How Do You Rate Online?

November 6, 2008

Word of mouth -- always a powerful part of physician practice marketing -- is now louder and more important than ever, thanks to physician ratings Web sites and Internet-savvy, post-Boomer generation of patients.

Word of mouth -- always a powerful part of physician practice marketing -- is now louder and more important than ever, thanks to physician ratings Web sites and Internet-savvy, post-Boomer generation of patients. The oldest post-Boomers have reached their mid-40s, and even many of those in their 20s have solid jobs with good health plans. Likely, they’re a significant part of your patient population, and they’re not shy about airing their opinions in anonymous, public forums. What will they say about you?

Here’s the low-down on two physician ratings sites and how to use them, so you can turn this new marketing twist to your advantage:


What steps can you take to improve your ratings?

  • Assign staff to get familiar with doctor-rating Web sites.

  • List yourself. Can’t find yourself or your practice? All of these sites allow you to correct that.

  • Correct any incorrect or missing information. FindADoc allows you to e-mail them at contact@findadoc.com and argue for a more favorable rating. (One of my client-physicians successfully won this argument).

  • Respond to online comments just as you would to an angry patient in your office. Don’t let an unhappy patient’s comments go unanswered. The longer you let a negative comment or a bad rating stand, the more potential patients it will drive from your practice. Stay calm and let the patient know you want to resolve the problem. Following this advice, you can win back an unhappy patient (as did one of our clients) and show potential patients that you are reasonable and fair.

  • Promote your listings to your patients and to friendly colleagues and encourage them to rate you and post comments.

By following these steps, you will increase your positive ratings and your presence on these Web sites as the Internet becomes a more important part of your patients’ selection process.

Karen Zupko is a seasoned senior advisor who has been helping physicians to navigate America's healthcare system since 1974. She is a member of the American Marketing Association and Women in Communications, and has served on the board of trustees of Chicago's Grant Hospital. Karen is a graduate of the University of Kansas and a Chicago native. You can contact her at kzupko@karenzupko.com.