Managing the Online Reputation of Physicians

In a world increasingly dominated by social media and smart phones, it’s important to remember that prospective patients can access information about a physician almost instantaneously. As marketers, it is important to focus on the online reputation of employed physicians.

For restaurants, bars and spas, we look to Yelp to find out what other people are saying about local destinations. But what about healthcare? While Yelp has a home for health and medical reviews, we can’t forget about niche review sites dedicated to reviewing and rating specific physicians like Vitals and Healthgrades. Fortunately, a study by the folks at DocSpot shows that 65% of online reviews of healthcare professionals gave the highest rating possible, and 3 out of 4 reviews rated the physicians either a 4 or a 5 on a 5-point scale.

That being said, it’s important to ensure that physicians have listings on the popular review sites; they can be a very powerful tool in promoting a physician and building their online and mobile presence.

One of the more popular healthcare review sites – Vitals – even has a mobile app tailored to show the user the top 10 rated physicians within their area. The app has received 54 reviews in the App Story with an average rating of 3 out of 6 stars. One user reviewed the app saying, “A lot of useful information if you’ve had trouble finding good doctors.” Another user said, “Tried to schedule initial Dr. visit but was provided inaccurate contact information.” Both of these comments teach us very valuable lessons: consumers find physician reviews to be useful in making an informed decision about choosing a healthcare provider, and not leveraging these tools to provide current information for your physicians could be deterring prospective patients.

As a consumer, do you utilize review sites when searching for healthcare providers? As a marketer, have you built managing online review sites for physicians into your strategy?

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3 thoughts on “Managing the Online Reputation of Physicians

  1. Lauren, I occasionally used Healthgrades in the past and also found it helpful. The information as you mentioned before is not always accurate. It almost seems that consumers would like to get that information but the physicians are not actively pushing and supporting it too much. You mentioned that the mobile app received 3 stars out of 6. I am not sure if that industry is almost better off to just have a mobile version of their website since it is not an app people use every day. For an app to be successful it needs a certain amount of people to use it. Otherwise the app will get “lost” within all the other apps that get published every day..

  2. I love the idea of online reviews for products and services and even places but I’m not a fan of online medical reviews. People often rate a doctor or hospital based on if they got well and how long it took; which is not necessarily correlated. While I would definitely read reviews about doctors, I would be hesitant to take any of them to heart.

  3. I’ve used HealthGrades in the past, but I’ve never used Vitals before. Does HG have a phone app too? The first time I really realized the value of a doc’s reputation was in undergrad 7 years ago. The University kept saying “we have a doctor on call in case we need him.” But no matter how sick I was (or anyone else), the doc was never there and I couldn’t get much out of them. I did a little digging and found out they “hired” a gastroenterologist” to basically just be “associated” with the school, and he had SEVERAL malpractice suits filed against him. I was not too thrilled, but I’m glad this type of information is more readily available, and people really know how to access it these days.

  4. I’ve used HealthGrades in the past, but I’ve never used Vitals before. Does HG have a phone app too? The first time I really realized the value of a doc’s reputation was in undergrad 7 years ago. The University kept saying “we have a doctor on call in case we need him.” But no matter how sick I was (or anyone else), the doc was never there and I couldn’t get much out of them. I did a little digging and found out they “hired” a gastroenterologist” to basically just be “associated” with the school, and he had SEVERAL malpractice suits filed against him. I was not too thrilled, but I’m glad this type of information is more readily available, and people really know how to access it these days.

  5. I have definitely utilized review sites when searching for healthcare providers. When my son was born, we had several bad experiences with a few of the pediatricians at his office. I decided to do a search for them online, and not surprisingly, many others had the same type of negative experiences. I was able to learn through their reviews about good doctors that they had transferred to within the same clinic, and I ended up doing the same. Now, we have a great pediatrician!!!

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