Health Information Exchange Featured Article

March 25, 2013

Doctor, Your Online Reputation is at Stake: Act Before it's too Late

It takes a very long time to build up a reputation in the physical world and just a whiff of unpleasantness could undo it all. It’s not much different in the cyber world, where a company’s online reputation evolves with its brand image – which can be sullied by malicious stalkers of the net, tricksters, bloggers or even business competitors.

Managing online reputation, then, is big business these days, and something companies can ill afford to ignore. That’s why SEO 1 Medical, a specialized Internet marketing firm that operates in Dallas, recently published an article on how the medical fraternity could protect itself from deliberate negative online comments that can so easily have repercussions.

The article, titled "Dealing and Removing Bad Online Reviews Before it Ruins your Career," underscored how important it was for doctors to highlight and optimize positive comments received from satisfied patients, and assume ‘damage control mode’ immediately when negative comments surfaced.

Interestingly, Rodney Brooke of SEO 1 Medical observed that 70 percent of potential patients consulted reviews or rating sites before making a purchase a service or product, and 61 percent people relied on those reviews.

With Internet access becoming easier and almost anyone being able to publish just about anything, doctors, physicians and all areas of practice have become more vulnerable than ever.

A few negative reviews meant to intentionally tarnish an image will succeed much more than a few positive comments, as by nature human beings, we tend to believe the worst more easily than the best.

And if counter action is not taken immediately, the harm it could do may be irreparable.

SEO 1 Medical believes this can be remedied to some extent by using its powerful online reputation management tool to help protect online reputations, increase credibility and relegate negative comments to the back pages of search engine results.

“Bad press and negative comments can have devastating repercussions on a doctor’s practice and the longer he waits, the worse it gets,” noted Brooke.

Online reputation management is still in its infancy and appears to have the potential to insulate doctors, healthcare professionals and others from image tarnishing comments, but it does seem as if it has some way to go before it can successfully combine marketing and public relations.

No one can contain the Internet grapevine, but one can ensure that it’s pushed back to where few are swayed by it.

Edited by Braden Becker
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