Online Reviews Aren’t Just for Restaurants

Third party review sites, such as Healthgrades.com, are increasing in popularity among people searching for doctors. While these sites alone will not necessarily make or break your online reputation, they can certainly be a beneficial way to reach out to your patients.

Third Party Reviews: What You Need to Know

Third party sites allow people to review and rate doctors’ care online. However, the listings on these sites can sometimes contain incorrect information about a practice, so you’ll want to look over some of the more popular sites to make sure everything is correct. Fortunately, a quick Google search of your practice’s name will help you find out what third party sites are listing your practice. You only need to look at what is listed on the first page of results, since most people will only look at the first page of results. If there is more than one doctor in your practice, you may also want to do a Google search for each doctor’s name.

If you do find any incorrect information, you can usually correct it fairly easily. Typically, all you need to do is create an account with the website and claim your practice’s listing. The most important information to check is your address and phone number. You can also add a link to your website through some services. Creating an account can also help you to manage reviews of your practice. Some services, like Yelp, will even allow you to respond to reviews.

You may see a particularly great review that you would like to post on your website. Please proceed with caution. Review sites usually have privacy policies and content guidelines in place that spell out what can and can’t be used, so it is important to check before posting a review from another site onto your website. In general, it’s best to avoid reposting these reviews. Encourage patients to leave reviews on your website, too.

How to Respond to Reviews

While patient reviews can be helpful in bringing new patients to your practice, how you respond to those reviews can be just as important. In fact, you can even use negative reviews to your advantage. They can help you to pinpoint areas that may need to be addressed, like a customer service issue. An eloquent, well-thought-out response to a negative comment can demonstrate to patients that you are actively involved and concerned about their care.

If you decide to respond to a negative review, be ready to own the issue. Address the issue directly, try to solve it if possible, and explain why it won’t be an issue in the future. Be very careful not to take on a defensive tone in your response. Lead with an apology, and try to understand the patient’s needs and expectations; often, that is all it takes to quell a negative comment. On the other hand, you should also understand that you can’t satisfy everyone.

Top Third Party Review Sites

While there is no definitive ranking for third party review sites, some show up in search results more often than others. Yelp, for example, is a very popular review service. While not aimed specifically at medical practices, it can be very helpful to businesses of all kinds, as it offers the ability to really connect with patients or customers. In addition to ability to publicly respond to reviews, Yelp provides allows you to privately message reviewers to directly resolve any issues.

There are several third party sites target medical websites as well. In no particular order, here are some of the most common ones:

  • Vitals.com
  • Healthgrades.com
  • Kudzu.com
  • Zocdoc.com
  • Doctor.com

While review sites may not severely affect your practice, knowing your online reputation can certainly be beneficial to your online presence. Above all, remember to take reviews with a grain of salt, and if you choose to respond, do so carefully and respectfully. These sites can be great tools for your practice if you use them appropriately.

How about You?

Do you or someone in your office currently look for reviews on other sites?

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