Healthcare online reputation management is often neglected by doctors’ offices. Some doctors do not realize that negative reviews online can become a deal-breaker for new patients, and it is likely that a good portion of their potential patients never reach out because of a bad first impression from the very same reviews.
A few sites, such as Healthgrades, RateMDs, and Vitals, are major online platforms where patients can leave reviews for other people to see.
The purpose of Healthgrades reviews is to connect doctors to patients by providing an open forum for reviews. Patients can post about their experience with a particular doctor and leave a rating for other patients to see.
These reviews contribute to the first impressions of your new patients. Seventy-one percent of patients use online reviews as the very first step to finding a new doctor.
Healthgrades also acts as scheduling software to make it easier for patients to create new appointments. It is free for doctors to create a profile and account, and it is a good idea since Healthgrades is one of the more well-known doctor review websites.
When dealing with negative reviews on Healthgrades.com – which will be a problem anywhere since no one can 100% satisfy every patient they have – the best response is to give feedback. From your Healthgrades account, you can reply to patient surveys and potentially heal relationships with your past patients.
To remove a bad review on Healthgrades.com, you can flag a survey. Healthgrades allows this for privacy concerns, the use of profanity, defamation or false allegations, or for spam reviews. Healthgrades makes the final decision in removal, but you can take the legal route if necessary, to ensure an inaccurate review gets taken down.
RadeMDs is another prominent site for doctor reviews. Patients can leave reviews based on their visits or communications with a specific doctor or healthcare facility and mention that doctor by name.
You can use RateMDs reviews to find doctors based on location, which makes this site much easier for quickly looking up a doctor nearby and skimming through reviews.
If there are multiple negative reviews left for your profile, people are less likely to click on your name to make an appointment. A whopping 59.9% of patients say they’ve selected a doctor based on positive reviews, and 60.8% say they’ve completely avoided doctors because of bad reviews.
Claim your doctor profile on RateMDs to respond to patient reviews. To remove negative reviews, you can flag them to have it looked over by RateMDs, which could lead to removal. Otherwise, you would have to acquire a court order to remove content if it is based on online defamation / cyber libel.
These reviews may seem minuscule, but they can have a significant impact on your number of regular patients. “Today’s patients (47.5%) trust online ratings and reviews as much as a recommendation from their doctor (46.8%).”
Zocdoc is a little different from other patient review websites. Zocdoc reviews can rate doctors, even if the author of the review has never been to see them in-person. People who work in the same office as the doctor can post reviews as well.
Of course, any reviews are helpful when someone is choosing a doctor to use. One in every two doctors even says that they read online reviews about themselves. Doctors and patients can both benefit from reviews, and websites like Zocdoc can be a good foundation for starting communication.
Zocdoc does moderate its reviews. Unfortunately, most review platforms like this will not willingly remove negative reviews just because they look bad. However, there are a few reasons why Zocdoc may take down a post, including cases of profanity, privacy violation, pricing specifics, the accuracy of treatment, or promotional content. If any of your reviews fall under one of these categories, you can have it removed.
Vitals reviews is a free online database of doctors and healthcare facilities. Patients can use Vitals to leave reviews, both negative and positive, although they can only leave a rating once a month, which weeds out anyone who is trying to spam a doctor with bad reviews.
If you are a doctor who did not know they had a profile on Vitals, do not be surprised. All doctors (from public records) are listed in the database. If you are no longer licensed to practice medicine, the listing will say, “inactive.”
To remove a review on Vitals.com, click the Report Abuse button to flag it for Vitals moderators to examine.
Dentist Reputation Management
Dentists should make their online healthcare reputation management a top priority. Even though it seems like most people choose their dentist based on the recommendation of a friend, 83.3% of patients actually say they trust online ratings and reviews more than personal recommendations. Online reputation management for dentists is available through the same online providers of physician reputation management.
Nearly 88% of respondents have at least some level of concern about receiving negative reviews, and nearly two-thirds say a patient has posted a negative review about their practice. All patients from all types of doctors have an opinion, so you should be very concerned as a doctor, especially since these reviews could make all the difference in the number of new patients you receive each year.
Online Reputation Management for Doctors
More than three-quarters of healthcare providers (80.3 percent) feel maintaining a strong online reputation is extremely or very important; however, the majority do not know or aren’t sure how to positively affect their own practice reputation.
Online reputation management services are the best tool for rebuilding a damaged online reputation. This type of service can provide help with medical reputation management. You could take the time and money to do all the work for yourself, respond to every customer review, and hire a lawyer to take down bad reviews, but it is unlikely that you have time to do all of that by yourself.