How to Diagnose an Online Reputation Problem


In some ways, the Internet has positively transformed medicine allowing physicians to have a slew of practice enhancing tools at their fingertips. We can search virtually any subject that comes to mind, including our own names--sometimes opening up a Pandora's box of problems that we never knew we had. Today's post is all about reputation management and the first test for diagnosing an online reputation problem should be Googling your own name.

Rating apps and websites for products, businesses, restaurants or people have become a common mechanism that people use before making a purchasing decision. Students use websites such as to gain insight on a teacher’s style, work load, attitude and so forth. Patients are also turning to rating sites to read other people’s feedback on doctors before scheduling an appointment. When a patient shakes your hand for the first time, it is entirely plausible that they have already read digital anecdotes about your strengths and weaknesses.

Depending on your perspective physician evaluation websites can be a beneficial tool for the overall doctor/patient relationship or they can be a nightmare. Negative feedback can be very uncomfortable to read, but it can be used to help understand how your patients are receiving you.

It's super important to keep your profile updated within the most popular rating sites--meaning all of your contact information online and offline, as well as, your credentials, licensing, and areas of expertise.

Your online status is practically an extension of your resume. You want people to perceive you in the best possible light, so aim to having a positive online reputation match your offline reputation as much as possible.

Professionals and patients want to find doctors that have positive online reputations and updated websites. Your personal online brand is something that can be honed each day to accurately depict a positive image for yourself. You have a lot of control of this process. Be mindful of what you are posting on personal social media platforms. The information will be public, so understand that your patients and other professionals have the ability to see this information when typing your name into the search bar.

Now onto the good stuff. Here are the best tips for diagnosing any problems with your online reputation.

  1. Learn how to Google your name properly. You’ll want to search your first and last name as if you were a complete stranger. This means your browsing history needs to be cleared. Use private browsing or incognito mode, depending on your browser, before typing your name in. Do not include any official titles (such as Dr. or M.D.) upon searching. Ideally, you will find your real self with pictures from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your own website, and so forth. If this occurs, your name is unique enough to generate an accurate search. If someone else pops up, you may need to add the Dr. title to your name or perhaps include your middle name. If there is a mix of information after searching, it simply means you need to focus on refining the information into a more streamlined image.
  2. Cultivating a positive online reputation over time. When you first begin the process, the information on yourself is likely to be sparse. It is up to you to add, change, and contribute information to help create a positive online brand. The more information you feed your online presence, the more likely your name will show up when someone googles you. If you do not have a primary website where most traffic flows, it is important to consider creating one. Other sites and apps will stem off of your main hub of information.
  3. Regular updating is also very important. Your online brand needs to follow the physical footsteps you take in life. This means updating your LinkedIn, Facebook, medical practice websites, personal websites, and so on. Keeping these websites up to date with your professional information will help bolster the effectiveness of your online image and reputation when individuals search for you.
  4. Consider the smaller details as well. You need to use professional usernames, email addresses, and website titles. In addition, stick to the same username for all of your online apps and websites. Your online presence needs to be polished and streamlined. All of your personal bios should be updated and similar across all platforms. Your personal and professional information should flow seamlessly between websites.
  5. Learn ways to automate evaluating your online image. There are many online tools that are available to help you understand what kind of traffic is moving through your online brand. Google Alerts and Mention are great free services that allow you to track your name on the web. Keep an eye on the number of followers you have and what kind of people are unfollowing you. At the same time, understand that followers are not a clear indication of your online success.


About the Author

Dr. Molly is passionate about using technology to improve the lives of patients and healthcare providers. She graduated from the University of Illinois College of...

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