Smart Strategies for Managing Your Practice's Online Reputation

December 27, 2016 by Antonio Arias, MBA, CHBME

Topics: Meaningful Use Stage 2, Practice Management, Medical Billing Company

NCG is committed to helping customers improve medical billing performance to help achieve profitability and practice success. But in today’s healthcare landscape, practice profitability involves a lot more than just the revenue cycle.

To improve financial performance over time, medical offices need to grow or expand by adding new individuals to their patient base. The primary way to do that in 2017 is to maintain an appealing, attractive online presence that aligns with your practice as a business.

In fact, appealing to online audiences is important even if you’re not currently accepting new patients. Ultimately, you want all external constituencies to see your practice as an ideal place to receive care. But maintaining a marketable online presence isn’t always easy, and it gets more and more difficult every month.

Whereas there used to be only a handful of Yelp-style websites where patients could ‘grade’ or ‘rate’ providers, today there are more than ever. Even the sites of many private insurers now include ratings and comments functions, where patients can share their thoughts on everything from wait times to administrative efficiency to clinical care or treatment plans.

The most digitally-savvy medical practices and healthcare groups invest lots of financial resources into crafting and maintaining their online marketing strategies. But even if that’s beyond the scope or needs of your organization, make sure to utilize the following efforts to ensure your practice presents itself well in the digital healthcare market.

Sell Yourself With a Smart Website. Don’t let third-party review sites be the only online outlets where patients can gain information about your practice. Establish an accurate and up-to-date website where people can see what services you provide and learn how to reach you. From that starting point, you can build out additional features and engagement-focused functions over time.

Claim Your Third-Party Profiles. After you’ve set up a site of your own, the next step of online reputation management is to seize or claim your practice’s profiles on all “find a doctor” and business-listing sites. If you don’t do that, you can’t control or address the user-generated or pre-populated information presented – increasing the likelihood that they share inaccurate or damaging information.

Assess & Address What’s Out There. Take a comprehensive look at what gets said about your practice on the internet. Are online patients complaining about your practice? What are their concerns? Avoid the impulse to dismiss criticisms and delete negative feedback. Reach out to upset individuals, respond to select comments, and launch improvement initiatives to address issue-prone areas of your operation.

Partner with Your Patients. If you are experiencing more negative feedback than you think you should be, it’s time to achieve greater alignment with your patient base. Invest in creating a sense of community between your practice and your patients, and talk to your most loyal patrons to see if they’ll advocate for you on online websites.

Stay on Top of Your Online Strategy. Reputation management isn’t a box you can check on your to-do list; rather, it should be an ongoing element of your overall practice management strategy. Identify a staff member who can keep watch over your online presence and keep you informed of pertinent issues to ensure you don’t experience any unfortunate surprises.


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