Overcoming the Overrated Doctor Review System
Within the last year, the American Medical Association has called on all websites and online physician listing services that profile physicians to give doctors "the right to review and certify adequacy of the information prior to the profile being distributed, including being placed on the Internet.”
A vast majority of both doctors and patients distrust online physician listings because the content is largely inaccurate. To make matters worse, there are few if any physicians that are even aware of what is presented through these online physician listings. These websites should not be confused with either innovative marketing solutions or companies with account representatives to help administer the service for the physician.
So, it is easy to understand why doctors think these types of online physician listings and reviews are dangerous. Here are recent quotes taken from both physicians and patients via www.consumersaffairs.com:
PHYSICIAN - "I am not long out of residency and I am trying to build a practice. I do not have the time or the resources to sue a company like COMPANY XXXXX, but many others here have posted that they have tried to get blatantly false information removed and they were fed up and ready for class action. I really hope this happens. "
PATIENT – “ I have been trying for six months to have COMPANY XXXX remove a review that was on the WRONG doctor….Not only will they not remove it - they have been unwilling to allow my comment below the erroneous review. This is a sleazy company.”
PHYSICIAN - “I'm waiting for COMPANY XXXXX to get back to me about a new, clearly incorrect rating. Additionally they have my profile and even state wrong.”
Remedies for both patients and physicians are few. While patients need to find trusted and authentic sources of information, doctors have been encouraged to spend tens of thousands of dollars to hire online reputation management firms or, according to organizations like Physicianspractice.com, hire attorneys to sue or seek injunction. This reactive type of approach is defensive and may not even be effective.
What is effective is enabling the doctor to control their online presence. Here are some basic strategies:
1) Have a good website with original content
2) Publish ongoing content…especially video (because video dramatically increases visibility and traffic)
3) Work with the online physician listings that can elevate your online visibility and reinforce your brand
Having a good website and online listing with video could basically bypass all efforts of reacting and responding to reviews and banter. Innovative marketing solutions for doctors can attach educational video to both a website and profile. Doing so provides the highest level of transparency since there is nothing more authentic than a doctor on camera commenting on issues that are important to patients.
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