1. Patrick Harris (PatEx) September 13, 2011

    great insights, mary pat. online brand building and engagement are becoming more and more important for providers in the industry. from growing the top line by attracting new patients to learning more about existing patients through data collection.

  2. Howard Luks MD September 16, 2011

    Mary Pat…
    Nice article. You certainly hit on some of the key points that physicians and health care professionals should consider when the group in deciding to establish a digital footprint.

    One of the most meaningful reasons to initiate, foster and nourish a deep online presence is the issue of reputation management. Whether or not the physician has an online presence… I can assure you that their patients are talking about them online. As of now, Healthgrades, Yelp and Angies List are amongst the most visited sites by patients. In the not too distant future there will be far more. When the real time search engines gain traction, a physicians name may rank #1 if they were just mentioned on twitter or Facebook. Unless a patient violated the governing rules of the rating platform, the complaint will remain front and center on the first page of a search. The most meaningful way to determine the message, control the message and manage your reputation is for the physician or practice to generate relevant, engaging content which will, in time drive down an outlier’s complaint. If many complaints arise, that is another issue in its entirety.

    As you are very well aware, the (social) world is moving at a very fast pace…. analytical or SEO algorithms which are link based (google), may be phased out as real time search engines emerge and gain traction. In the days of social media and fast paced content curation… it is absolutely imperative that physicians not only establish a deep digital footprint and online presence … but that they endeavor to keep their content dynamic, current, evidence based, patient-centric and engaging. It is NOT nearly as difficult, nor time consuming as many physicians believe. We dictate a website full of content every single day in our office. How hard can it be to pick up your dictatphone, and dictate a few paragraphs, proof-read it and send it along to your webmaster? I would also encourage your readers to consider using video welcome messages… More patients have commented about the videos on my site, then they have mentioned any particular content which struck them as truly meaningful, etc.

    I couldn’t agree with you more that most physicians should entertain hiring a professional team to aid in site design, strategy, and maintenance. The online world is changing rapidly. What ranks today, may not rank tomorrow. The more engaged your team is in the healthcare space, the better. The more socially adept your team is, the better. This is an investment with a measurable ROI… and if properly managed can also make the office run far more efficiently.

    Thanks again for your post.

    • Mary Pat Whaley September 17, 2011

      Hi Howard,

      Thanks so much for visiting MMP and for your insightful comments! I do believe that technology is the tool to aid in many of the problems practices face today, but tools are only tools, and as you point out, the practice team (including professional help) must be savvy and engaged.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  3. Marc Tanenbaum September 19, 2011

    Enjoyed your posting on linked in. Thank you.
    Dr. T