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The Basics

Two major providers are making a move to help them and their patients by upping investment in online reputation management. They’re looking for more (and more positive) reviews, plus an easier pathway to respond to negative ones. Provider ratings on sites like Google and Yelp are a significant factor when people look for care.

Our Take

A two-minute read for the high points; a 10-minute video/podcast for more

Doctors, we’re talking about your reputation.

And so are a lot of others. While you used to think of marketing and reputation management as “dirty words,” many of you are catching on to the necessity for doing both.

Online reviews are definitely a big deal for patients seeking a provider. Resistance to addressing them is foolish, especially when you start seeing a wave of negative reviews or inaccurate information – like the ambulance that ended up in an empty field because the online listing for a new facility was wrong.

So, how do physicians – ahem, healthcare marketing departments – take care of their online hygiene and manage their reputations? Well, it takes energy and effort – there’s no silver bullet. Which means that before you go sign up with a software provider, you have to do a little of your own recon:

  1. Find your information. Where does your organization show up online? Google? Yelp? Facebook? Where are people finding your brick-and-mortar addresses?
  2. Review your information. Are your hours and basic contact info correct on all those listing sites?
  3. Collect your information. Create a spreadsheet that will serve as a single source of truth. Seem overwhelming? Start with one segment of your organization, say the clinics or just your physicians. This spreadsheet will be critical to tracking your presence online once you do sign up with a reputation management vendor.
  4. Correct your information. You don’t need us to explain this.
  5. Respond to reviews. Get back to people and express your appreciation for their feedback. Don’t avoid negative comments. Don’t do anything foolish, like ask for personal health information in a public forum. Questions? Check with your legal and compliance team – or call us, for that matter (but not for legal advice).
  6. Solicit reviews. Some platforms, like Yelp, don’t allow you to ask for reviews. So check first. Where you can, make reviews part of the post-visit follow up. Make it easy for people. One more time: Make it easy.

So, should you follow in Sharp’s footsteps and embrace reviews, actively soliciting them to help people find you and to look better when the do? If you’ve got your aforementioned ducks in a row, we say bring ‘em on.

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