In the not-so-distant past, a doctor’s reputation and credibility spread by word of mouth. People asked friends and family members for recommendations, and then they gave that doctor a fair try. However, today doctors are finding that their negative online reputation can keep patients from even walking through the door. Even a handful of negative reviews can cause patients to decide to go elsewhere, leading to an empty practice and blank schedule.
Doctors work long hours in very stressful and high-stakes situations so it is completely unreasonable to expect every single patient to walk away completely satisfied with joy. One powerful tool every doctor has to build patient trust and establish credibility is online reputation management. Every doctor should have a high-quality, positive online reputation to ensure that they are represented accurately to patients.
How do online reviews affect my practice?
According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of internet users in the United States seek health information online. This health research often includes research related to specific doctors and practices. When someone searches for a particular doctor’s name, they will be easily swayed by whatever pops up on their screen. If even a single negative review shows up, chances are the patient will quickly click away.
This is why it is critical that doctors give attention to their online reputation management. Given the time, effort, and dedication that doctors put into their work, they deserve accurate online representation and recognition. One fast growing agency that has helped hundreds of doctors solve this problem is EverTrust MD. Founded in 2015 by high-profile successful internet entrepreneur Khuram Dhanani, EverTrust MD has worked with hundreds of doctors in the United States to help them improve their online reputation.
According to Dhanani, “Most doctors don’t realize how much damage negative online reviews do to their practice. Over time, even a single negative review can end up costing a doctor tens of thousands of dollars and the problem just continues to get worse as time goes on. However, with a proper online reputation management strategy, it's not uncommon at all to reverse this problem and see a doctor boost their patient count by 40-50% within 90 days.”
While internet reviews are certainly not the most reliable source of information, it is easy to understand why patients react this way. When searching for health care, the stakes are high and patients are feeling vulnerable. They are searching for anything that can help reassure them that they are making the right decision for their health.
How can you manage your online reputation?
In today’s digital world, a doctor’s online reputation is as crucial as ever. The biggest mistake most doctors make is not having an effective, proven and results-oriented online reputation management strategy in place for their practice. The public perception of a doctor can be seriously damaged with even a single negative search result. Over time, a doctors online reviews quickly add up and can either make or break a practice.
The most common strategy is to respond to negative reviews, however, that doesn’t remove the negative review itself & has a limited benefit. In addition, potential patients typically look right past the generic response from the doctor and focus on the negative review itself. According to Khuram Dhanani, CEO of EverTrust MD, “This problem only compounds over time as bad reviews slowly accrue. The best solution is to have a professional execute a strategy that makes sense for your practice and your specific needs.”
In the past, a patient may have told a few friends about a bad doctor experience. Today, with just a few clicks, the patient ends up telling thousands of people in one shot. The power is now truly in the hands of the patient. And, regardless of the level of care provided, a certain percentage of people will always walk away unhappy with their experience. As a result, negative reviews are truly unavoidable and cost doctors reputational damage, patients and revenue. Doctors and practices need to stay on top of online reputation management and embrace the digital era that is upon us to avoid ending up with poor reputations and empty waiting rooms.