Choosing a new doctor is a process patients don’t take lightly. Three out of four people have researched doctors, dentists, or medical care online, according to a PatientPop survey.
When sorting through information, the majority (54.6 percent) of people seek online patient reviews to make an informed decision. Therefore, it’s not surprising that 69.9 percent of people consider a positive reputation a very or extremely important factor.
Here’s a look at top review sites and why it’s important to enhance your web presence by optimizing your profiles on these sites.
5 most popular sites for patient reviews
Half (48.8 percent) of people read reviews on Google, according to PatientPop. A free tool, Google My Business helps you engage patients searching online for your practice or a related service.
Your profile appears on Google Search and Maps and allows you to respond to reviews, post photos, and add business details using details from your profile. More than 3.5 billion Google searches are performed per day, according to Internet Live Stats, so this site can play a major role in online reputation management.
Previously known as Google Places for Business, Google Listings, and Google+ Business Pages, Google My Business is important to use even if you already have a practice website. Your profile adds visibility to your site on Google Search and Maps, and your website can be linked to it.
A healthcare provider’s guide: How to optimize Google My Business
A medical news and information site, WebMD gets 75 million unique monthly visitors, according to WebMD. Several other sites for patients and healthcare professionals also fall under the WebMD network, including MedicineNet.com, RxList.com, eMedicineHealth.com, and Medscape.com.
When you claim your WebMD profile, you’re able to update your listing on the more than 40 directories that fall under the company’s physician directory network. One-third (32.8 percent) of patients read reviews on WebMD, according to PatientPop, meaning it should be a key component of your online reputation management strategy.
Founded in 2004, Yelp is a popular review site designed to connect consumers with outstanding local businesses. More than 184 million reviews have been posted to the site — 8 percent are for health-related businesses — and most (71 percent) are recommendations, according to Yelp.
A popular review site, monthly Yelp traffic includes 35 million unique mobile app visitors, 69 million mobile web users, and 63 million desktop viewers. Nearly one-quarter (22.8 percent) of patients read Yelp reviews, according to PatientPop.
As a business owner, you’re able to create a free Yelp account to share business information and post photos that promote your practice.
The third largest site for health information, Healthgrades is a free resource that helps patients find the right doctor. Founded in 1998, approximately one million people visit Healthgrades each day, according to the company.
Every doctor in the U.S. who has an active profile with the National Provider Identifier Registry is listed on Healthgrades. More than one-fifth (21.8 percent) of patients read reviews on Healthgrades, according to PatientPop.
Founded in 2004, Facebook has 2.38 billion active monthly users, according to the social networking service. Most (two in three) users visit the page of a local business at least once per week, according to Facebook. Not surprisingly, a sizeable percentage of patients (16.8 percent) read reviews on the site, according to PatientPop.
In 2018, Facebook replaced reviews with Recommendations. Users are asked, “Do you recommend (business name)?” Their Yes/No response then prompts them to elaborate on the reason(s) they recommend your practice or offer suggestions for improvement.
Take control of your online reputation management
More than half (57.1 percent) of 18-to-44 year-olds use third-party websites — such as those listed above — when choosing a provider, according to PatientPop. Clearly, the importance of claiming and optimizing your listings and profiles on these sites cannot be emphasized enough.
It’s also crucial to ensure your practice is regularly getting patient reviews on these sites. Nearly half (44 percent) of consumers consider recency a key factor when evaluating reviews of a local business, according to BrightLocal.
Many patients put a lot of stock in reviews, making them a critical component of any online reputation management strategy. For example, most (91 percent) 18-to-34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to BrightLocal.
Claiming listings and profiles on third-party sites enhances your web presence. This is the only way to ensure your provider information is accurate on the sites current and prospective patients trust to help them find quality care.