Most healthcare professionals understand the importance of reputation management. They realize that as part of their day-to-day operations they have to find ways to combat and address negative reviews so that their practice isn’t adversely affected.

But many of these same physicians – orthopedics included – overlook perhaps the most important aspect of reputation management: implementing a strategy that encourages more positive reviews.

This type of proactive approach to your reputation management is directly related to how effective you can be at addressing your negative online comments. It’s a lot like weight management: many people focus solely on the concept of losing fat, without realizing if they simply added more muscle, their bodies will do the work of burning fat on its own.

In this scenario, your negative reviews are the fat, and the positive reviews you actively seek out are the muscle.

So, let’s start building your muscle, shall we?

Here are 5 quick and easy ways for you to get more positive reviews for your orthopedic practice

  1. patient-educationMake your patients aware – Many of your patients won’t even think about posting a review unless you tell them you’re on these sites. Let them know that you not only encourage reviews, but let them know which sites they should visit to post their comments. This might include in-office signage, flyers, or even adding a section as a part of a digital newsletter you send out.
  2. Simplify the process – Nobody wants to have to jump through hoops for something that doesn’t even directly benefit them. Make it easy for your patients to submit reviews by including links in your newsletter, or within your standard post-appointment follow-up email. Orthopedics aren’t strangers to older patients, so make sure you help explain the entire process to those less-tech-savvy folks. This might include creating handouts explaining how to create an account and submit a review. Make these handouts available throughout your office.
  3. Reach out to past patients – Often times, doctors will reach out solely to current patients for reviews; however, if you have the email addresses of past patients, feel free to reach out to them asking for their contribution.
  4. Encourage multiple review sites – Don’t stick to just one review site to send patients to. Search engines (and your future patients) will appreciate the presence you build across a variety of sites.
  5. Remain HIPAA compliant – Remaining HIPAA-compliant is, of course, of the utmost importance. But people love to receive feedback from their views, meaning you have to find a way to remain compliant while engaging with your patients online. One effective way to do this is to craft a few strong, HIPAA-compliant responses to reviews, so that you have them at your disposal. This will ensure you remain compliant, present a consistent voice, and can respond in a timely fashion to each review without having to expend your resources.

Soliciting reviews is just one step. First you have to make your patients like you!

It’ll be difficult to encourage your patients to submit positive reviews if they simply don’t have a positive experience in your office. That’s why your first step in proactive reputation management is to ensure patient satisfaction.

Here are 4 tips you can try out to ensure your patents will want to hop online to give your practice a glowing review.

  1. Create patient satisfaction surveys – Patients appreciate it when they feel like their voices are heard. Each quarter, conduct satisfaction surveys that help you understand the experiences of your patients. Correct any problems quickly. Consider sharing the results with your email subscribers and how your practice will change to improve patient experience. Your patients will love the transparency.
  2. healthcare-trainingTrain your staff – We can’t stress it enough, that untrained, unprofessional staff members can send your patients packing in a heartbeat. Consider engaging with a 3rd-party company that specializes in onsite healthcare staff training, and create a reward system for staff members who actively interact with patients.
  3. Always be better – By this we mean there are always ways to improve the patient experience. Your quarterly surveys will help you determine areas in need of improvement. But generally speaking, most orthopedic patients cite long wait times and rushed visits as reasons for leaving for another doctor. Find ways to create systems that remedy these issues.
  4. Include human interest stories in your newsletters – If your practice sends out a newsletter, try to incorporate patient stories that focus on the relief of pain after treatment. These human interest stories help to personalize your practice and offering, and connect you with your patients, beyond just announcing the latest new technique you have in the office.

Many orthopedic doctors are behind the curve when it comes to proactive reputation management strategies, including building up a stable of positive online reviews to combat any negative ones that happen to pop up.

Negative reviews are unavoidable; particularly since unhappy patients are far more likely to air their grievances online than satisfied patients. Do your part to protect your practice by reaching out to your patients and encouraging them to submit reviews to a host of popular ratings sites. That way, if and when negative reviews do arise, they’ll pale in comparison to the scores of favorable comments that exist about you and your practice.