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Physicians Should be Concerned about Their Online Reputation

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As physicians who are looking for a job, one of the greatest blessings and greatest curses on your job search can be the Internet. If a potential employer does a Google search on your name, what will they turn up? Are there reviews online from previous patients and associates? What kind of reviews? Are they good, bad, scathing, mediocre?

Job-seeking physicians tend to worry about their online reputations for all of the above reasons and more. And why not? As Karen Zupko over at Physicians Practice pointed out recently, “Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Like it or not, what patients say about you through online rating sites affects your practice. Even patients who are referred by a friend or family member will most likely search online to learn more about you before making an appointment. What they read on rating and review sites can impact their desire to schedule--or not.”

Now, a potential employer may be more sophisticated about the viciousness of the Internet, but a potential employer can’t always forget what they’ve read. Even an unfair negative review can raise questions about your competency for a potential position.

Physicians Practice offers several ways to keep your reputation online clean and positive. The first way is…

Search for your name on all rating sites.

“Before you can manage your online reputation, you've got to understand what patients have already posted about their experience with you,” Zupko writes. “Delegate the task of searching for your online reviews to a staff member and summarize your average ratings into one comprehensive document. Visit at least RateMDs, Healthgrades, Vitals, Yelp!, Angie's List, and Google--and if you are a plastic surgeon or cosmetic dermatologist, add RealSelf and RealPatientRatings to the list. Read through the consolidated summary thoroughly to get a sense about what you are doing quite well and which areas can be improved. You may be surprised to find that simple improvements could boost your scores.”

She’s writing, of course, to physicians who have practices with staffs. But there are several valuable tips that all physicians can glean from her points: First, you should read your reviews and know what people are saying about you publicly. Second, you should take these reviews seriously and not dismiss them as online tripe. And third, you should take any legitimate criticism on these sites under advisement and make changes where necessary.

If you do all of the above, you’ll be prepared to answer any questions a potential employer may have about your online reputation.

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