Reputation Management Tips for Doctors

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What to Do if You Get a Bad HealthGrades Review: 7 Smart Moves for a Good Doctor Reputation!

Doctors are not immune to online reviews anymore than the local bakery or car repair shop. But when it comes to reviews on Yelp or HealthGrades, the stakes can be higher. The doctor-patient relationship can have life or death consequences. So patients, who already take online reviews seriously for everything from accountants to zoos, look even closer at online reviews for doctors.

Even if you’re a top-notch doctor with great doctor-patient relationships, things can happen that end up in bad reviews on HealthGrades. The key to saving your reputation as a doctor after a bad review, however, is how you handle it. Before spouting off in frustration, take a deep breath and read through these 7 tips so you can make things better:

1. Actively Collect In-Office Feedback 

This is one way you can head bad reviews off at the pass—before they go online. If a patient is unhappy with the interaction, deal with it as quickly as possible. Before patients leave, have the receptionist invite them to fill out a review using a Reputation Management tool like Reputation Builder. Reputation Builder collects both positive and negative reviews right at the time of service. You can build up a collection of positive reviews, which can be extremely helpful for minimizing the impact of negative ones. But most importantly, if a patient expresses unhappiness while still in the office, and you deal with the problem before they walk out, it may prevent them from ever posting a negative review in the first place. In fact, dealing with the disgruntled patient before they leave the office may even turn their experience around so they post a positive review instead.

2. Use a Reputation Management Tool Designed for Doctors

Your profession is highly specialized, so the same reputation management tools that other small businesses use may not be tailored to the needs of the doctor-patient relationship. Reputation Builder has a module that is specifically designed to assist the doctor in improving relationships with patients and gathering feedback that helps you improve your practice over all.

3. Don’t Fight Online—Avoid HIPAA Violations

ReputationBuilder is HIPAA complaint.  However, when you are dealing with public online reviews, there are some particularly sticky spots for doctors and patients. So, whatever you do, do not invite legal problems by getting into an argument online with any patient. Doing so will not remove the bad review—it will only draw more attention to it. That’s the last thing you want. Work with unhappy patients privately and try to make it right for them in the best way you can (preferably before they leave the office). Do not get sucked into an online battle, regardless of how unjust the review seems to you.

I feel awesome about my experience with ReputationBuilder. It is an easy to use and affordable platform for collecting reviews and managing my online reputation. And, it's very affordable for the many, many features that the platform includes. 

Stephen S. 

4. Do All You Can to Make It Right with the Patient

Health issues can be highly emotional, both for the doctor and the patient. If you were less than sensitive when they needed sensitivity, do all you can to apologize. Offer them a gift certificate or a discount on a service. If they are just having a hard time, be extra sensitive to their needs and practice excellent bedside manner. Sometimes a patient will take down a bad review if they feel you’ve done your best for them. There are several ways to remedy a bad review, so you just have to look at the situation and see what would be most appropriate in each case.

5. The More Positive Reviews You Have, the Less Impact the Bad Ones Have

If you’re doing your best every day, you no doubt have a lot of patients who are glad you’re their doctor. Make sure to use a tool like Reputation Builder for doctors to collect reviews from patients who appreciate you. Reputation Builder makes it easy for them to leave a review before they leave the office, while their positive impressions are still on their minds. The more of these you collect, the less powerful the few bad reviews will seem to potential patients looking at your HealthGrades profile.

6. Do Fight Troll Reviews

Nobody is really sure why, but there are people who live to post bad reviews for businesses they have never even visited. These sad, twisted trolls are hard to stop. So, have someone in your office who is in charge of your online reputation and social media regularly go through reviews and flag any that seem suspicious—from potential trolls who have never visited you. If you find ones like this, you can contact HealthGrades, Yelp or other services and contest them privately to have them removed. Again, never respond these reviews online, out in the open.

7. Use Negative Reviews to Improve Your Practice

If you get a bad review that felt honest and justified, take a closer look at what you can do to make things better, both for that patient, and for your practice overall. Nobody is perfect, no matter how hard you try to come close. But improvement is always worth striving for, and your patients will appreciate your efforts all the more.

Asking patients for feedback right in the office is an excellent way to show them that you truly care about offering them the best service. Sign up for Reputation Builder today and find out how easy it is to find out what your patients think.

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About the Author

“Huseyin Y. Yildirimturk earned his MBA from Old Dominion University in 1998 and went on to start his own web design and internet marketing agency. With 20 years of Internet marketing experience and his advanced, certified SEO consultant status, he has provided his clients with high returns on their Internet Marketing investments. Master SEO Certification & Google Authorized Reseller”