Finding Doctors Before vs Now:
Remember when you had to rely on prospective patients skimming through the Yellow Pages to find your practice? Before technology changed the way people do research, they used to rely upon telephone books, word-of-mouth, and referrals from other doctors to seek you out. Before Google Reviews, ZocDoc, and HealthGrades, to name few, patients relied on limited information when searching for a doctor. Today, they can simply type “doctors near me” in the search bar and have a list of results in the blink of an eye, along with reviews from previous patients and more. Because of these capabilities, people seeking medical care are more at ease knowing that they can find a doctor and do their research in the comfort of their own home. The question is, how do you improve the likelihood that it is you they reach out to.
The Power of Reviews:
Today, most doctors are on multiple insurance panels, so it is much easier for a patient to find a doctor that accepts their insurance. The bigger question for many comes down to how qualified is the doctor? Patients heavily rely on reviews for that answer. Reviews from patients can either make or break a doctor’s career. More than 84% of patients trust online reviews over word-of-mouth recommendations. HealthGrades is one of the popular review sites where they strive to provide a trustworthy and transparent review process. To do so, they monitor all reviews which are carefully confirmed and audited before being posted. They ensure that doctors cannot pay for reviews nor have negative ones removed. ZocDoc is another service where patients can search for in-network and out-of-network doctors. Unlike HealthGrades, you can also make an appointment with a doctor on ZocDoc’s website. Only patients who have made an appointment through ZocDoc and attended it are allowed to leave a review. An email is sent to the patient after the appointment asking for feedback. This protects the doctor from having false reviews which can hurt their reputation.
How to Boost Ratings:
Patients will always have positive and negative opinions whether it was about the quality of service or the wait time. Luckily, there are key ways you can boost your on-line ratings:
- Keep Websites Up to Date – This is a crucial step in providing a positive first impression. Websites should always be kept updated about the doctor, education, experience, memberships, and practice. Adding testimonials and reviews from satisfied patients can also build a strong online presence. Also consider adding important information, updates, and articles surrounding your area of practice.
- Encourage Patients to Leave Reviews – 61% of patients avoid doctors based on negative reviews, it is important to have the good outshine the bad. Most patients will not leave a review unless they are asked to and will not hesitate to leave one if they had a positive experience. Being humble and appreciative can also go a long way.
- Create a Blog– Having a blog can showcase a doctor’s expertise, which helps enhance credibility and trust within the community. Four tips in having a successful blog includes:
- Posting Regularly – At least one or two per month to maintain fresh content.
- Including headlines that will grab the reader’s attention – Narrow it down to a specific health condition, news event, or current health trend.
- Avoid Medical Jargon – Simplicity is key; therefore, the wording should be comprehendible to the reader.
- Make it Inviting – make sure blog postings are short, easy to read, and visually appealing. You can also consider short videos.
- Become Active on Social Media – 72% of Americans use at least one social media platform and many doctors such as Dr. Sandra Lee aka Dr. Pimple Popper has used this to her advantage. More than 40% of users rely on social media for health information. In her case, she used mainstream social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Not only does this develop a stronger patient trust, but you can become a thought leader in the field.
Do Ratings Matter?:
The bottom line is yes. As technology continues to improve the way we make our decisions, many people are turning to online reviews and doing further research, such as visiting the doctor’s website and social media, before choosing a doctor. Reviews from patients can have a powerful impact on your reputation, which is why it is important to maintain a strong online presence. Many doctors stay on top of their reviews because the better the ratings, the more appealing they are to future patients.