The Medical Marketing blog focuses on how physicians can leverage the Internet to grow medical practices and apply technology to solve common business problems. The blog is led by Tony Mork, MD, an endoscopic spinal surgeon.

BLOG: Take charge of your reputation as a doctor

Doesn’t it seem odd that you should have to “manage” your reputation as a doctor? The answer to this question is the key to your success — online and off. You absolutely must take charge of your reputation. It has a direct impact on your practice.

The reputation management issue for doctors can appear like another area where we seem to have lost control. We know it is simply not possible for the average person to determine our medical competency. Can the evaluation of a medical practice be reduced to a few stars? Such a thing was unprecedented in the practice of medicine. So what is really going on here?

First, there is no way a non-medically trained person can adequately evaluate your competency. If this were true, then what is the star rating on websites about? It is a measure of customer service. The Internet is a perfect platform for a conversation about your practice’s performance. It is where people chime in about how your office is working — or not. It is about how people perceive your entire operation.

Public perception is another term that we never spent much time discussing in medical school, medical conferences or continuing education seminars. The mastery of our particular specialty has taken so much of our time and energy that we have had no time left to think of how our service can be presented to our patients. Now, our existing patients are affecting the new patient flow into our office by their ratings of our overall performance.

Who looks at these rating services anyway? Your prospective and old patients do. Is this an increasing trend?  You bet it is.

Isn’t practicing good medicine enough? Do you have to spend time guiding people’s perceptions? Not necessarily, but the gold will go to those who do.

I have developed the following seven-step process that will ensure you get better reviews (and shows you care): schedule better; emphasize a friendly staff; avoid putting people on hold; provide texting capability; promptly return phone calls; use video to explain things; and make follow-up calls to ensure that patients get their questions answered. You must have a system in place to direct and influence people’s opinions about your practice.

Next month, we will examine another important benefit of taking charge of your online reputation. Stay tuned.

Tony Mork, MD, is a practicing endoscopic spinal surgeon and author of Medical Marketing Demystified, a book that teaches physicians how to leverage the Internet to grow their medical practices. Mork also launched the Medical Website Academy, an educational website that highlights how to apply technology solutions to solve business problems. He can be reached at email: drtmork@gmail.com or www.tonymorkmd.com.