In the dark days prior to the Internet, it was difficult for patients to obtain information regarding a physician’s reputation. Today, people rely on the Internet to research physicians before making an appointment, something they can easily do with the help of dozens of websites and social media platforms that provide physician reviews.

And this trend has exploded. The daunting aspect of Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals and others, is that one bad review from a patient often misrepresents the quality of the care and attention you are providing. A recent Physician Practice story, points to a survey done by the Boston-based health tech company Nuance. It shows that more than half of the 3,000 millennials surveyed use online reviews to shop for a physician.

But how accurate is the information on the Internet…especially when it comes to physician reviews? Doctors find some reviews to be warranted, but others were not. One internal medicine physician, Dr. Ira Nash at the North Shore-LIJ Medical Group, said, “I’ve found them to be a little frustrating because for most of the online review sites, there was no way for me to be sure people writing the reviews had actually seen me in the office.” The information that is being spread about physicians cannot always be verified, so there is the possibility of fabrication. A patient with a grudge has an opportunity to spread false information about his or her doctor.

While many physicians aren’t happy with online reviews, there is some good news. The Nuance study demonstrates how more patients are coming to see their doctors armed with health information they found online. A more educated patient makes it easier for physicians to provide good health care.

In summary, the best way for physicians to market themselves is to provide good service to all patients. At the same time, it is worth spending time broadcasting the positive things about your practice so as to help ensure that your online image is a good one.

That’s where a marketing communications firm can help. With a team like Stafford Communications on your side, your online reputation will be replete with positive information and good reviews. For more information, contact