Does Reputation Management Really Matter?

Glad you asked. In the internet era, your online reputation is your reputation.

It use to be that you practiced great medicine and patients came through the office doors. Today, patients have more choice and more tools than ever.

Regardless of whether a patient was referred by another provider or a family member, chances are they’re going to check-up on you online. And if they’re given a few different names, what they see about you can greatly influence their decisions.

It’s your job to ensure that the offline realities of your practice match the online reality these potential patients see. If you’re a great doctor, but a few angry patients post negative reviews and tarnish your online reputation, we can guarantee it will affect your practice.

In 2015, ninety-two percent of consumers read online reviews to determine if a business or medical practice is a good business. That number has been gradually growing over the past several years–76% in 2012, 85% in 2013, and 88% in 2014.

Forty percent of those consumers make a judgment call after reading only a few reviews. If the top two to three reviews are negative, they will be less likely to use the practice in question.

Imagine a patient has been given a few names of providers in the area.

The patient goes and Googles, “Dr. Smith orthopedic surgeon.” The patient is going to see at least four or five different rating or review site profiles for Dr. Smith. If the star ratings are low across the board or say the last two patient reviews were negative on profile the checked, patient is likely to have an unfavorable opinion of the provider or practice.

Now, if that same patient then goes to Google with one of the other names she has, “Dr. Jane Doe orthopedic surgeon”, and she sees favorable reviews across all of her profiles and there are plenty of them, the patient is likely to have a favorable opinion of the provider or practice.

Who do you think she is going to call or make an appointment with online?

Additionally, search engines such as Google give favorable weighting in their search engine results for practices with a large volume of reviews.

Up to about 50 total reviews, Google will increase the positioning of your listing in their search results for searches related to what your practice offers. The more reviews your practice has on its Google My Business profile, the more likely you’ll be to appear on the first pages of a potential patient’s search related to your practice.

Remember, it’s in Google’s best interest to show the best providers to patients and Google still drives the largest percentage of new patients to a practice.

While ranking the “best provider” may be subjective and your opinion of online ratings and review websites low, there’s high return on investment to reputation management.

Plus, they’re not going away.


More and more patients are becoming savvy to the important information that online reviews can hold. That is why online reviews play such an important role in healthcare. For patients, reading an online review can let them know what to prepare for, such as long waits or excellent bedside manner. Check out the following information about how patients interact with online reviews to make a better decision about their healthcare:

  1. 93% of patients said online reviews were either somewhat useful or very useful in helping them make a decision about a doctor or dentist – University of Michigan School of Medicine
  2. 88% Of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations – Search Engine Land Consumer Review Survey
  3. 79% of consumers place equal weight on both online reviews and personal recommendations – BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey
  4. 73% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more. – Bright Local
  5. 62% of patients looking for new doctors use online reviews – Vitals / SoftwareAdvice
  6. A one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. – Harvard Business School Study
  7. Only 10% of patients actually leave reviews for their physicians online – SoftwareAdvice
  8. One single negative review can cost you 30 customers – Convergyss
  9. Of patients looking for new doctors, 6 in 10 use online reviews – Vitals
  10. 85% of doctors say that they proactively check online reviews about themselves.


G. KELLY O'DEAMarketing Strategist
Described in a Harvard Business School case as a “global marketing pioneer, business builder and change leader”, Kelly is a broadly experienced executive with a consistent growth record across disciplines…
BOB SMITHExecutive Advisor
Founded MySuccess, Inc. after 12 years in computer industry sales operations, developing successful marketing strategy for hardware and software resellers of big names such as Satellite Software, Wang Laboratories and Data General.
NATHAN PURCELLFounding Partner, Clarity Partners, LLC
Growth hacking is an outside-the-box marketing strategy used to get the maximum volume of growth with minimal spend. Nathan helps companies unlock their full potential through a combination of creative marketing…

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