A quick Internet search of any physician’s name or practice name can reveal some damaging information. Patients are more connected than ever before and anxious to tell others about their experiences – especially the bad ones. It does not matter if you see thousands of satisfied patients per year if a few disgruntled people leave negative reviews of your practice. In fact, just a few bad reviews can severely damage your online reputation, which may lead potential patients to choose your competitors instead.

According to Physicians Practice, 50 doctors gathered in 2012 to explore the topic of patient reviews and how they are affecting medical practices. What they found was shocking; one case study revealed that simply improving the online reputation of fewer than half of the doctors in a multi-physician practice brought it 33 out of network patients compared to just 5 out of network patients who visited as a result of an $8,000 advertising campaign. The results of this study show that in the same way bad reviews can damage your practice, positive ones can help it.

Understanding Patient Consumerism Until now, many dentists and physicians have been unaware of the impact their online reputations have on their practice. Some may not even be aware that patients are discussing their experiences and opinions on the Internet. The rise of patient consumerism, however, has changed everything in recent years. Simply having a website is no longer enough, as there are now third-party social interactions to cope with. With higher insurance deductibles and more out-of-pocket spending for medical expenses, patients are shopping around for health care providers the same way they look for an insurance agent or realtor – by searching for other patients’ reviews.

5-star reviews

Data shows that more than 4 in 5 new patients will research health care providers online before selecting a doctor or dentist. While many of them will visit a doctor’s website, they are also likely to explore a third-party review site as well. As of 2012, 60 percent of new patient Internet searches included visits to sites built upon physician reviews and ratings.

How to Manage Negative Online Reviews of Your Practice To say that bad reviews matter is an understatement. It now takes work to stay competitive in a changing healthcare marketplace. Unfortunately, most physicians and dentists do not have enough time to dedicate to online reputation management. After all, reviews are note merely isolated to just a couple of sites; rather, patients are taking to multiple major review websites to do their homework and voice their opinions. Examples include:

As a healthcare provider, it is important to take control of your reputation and let others know you have an active presence online. By partnering with a professional team of medical and dental marketers like Optimized360, you can curtail the negativity and stop losing patients to competitors.