Online Reputation Management: Trending Topic or Industry Shift?

The following is a guest blog post by Erica Johansen (@thegr8chalupa).

It seems that in healthcare this year online reputation management has taken center stage in conversations as consumers have a larger voice in the healthcare purchasing experience. Reviews, in particular, provide an interesting intersection point between social media technology and healthcare service. It is no surprise that there is pervasive, and exciting, conversation around this topic across the industry at conferences and online.

During the #HITsm chat on Friday, we had an excellent conversation about the value of online reputation management by physicians and other healthcare providers, and what lessons could be learned from one managing their own reputation online. During our chat, we asked the #HITsm community (as patients) about their behavior leaving and reading reviews as a part of their care selection process, as well as the role that social technology plays today in the patient experience. There were some exceptional insights during our conversation:

1. Should providers be interested in their online reputation? Does it matter? There was a resounding “yes” among attendees that attention should be given to a practice’s online brand.

2. As a patient, have you ever read a review after being referred to, or before selecting, a new physician? Perhaps unsuprisingly, most attendees supported trends in consumer behavior by reading reviews of physicians online.

3. Have you ever written an online review for a healthcare experience? If so, was it generally positive or negative? Suprisingly, the perspective of our attendees suggested that the consumption of reviews was more common than the creation of them. Most folks just won’t review unless they felt compelled by an experience that surpassed,or fell too short, of expectations.

4. Is there an expectation that providers (individual and/or organizational) respond to social media engagements by patients? Our attendees chimed in that maybe it isn’t so much that there is an expectation, but it could signifantly help a negative review or solidify a positive one.

5. What would a healthcare provider who is exceptional at managing their online reputation look like? Examples? Stellar examples shared illustrated folks that have harnessed the power of social media to augment their patient expierence and brand. For example:

Bonus. What lessons could be learned from managing your personal online reputation that could guide provider reputation management? This question took a different turn than I initially anticipated, however, for the better. Many insights shared included mentions to social platforms and meeting the patients where they are. There is so much opportunity for the next phase of healthcare social media as platforms begin to cater more to feature requests and uses based on consumer trends. (One great example of this is the Buy/Sell feature added to Facebook Groups.)

Additional thoughts? There were some flavorful insights shared during the chat that are worth an honorable mention. Enjoy these as “food for thought” until our next #HITsm chat!

I’d like to say a big “thank you” to all who participated in the last #HITsm chat (and are catching up after the fact)! You can view a recap of these tweets and the entire conversation here.

#HITsm will take a break for the next two weeks over the holidays, but we will resume in 2017 on Friday, January 6th with a headlining host Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) and the @CMSGov team (@AislingMcDL, @JessPKahn, @AndreyOstrovsky, @N_Brennan, @LisaBari, and @ThomasNOV).

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  • I’m sad I missed this chat because this is a source of constant discussion on my team. Some things I’ve learned recently: (1) Our hospital gets 20x more reviews on Facebook than Yelp each month. (2) Facebook reviews tend to be highest, followed by Google. Yelp tends to be lowest. Followers tend to review more favorably on Facebook because we are engaging with them there continually. (3) Doctors absolutely should respond as often as possible – even positive reviews. (4) It’s amazing how a fast response can diffuse most negative reviews. (5) There are many advantages to publishing reviews on your own site.

    Online reputation management is a foundation of digital patient engagement. Ignore at your own peril.

  • Hey Jared, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! We missed you during our chat as well! You share some great insights here, particularly around Facebook being the biggest driver of positive reviews. During our chat last week, we didn’t even tough on publishing reviews to a website, but I agree there is a huge opportunity by doing that (as long as you have a strategy in place to respond to all of them). Thanks again for sharing your ideas!

  • Jared,
    What’s fascinating to me is how which sites get reviews matters by region. For example, in San Fran you’d probably have much higher yelp reviews and if you lived in the South (other side of the country) then you’d have to worry more about Angie’s list more. So, it is important to understand your region when creating a review strategy.

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