Google: The Ultimate Second Opinion

As a physician, have you ever wondered if your patients Google you? The answer is undoubtedly, yes. People Google everything from where to eat, to where to live, so naturally, they will Google their future or current physicians. What they find on Google has a large say as to whether they make an appointment with your practice. Kevin MD recently published an article by Simon Sikorski, MD, stating that he published 12 case studies showing that “doctors’ reputations were improved with mobile technology.” In a situation where two doctors have the same qualifications and same specialties, the one with the better online presence and reviews will gain the prospective patient. The three things that new patients are looking online for are:

1. Your expertise. In most online profiles that physicians can create, there is an area given to list what your expertise is. This small piece of information is so important because patients often search by specialty. You don’t want to be passed up simply because your online information is incomplete.

2. Doctor review sites. A negative review from an unhappy patient can spiral out of control quickly. If the negative review is the only review out there, then it is guaranteed to show up multiple times, only further reinforcing that you are not the physician to choose. Monitoring what your patients are saying is imperative to your practice’s success. Some physician review sites give you the option of hiding a review, as well as responding to it. Being aware of what is said about you and your practice is the first step to online success.

3. Patient satisfaction and customer service. Patients want to feel as though they are communicating with someone. Google needs to be used as a tool to increase satisfaction and service with patients. Google presents a unique opportunity to address potential problems and solve them before they become larger issues.

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