medical-reviewsA patient that doesn’t like her diagnosis. A drug addict angry that his prescription was refused. A Medical Assistant terminated for inappropriate office behavior. Any of these people, says Reputation Advocate, can use the Internet as a tool for revenge. Doctors are at a particular high risk for these types of attacks because of their visibility and sensitive nature of their work.

The Internet has made it easy to remain faceless behind a computer screen while offering up accusations against those in the medical community. This is especially problematic for doctors, as most patients consult online reviews before switching physicians. According to the team at Reputation Advocate, there are now dozens of popular sites where patients can submit reviews. Many of these require no actual evidence that the reviewer actually visited the office or doctor in question, making these websites unreliable when it comes to providing accurate and honest information.

Reputation Advocate believes that physicians have the right to portray their practice online the way they run it in person – with integrity. Unfortunately, because of the power of anonymous comments, doctors don’t always have the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills. This is troublesome not only for the service provider but for the patients who may be missing out on the skills they need to reclaim their health – all as a result of the doctor’s damaged online reputation.

So, how is a medical professional supposed to protect him- or herself against false reviews? It isn’t easy, acknowledges Reputation Advocate. Some doctors have tried requiring patients to sign an agreement barring them from sharing an opinion online, either positive or negative. While this might appear to be a great solution, the anonymity of the Internet makes it nearly impossible to enforce. It is also a strategy that can backfire since no reviews online is almost as bad as negative ones in the eyes of most search engine users.

As noted in several articles published by the Online Reputation Management experts at Reputation Advocate, brand monitoring is the single most important thing a doctor can do to protect him- or herself from negative attacks. This is a time consuming task but one that is well worth the effort. Keeping tabs on one’s digital brand – which for doctors is their name or the name of the practice – allows the practice owner to know what’s being said. It also offers the opportunity to balance the scales by promoting positive and more accurate content, allowing patients to get a better first impression even before they set foot in the office for their first visit.


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