Topics: Practice Management
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. Since 81% of Americans are searching for health-related information online, acquiring new patients means your medical practice has to have a solid online presence and reputation.
What Is Your Medical Practice's Online Reputation?
Online reputation management is critical to the success of a medical practice, especially when patients use the Internet to research everything.
Essentially, online reputation management for doctors falls under the category of marketing services meant to repair and improve a health professional’s online presence. It tackles the reviews, embarrassing public incidents, bad press coverage, or malpractice lawsuits that might threaten a medical practice’s success.
An online reputation also includes all the positive facets of a web presence, such as having a professional website and being able to thank patients for praiseful reviews.
Why Your Online Reputation Is Important
Research shows that 63% of patients choose one provider over another based on a strong online presence. Patients are using the internet to discover and research healthcare providers more than ever before. 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 from experts. However, maintaining a marketable online presence isn’t always easy, and it gets more and more difficult every month.
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. It’s important to facilitate reviews and address feedback regarding your medical practice, but your online presence can also include patient education resources and more!
5 Smart Strategies for Boosting Your Medical Practice's Online Reputation
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:
The most important thing is being consistent and staying engaged online. Your reputation online will continue to grow, and you have the opportunity to control the direction of your online reputation by staying involved in the conversation. It doesn’t look good to let reviewers’ questions or comments go unanswered, which is why maintaining your medical practice’s online presence takes consistent time and effort.
Embrace Online Ratings and Request Reviews
While many physicians aren't fans of online reviews, these websites are here to stay as patients continue to utilize them to compare healthcare providers and post reviews about their experiences.
Consumers use both healthcare-specific rating sites, such as Healthgrades and RateMDs, and general consumer sites like Yelp and CitySearch. The best way to catch a consumer’s eye online is to have a large volume of positive reviews across multiple rating sites.
If you're not sure how to ask patients to rate you, here are a few suggestions:
- Hand a card to the patient with the URLs listed for key consumer rating sites and ask them to rate you
- Add a clickable link for key sites to your email signature and website
- Keep a tablet at the front desk and ask patients to post a review before leaving your office
Be sure to try out multiple strategies to gauge what works best for your practice.
Engage with Reviews
Monitor your online reviews and reply to all of them – even the negative reviews. Consumers admire transparency, especially in the medical field. Each case will be different, but you should accept responsibility for their dissatisfaction and offer to make amends in a reasonable manner. Of course, for positive reviews, it’s thoughtful to reply and thank the patient for taking the time to write a review of your practice.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users
According to a Think With Google study, 44% of patients who researched a hospital on mobile devices scheduled an appointment. Optimizing your site with detailed information about your practice and making it mobile-optimized and responsive will help boost conversion and appointment scheduling. This also helps with ranking on Google’s results pages because the algorithm favors websites that don’t take a long time to load.
Take Full Advantage of Online Profiles
Another way to beef up your reputation is by completing online profiles on sites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, and RateMDs. As many patients search for physicians by name, you'll want a mix of different types of search results, including the content you provide. If you don’t add your practice’s information on a variety of sites, you can’t control or address the user-generated or pre-populated information presented, which increases the likelihood that inaccurate or damaging information is shared.
Bonus: Partner with a Practice Management Firm
Turn to the experts at NCG Medical for medical billing, revenue cycle management, and more to streamline your practice and optimize your operations. Outsourcing your medical billing can tremendously improve your practice in terms of internal and external efficiency.
A medical billing firm can equip your practice with 24/7 reporting via analytics, for example, or can act as an in-house electronic health records (EHR) expert. In doing so, the outsourcing service can help ensure that incentive program adherence doesn’t drag your team’s time away from patients.
With NCG Medical, you’ll gain a team of experts in your corner who can help navigate the worlds of medical billing, healthcare software, and more! Contact us today to learn how we can make your practice more efficient, enable better patient access, and ensure you give the most effective care.