Marketers working for doctors and dentists need to focus on their clients’ reputation management these days..The era of family doctors is gone now. Just imagine that you are about to see a healthcare professional. So, most of us would get on the internet and find out all we can about the medical professional we will entrust with our health and wellbeing. This comes before we even pick up the phone to make an appointment or fill out a contact form. There are various websites that a consumer can go to find out what other patients have to say about a certain doctor or dentist.

What do the numbers say?

Does this mean healthcare institutions stand to lose potential patients before they even speak to them? It sure does and here’s why:

  • About 84% of patients research medical practitioners before they visit the doctor’s office
  • Online reviews matter to at least 76% of the patients before they choose a hospital. Therefore, it won’t be an exaggeration to say they make their choice based on a hospital’s reputation
  • While more people are paying attention to the negative reviews online, less than 2% of all ratings received a response from physicians as recently as in 2015
  • According to the US National Library of Medicine, as many as 90% of people used online reviews before they did business with any industry.
  • What’s more, another study showed that 48% of patients were convinced by positive online reviews to pay for out-of-network treatment. This is because they wouldn’t compromise on the quality of service.

What else can reputation management do for a healthcare institution?

Besides bringing in more patients, reputation management is useful in many other ways. A healthcare institution that invests in its reputation also ends up with additional strategies to solve other problems. 

For instance:

Efficiently countering emerging resistances

If reputational investment drivers are low, it could lead to lower investment in cultivating a favorable reputation. By leaving the latter on the backburner, your facility might not be able to counter future risks as effectively. Instead of putting out fires as they happen, it is effective to have a strategy in place that keeps the problems from happening in the first place.

Combatting an inherently higher risk rate

In the medical profession, there is usually no room for error. That’s because a fault could have disastrous – and even – catastrophic results. Therefore, healthcare institutions are always at high risk due to the factors inherent in their industry. The higher the risks, the more there is the need for an organization to invest in its reputation. Reputation management can heavily buffer against such risk. It will also aid in gaining market leadership as this cannot be acquired without commercial goodwill. For a healthcare institution, thus, reputation management isn’t an afterthought. It is a core market strategy asset. 

A competitive edge and a marketing tool

Reputation management can provide a healthcare institution with a competitive edge. But this isn’t all. By lowering the inherent risk, it also lowers the impact of any errors. Thus, you may now begin to realize the potential of a positive reputation as a marketing tool. By investing more in your reputation, you would also be maximizing brand exposure. 

Recruitment and Reputation

Recruitment may also suffer due to reputation. Millennials form a major portion of the workforce right now. They are more likely to opt for working in companies that have positive reputations. Therefore, if your hospital or medical facility has a negative reputation, you can cross many of the more-suited employees off your hiring list!

Improvement of best practices in customer service

If you are thinking that by being highly skilled or capable at your job as a doctor, you can win positive reviews from all your patients, think again! A reviewer doesn’t just consider your performance when they jot down their thoughts. They also rate the entire experience that they have with your practice. That means they will be looking at every staff member they meet while they are there for treatment.

By realizing the importance of reputation management early in the game, you can invest in training your staff in customer service best practices. Making it a part of company policy can ensure that these practices will be followed closely. Do you know that 48% of patients put a value on the ease of scheduling appointments and friendliness of the medical staff? If these qualities aren’t making it in the online reviews written for your practice, you are not doing enough.

Become a pillar of the community

In the health sector, competition can be a touchy concept. It is evident that there is no dearth of options for prospective patients, so healthcare providers need to be exceptional to be chosen. Your practice is likely a part of the community that it serves. So, your marketer must present it as the go-to option to your target audience. Reputation management can assist in that aspect as well. You could show off your employees playing an active role in any local advocacy efforts. Through social media, you may present a personable side of your business to your prospective patients. Check out this post by the Massachusetts General Hospital. It displays a more personal approach to caregiving that is much-needed at this time. 

Components of a successful reputation management process

A great Healthcare Reputation Management process is more than tweets or social media posts. It is a comprehensive strategy that focuses on different aspects, including the following areas:
  • Message charting
  • Media relations and training
  • Crisis Communication
Online physician review and reputation management via websites like RateMDs, Vitals, Real Self, and Health Grades

Social media management through forums like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

Blogger Relations

You may be a medical doctor, an orthodontist, or a dentist. What you need to understand is that a negative review won’t be relegated to the back of the stacks anymore. They aren’t just hurtful but can also be downright slander! Partner up with a reputation management expert and keep track of your online reputation.