Woman doing research on a computer
We all know that in the medical field, reputation is everything. People will come to see you if they have heard good things. They’ll stay away if they haven’t. Today, your reputation on the Internet—your webutation—may be even more important.

“The main thing you need to know about webutation is that you have one, whether you know it or not,” says Dr. Gretchen Campbell of KCA Neurology in Franklin, Tennessee. “Most of your patients will Google you before they come and see you. There will be something out there about you whether you’ve involved yourself in it or not.”

According to the Pew Research Center, 87% of American Adults use the internet. Of those, 72% search for health information online. In other words, your patients are online. Not only does that mean you need a presence there, but you need one that boosts your reputation.

If you want your practice to grow, you need a good webutation.

To find out what your webutation is, “Google yourself,” says Campbell. Four medical rating websites are likely to show up: HealthGrades, WebMD, Vitals, and Google+.

“One good thing about Health Grades and the others is that they’re free,” says Campbell. “And you can log in, create an account, upload your picture, change any information that’s incorrect. Upload the procedures you do, your locations, your website URL, and actually use them to your advantage.”

HealthGrades

“Out of the four that I’ve mentioned so far, the most important one is Health Grades,” says Campbell.

HealthGrades is important for the sheer volume of their database. They were one of the first companies to offer physician ratings in the United States. They have information on three million health care practitioners in over a thousand specialties.

Find out how to get set up on HealthGrades here.

Google+

“If you Google yourself, Google already has a page with your name on it,” says Campbell. “You don’t have any control over that unless you claim it.”

Once you claim your page, you can upload photos and make sure all your information is correct. Google+ is interactive. You can post updates or share information that would be useful to your patients on this platform. You can also address complaints in a calm professional manner.

Google has instructions on how to claim your page here.

WebMD

Most people know of WebMD as an online symptom checker, but it also has a large physician database. Doctors can be searched by name, location, conditions treated, and procedures performed.

Campbell has 21 different conditions and four procedures listed on her WebMD page. This cross-referencing ability within WebMD, increases the chances that patients will find her.

Sign up for WebMD and create your profile here.

Vitals

Vitals is similar to HealthGrades in that it has a large searchable database of rated physicians. They claim to have more than a million physicians listed and millions of reviews. Patients can find physicians by name, location, insurance, and condition.

Vitals also has an Awards and Distinctions section. This includes their Patients’ Choice Award and Compassionate Doctor Recognition. Both of which you can see on Campbell’s page here.

So, if you Google yourself and you find out you don’t have a good webutation, start by signing up for one of these sites.

Campbell says the good news is, “if you haven’t driven your patients there intentionally, there’re probably not going to be that many reviews.”

The key, says Campbell, is to get your patients to go onto these sites and give you a rating. “You can start to get the numbers up. Then, when people look at you, there’s enough data for them to make an informed decision.”

Don’t let a bad webutation keep patients away. Take Dr. Gretchen Campbell’s advice and use these sites to your advantage. And all this, without spending a dime.