Kevin Pho, MD, the ubiquitous social media guru known as KevinMD on the blogosphere and Twitter, has published a book to help physicians do just that. Establishing, Managing and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices, gives tips on how to best represent themselves to the new generation of wired, empowered, and social patients.
In an interview, Pho discussed some of the biggest mistakes physicians make in regard to their online reputation – and explained how they can be rectified.
Mistake 1: Ignoring your online reputation
When it comes to a physician's online image, the first mistake he can make is to ignore it.
"When you consider how online reviews have affected other industries, like books, hotels, and restaurants, it's inevitable that this level of transparency will become the standard in healthcare," Pho says.
"So it's up to physicians to be aware of their online reputation, because if they aren't, patients and other entities will define them online."
Solution: Get Googling
"Most doctors' biggest fear is Googling their name, and having a negative online patient review show up," Pho says. "To prevent these situations, they not only need to be aware of their online reputation, they need to take steps to proactively protect it."
Physicians should create a Google news alert to notify them whenever their name or organization is mentioned in the press. They should also regularly enter their name and other relevant key words (John Smith, cardiologist, Atlanta) into search engines to keep an eye on the top results.