Medical profession is one of the few professions that works largely on an individual’s credibility. There are popular healthcare facilities but there are more popular doctors. In fact a good medical facility is one that has good doctors. In a profession so closely connected with individual credibility, there are many factors that could lead to weakening or losing it. Undesirable words originating from a disgruntled patient, a previous staff member or a jealous competitor could easily harm a reputation built after years of hard work.
With the penetration of social media, such incidents of intentional and unintentional loss of reputation are increasing with every passing day.Reputation loss for a physician often results in low reduced new patient referrals. When the doctor is related to a facility, the discredit goes to the facility, resulting in bigger loss of reputation.
There is a saying in the medical world “prevention is better than cure”. This applies perfectly when managing a physician’s reputation or facility’s reputation on the internet.
The first and the easiest way to start a reputation management exercise is to provide information to your target audience. Physicians with informational blogs regarding healthcare laws, disease prevention tips and any other information that could be of help to their patients. You being a source of information helps establish a positive image in minds of your patients and they trust you as a person with knowledge and thus capable for the job.
Educate your patients
From filling up basic forms to do’s and dont’s in chronic conditions, there is a lot that physicians can educate their patients about. Information technology now makes it easier for you to post such information on your blog that could be read by your old and new patients alike. Sharing these blogs on social channels like facebook and twitter take you a step further in becoming an authority on the subject.
Educate your staff
Many of your patients would ask a number of questions to your staff members. Educate your own staff so they can address some common questions asked by patients. In other cases, your staff could send the message to you and convey the answer back to patient. It not only takes the load off your time but also gives a feel good to patient for not having to wait for you.
Listen to your patients
Your old patients are a source of feedback. If they are not happy, do not ignore them. Responding to their concerns is one of the ways to show you care. A tip: never argue with your patients, especially not on an social platform. If such a situation arises, contact them yourself or have a staff member contact them personally and address their concerns.
Dealing with negative reviews
Social media gives immense power in the hands of users. One negative review is enough to dent your reputation. If the inevitable has happened, first ascertain if it is a real patient. If not, there are ways you can deal with the situation with the help of social media reputation management experts. If it is indeed a real patient, express regret and contact them personally to sort it out.
New social media channels are coming up with every passing day. In the times and age of social media and fake reviews / news, it is important that physician reputation management be treated as an essential activity. Allocating resources to it catalyses your professional growth and helps earn respect.