Most Practices Struggle With Online Reputation Management

22 May 2018
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According to a nationwide survey by PatientPop, 80.3% of medical and dental professionals feel that maintaining a strong online reputation is very or extremely important, but most of them don’t know or aren’t sure how to positively affect their own practice reputation. Also, 71.3% of them receive reviews from 5% or fewer of their patients, suggesting that the methods they’re using to ask for reviews aren’t efficient, PatientPop reports.

“A well-managed online reputation has a significant influence on patients choosing a provider,” said Luke Kervin, PatientPop cofounder and CEO. “It also optimizes a provider’s prominence in search results. Providers with great reviews, a well-rounded online presence, and exceptional service stand out and will see patients gravitate to their practice. The survey results confirm healthcare providers currently aren’t doing enough to manage their online reputations.”

Nearly half of the healthcare providers surveyed are devoting more resources to managing their online reputation in 2018, and more than a third of them will increase their resources by up to 25%. However, PatientPop noted, challenges remain.

For example, nearly 88% of the respondents have at least some level of concern about receiving negative reviews, and 62.4% said a patient has posted a negative review of their practice. Yet only 18.4% of providers have a process in place to follow up with patients who post a negative review. 

Also, PatientPop said, providers are choosing outdated methods to manage their online reputation. Most either use solutions that address only one aspect of reputation or juggle several vendors at once, a strategy that demands additional staff time and budget, PatientPop said. A holistic approach to reputation management, and practice growth in general, still is not widely realized. 

The office staff often carries the burden of online reputation tasks as well. More than 44% of practices with reputation management plans said they will ask current staff to spend more time on reputation-related tasks, despite the high levels of burnout that these employees already suffer.

In March and April 2017, 200 medical and dental professionals responsible for online reputation management participated in a 30-question online survey designed to identify current trends and insights about tactics related to online reputation and its impact on business success. Participants came from a broad range of practice types, sizes, geographies, and job titles. PatientPop offered an incentive to qualified respondents in the form of a charitable donation of $50 to Doctors Without Borders. Responses were collected by a third party.

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