Getting to 5 Stars: How Doctors and Hospitals Can Manage Their Online Reputation

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09/10/2018 in Blog

To become an Oracle Eloqua Luminary, you must demonstrate proficiency in the Five Tenets of Modern Marketing and skillfully define and implement effective modern marketing strategies.  Kurt Hanson, who holds this esteemed Luminary title, applies this knowledge in his role as a Director of Solution Consulting to help hospitals and health systems execute advanced marketing automation and data integration tactics.  As a subject matter expert, Kurt shares his insight and explores these topics in the Healthgrades Insight blog.  See the first article in the series, Simplify Your Strategies: The 4 R's That Every Healthcare Marketer Should Consider.

As more and more consumers rely on the internet to inform their healthcare decisions, a provider’s online presence and reputation can impact whether or not these consumers choose your practice or health system.  Online reputation management can influence many facets across a single healthcare organization: overall perception of the system, an individual hospital, clinic, specialty or service line, or an individual physician.

The digital economy has made an online presence and reputation management a priority within the healthcare marketing department.  With limited resources and budgets, there are 4 important tasks that marketing teams should focus on to manage a provider’s online reputation and address the reviews that are being shared.  

“Online reputation management (ORM) is the practice of crafting strategies that shape or influence the public perception of an organization, individual or other entity on the Internet. It helps drive public opinion about a business and its products and services. – Techopedia

Assess your online reputation via search

To understand the consumer perspective, search your health system, key physicians, and important service lines in your area.  Where do you rank for those service lines? What do the reviews say about your hospital and doctors? Where does your system rank in the search results?  This simple search can help identify a number of things:

Does my website need SEO optimization to garner a higher search result? SEO optimization can greatly increase your search rankings, drive traffic to your website, and could ultimately impact new patient acquisition.

Are there any reviews or rankings showing up within the Google search? Are they positive or negative? Which platform is populating these reviews (e.g. Google, Yelp, Healthgrades, etc.)? Visit those review sites to understand the perception of your health system or practice.  Is your reputation trending positively or negatively? Is there an underlying theme in the positive or negative comments? Expand on the positive, and work to improve upon the negative.

Remember, when searching your system or physicians on Google, put yourself in the role of the end-consumer. They may not know the exact location, physician name, or specialty, but are looking for answers. Try searching different combinations of keywords to see how the unique combinations affect the results. Asses the above questions for each search that you execute. Once this has been completed, you’ll have a better understanding of your current online reputation.

This analysis identifies areas of improvement and provides healthcare marketers with an opportunity to address patient remarks to increase satisfaction.  

Set up Google Alerts

When you set up Google alerts with a name, phrase, or search term, you will get notified via email when new content is detected.  By setting up alerts for industry trends and key terms, you can stay up to date on the latest news and industry happenings. Make sure you are following topics that are important to both your health system, your community, and consumers.  

Social Media Management

Next, regularly check in on your owned social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). Consumers tend to be the most forthcoming on these properties. Take the time to review and respond to comments, both positive and negative, in a timely and tactful manner.

Encourage the positive comments by thanking the consumer for posting. Try to mitigate the negative comments and demonstrate that you value the poster’s opinion and will make an effort to correct any issues mentioned.

Ignoring negative comments should never be an option. By turning a blind eye to negative comments and not addressing the issue, the reviewer may share their frustration on review sites, blogs, and through other avenues. It’s best to handle those situations in a timely manner and assure the person that you have heard them and are interested in a resolution.

Keep information current

When conducting reputation management searches, it’s important to look at all of the results and not just the reviews. Make sure contact information, locations, services, physicians, insurance, etc., is current.  With the breadth of the internet, this is easier said than done, but try to keep your information up-to-date on as many sites and platforms as you can. Accurate and complete listings of your locations and physician’s information are critical to your brand and patient satisfaction.