In the past, patients relied on word-of-mouth (WOM) referrals from families and friends for choosing their doctors. But today, the majority of the patients engage in an online search prior to reaching out to the clinician. Surveys revealed that 94% of the patients evaluate their doctors on the basis of online reviews. Moreover, the development of physician ratings on websites has made it easier and more flexible for patients to access information about the doctors. Researchers examined the impact of doctors’ online reputations on improving patient satisfaction to gain a clear understanding of the importance of online reputation management. Online data of 4037 doctors were thoroughly reviewed.
The results of the study demonstrated that the doctors striving to maintain better online reviews and visibility attracted more patients. Therefore physicians’ effort to manage their online reputation is critical in attracting patients.
The best practices that can be followed by the doctors to maintain a good online reputation are listed below:
1. Improve online visibility- Optimising and updating doctors’ personal websites, social media and Google-My-Business profiles is of the utmost importance in managing online reputation. It provides a clear idea to the patients about the doctors’ credibility and expertise. Additionally, multiple physician rating websites collect their data from Google-My-Business profiles to rank the physicians.
2. Request patients to provide online reviews and feedback- It is ideal to request the patients to provide reviews regarding the services provided by the doctor after the appointment. The reviews can be requested through email links, WhatsApp or the feedback portal on the doctor’s website. The increased number of positive reviews demonstrates increased recognition of doctors’ practice.
3. Response to feedback and reviews- Responding to patients’ feedback, queries or reviews is critical in improving online reputation and developing a bond with patients. Upfront response to both positive and negative responses demonstrates doctors’ commitment to improving patient care.