Online Reputation Management and How it Impacts Patient Acquisition
Reputation management has always been important for healthcare professionals. Bedside manner, patient word of mouth, and reputation with colleagues all contribute to the overall reputation of a medical practice. Building the practice or career as a healthcare professional has always correlated with maintaining a positive reputation.
In the digital age, the new aspect is your online reputation. Your online reputation won’t always coincide with your real-life patients’ perception, though.
Offline, your reputation changes as a direct result of the care you provide to patients in your office. Online, your reputation can vastly fluctuate as new factors come into play, with a multitude of outlets patients now have to rate, review and discuss.
That’s why healthcare professionals need to take a pro-active approach and control their online reputation; otherwise it ends up controlling their practice.
Patients Don’t Rely Solely On Word-Of-Mouth
Patients always have and always will talk about their medical experiences. If the patients love the medical care you provide, there is a high likelihood that their friends and family are going to hear about it. Conversely, if they have a negative experience, they’ll be warning them about that as well.
Online, many of this type of conversations will take place on social platforms instead of in person. Already more than a third of people in the US say they use social media to gather healthcare information.
Patients also dive deeper rather than simply asking their friends for doctor recommendations. Recommendations are only starting points for patients to research healthcare professionals.
Before any contact with your office, patients will look for reviews, to learn more about your expertise, background and if your online profile provides a sense of transparency. An online reputation that helps build trust helps you acquire more patients. It makes perfect sense, whether you’re looking for a doctor, a restaurant, or an auto mechanic.
A study conducted by Harvard Business School found that earning one extra star on Yelp led to a 5–9% revenue boost. For healthcare professionals, making sure you have a strong profile with a positive rating not only on Yelp but on medical-specific review sites as well can be a major boost to your practice. Monitoring and ensuring that your profiles on these sites reflect how you want patients to view your medical practice is an essential part of modern patient acquisition.