As one of the top 20 sites seen most often in medical practice search results, Healthgrades is like the Yelp of doctor reviews. Your practice’s future depends on your understanding of how Healthgrades.com affects doctors online.
One of the most popular and trusted doctor rating and review sites, Healthgrades drives patient decision-making, determining who sets foot in your office—and who stays away. Healthgrades is one of the first sites a doctor should pay attention to when working to improve online reputation.
Here are five tips on changing your practice’s Healthgrades ratings for the better.
1. Don’t be shy about asking for a good review
There’s no rule against asking patients for positive testimonials. Healthgrades actually offers feedback postcards to give your patients after a visit. Each card has a practice-specific link that leads to your Healthgrades feedback portal. While delivering friendly, attentive care and producing favorable outcomes are the most sustainable ways to secure positive feedback, you can boost your chances further by attaching a handwritten note to your postcard or sending out a reminder email after each visit.
2. Use internal patient surveys to uncover weak spots in care
Patients want their doctors to be accessible, so keep your door open (at least during office hours). Solicit feedback from patients after every visit or treatment, using their preferred method—phone, email, snail mail card. Provide incentives for returned surveys, such as with giveaways or promotions. Use this information to make agile, real-time adjustments to care delivery, billing and other key aspects of the patient experience. And once per year, send out a more comprehensive survey to all current patients. Ask about wait times, staff attentiveness, quality of care, outcomes and anything else worth noting.
Hampered by a false review? You can remove it
3. Dispute negative or falsified reviews
Like many online review sites, Healthgrades has strict quality control and identity verification protocols. But false reviews sometimes slip through the cracks. If you see a suspicious review dragging down your rating, contact Healthgrades customer service right away. The company is good about responding to complaints and has a solid track record of removing false links. That said, the site won’t remove a negative review simply because it makes you look bad—there needs to be clear evidence of falsification.
4. Respond (appropriately!) to patient ratings
Healthgrades lets you respond to patient ratings. You need to respond in the most general terms, of course, eschewing mention of specific cases and names. Healthgrades strictly monitors these responses and quickly removes any that violate patient privacy or contain inappropriate material. Always follow the golden rule of responding to online reviews: Be respectful of the messengers and address the issues they raise. Getting into a heated back-and-forth serves no one, and you have far more to lose than an anonymous patient.
5. Work toward “Recognized Doctor” status
Healthgrades confers Recognized Doctor status on professionals who meet certain criteria:
● Active, good-standing license in the state where you practice
● Board certification in your specialty
● No previous license revocations or restrictions
● No malpractice claims or disciplinary citations within the past five years
If you meet these criteria, contact Healthgrades and ask to be included on the list of Recognized Doctors in your state. If not, well, it’s never too late to begin working toward this goal.
Most tech-savvy medical professionals know how Healthgrades affects doctors online. Fewer know how to change Healthgrades ratings for the better. By following the five steps above and adhering to online reputation management best practices, you can set yourself apart from the increasingly crowded, competitive medical field and focus on taking care of those who matter most—your patients.