overall marketing plans.

Any administrator can easily search any of those search engines to find ratings, or where your practice shows up on 1 or page 1000.  Few patient and consumer searches go beyond page 2, and page 1 is best.

Unfortunately the internet and social media are growing and changing on an almost daily basis. New social media sites appear, and grow rapidly, even in their content. What at one moment appears to be a simple social media site morphs into Google pages, Google local, Facebook pages and rating capabilities.  The source of virtually all of the ratings is from users and not accredited or credible.

Patients and/or consumers go first to Google when looking for services, even if it is a friend referral, and yes even if it is your 'plan provider book', online or printed.  No longer do patients call the medical society, which is usually way behind on information about their physician membership.

The opposite is also true. Physicians look up medical information as well as information about their patients on Google.

Find out more specifics and dowloand:

White papers:  pdf file  if you cannot open the pdf file download word file

1 comment:

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