Guide to Online Reputation Management for Doctors

Online Reputation Management for Doctors Your 2022 Guide


As a physician, you’ve been building your reputation for years. Online reputation management for doctors is a long-term strategy built by more than just how to get patients to write reviews.

This guide will show you a proven strategy for doctors to build a reputation online, which we have mastered over the past decade. Learn why you should care about online reviews for your practice and 7 key strategies for growing the number and quality of patient reviews.

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How Do Doctors Build a Reputation Online?

Medical reputation management is how people online judge your skills and quality of care. They do this by doing research and examining your digital footprint. The most common elements of building that physician reputation include:

Having a Website Presence

Your medical practice’s website is the front door for your brand online. Essential items to consider:

  • Does the quality of your website match your quality of care?
  • Are you showcasing patient testimonials that cast a vision of success?
  • What are you doing to educate patients on your site?
  • Have you made it clear how you’re different from other practices they might choose?

Our Practice Right websites are built to get more qualified patients in the door to your practice. They convert 2X more patients than the industry average. Click here to learn more.

Creating Educational Medical Content

The content you publish is essential for educating potential patients and building trust. Your patients are looking for answers about conditions and treatments – are you helping them find solutions?

More like this: 4 Must-Haves in a Healthcare Content Marketing Strategy

Medical Practice and Physician Listings

Medical practice and physician listings have become the primary way people interact with your practice, especially Google, when not on your website. Essential items to consider:

  • Do you have listings for BOTH your practice and physicians? Google allows both for multi-provider locations.
  • Is the information in these listings accurate?
  • Are you building out the information in these listings as much as possible?
  • Have you added photos of the interior, exterior and providers?
  • Are you posting messages to your Google Business Profile?
  • Do you have provider and practice listings on relevant Healthcare Diretories like HealthGrades, WebMD and others?

Online Patient Reviews

Your online patient reviews are arguably the most important way to build a reputation because they are the modern equivalent of word-of-mouth. Essential items to consider:

  • Can you easily find reviews for your practice?
  • How many reviews do you have?
  • How good is your overall star rating? 
  • Are the reviews overly negative and not an accurate representation of your practice?
  • Do you respond to reviews?

More like this: Learn strategies for How To Grow Your Patient Reviews

Why You Should Care About Medical Practice Online Reviews

Simply stated, patient reviews are perhaps THE most critical factor in choosing a physician.

This is because potential patients are shopping around when deciding on a provider. Not only are patients doing significant research on symptoms, conditions, and treatments before seeing a physician, they are actively comparing physicians before making a decision.

Patients Are Actively Shopping for Doctors Across Search Engines

They visit healthcare review sites (such as Healthgrades and Vitals), medical information sites, and other healthcare provider websites.

Did you know that, on average, consumers use three different websites during their healthcare research process and read 5½ reviews before making a decision? And more than 60% of patients have chosen one doctor over another based on a positive online reputation.

Online Reviews Are the New Word-Of-Mouth

Potential patients place the most trust in the word of other patients dealing with the same conditions.

Even Physician Referrals Will Research Your Reviews

According to a Press Ganey Healthcare Trends survey, 84% of patients said they would NOT see a referred provider if they were rated under 4 stars. Yes, even when a patient has a referral, they do research.

Online Reviews Are Important to Local SEO

Having online reviews helps you attract more patients seeking out practices and comparing physicians. A lower number of reviews or lower average star ratings will decrease your visibility in local searches.

More like this: SEO for Medical Practices: 12 Strategies for 2022

Online Reviews Help You CONVERT Leads Into Patients

This is the most crucial element. It’s those reviews that convince them they’ve found the right physician.

More like this: Boost Revenues with a Proactive Approach to Online Review Management

9 Ways to Grow Your Patient Reviews

When building your online reputation, the goal should be to increase both the number of your reviews and the quality of your reviews. Here are 7 strategies you can use to do both.

1. Make Sure Your Practice and Physician Listings Are Claimed and Built Out

All of your patient reviews are connected to your practice or physician listings. Therefore, you must build listings for BOTH your practice and your individual physicians, which will provide more visibility overall for your practice — the only exception to this is when you have a single provider practice, where you can only have a single listing.

In addition, it’s essential that in addition to reviews, you have the entire listings built out to be as complete as possible, outlining important information patients would want to know – services, insurance types accepted, photos, and more.

2. Don’t Ask Everyone for a Review

The best strategies for building reviews are carefully designed. And one of the biggest mistakes that most practices make is asking EVERYONE for a review — you should only ask those who’ve had a great experience.

How to Ask for 5-Star Reviews

You use a review management system like the one we’ve built at RUNNER.

  1. We first ask potential patients how likely they would be to recommend your practice on a 1-10 scale (this is called a net promoter score).
  2. We then ONLY send invitations to write reviews on Google and other platforms to those rating us a 9 or 10.
  3. All other ratings are sent back to you to respond, especially if you see a negative experience.

This ensures that you’re proactively growing only the highest quality reviews.

Want to get more customer reviews, get found online, and attract more new patients? Learn how you can with RUNNER’s online review management service here.

3. Proactively Ask For the Review In-Person When the Experience Is Great

Don’t shy away from asking for reviews in-person when you know the patient experience has been great. Instead, take advantage of those moments in time to let the patient know how much it would mean.

4. Automate Your Review Requests

Physicians with the highest quantity of reviews don’t just rely on in-person requests. Instead, they automate the process of collecting reviews. This ensures that you’re continuously asking for, and receiving, good reviews.

The only way to do this is through doctors’ online reputation management platform like we’ve built at RUNNER.

5. Get The Timing Right

Keep in mind that getting the timing right when you ask for a review is vital. When you ask for a review can be the difference between a bad review and positive one. Unless your treatment provides immediate results, pick the right time.

For example, if you’re a surgeon, you don’t want to send a review request RIGHT after surgery – you want to wait until the patient has had time to recover and feels better.

6. Ask For Reviews Using Both Text Messaging and Email

Average email open rates are only around 20%. This means that if you only send review requests via email, many of your patients may not even see the request.

We recommend that practices use both SMS text messages and emails for review requests to ensure the highest possible volume.

More like this: How to Securely Text Message Patients in 2022 and Why Email is (Still) Your Single Greatest Determinant for Inbound Marketing Success

7. Be Responsive to Reviews

Respond to the reviews you receive on Google and elsewhere, not just the negative reviews. Being responsive will differentiate your practice and provide a window into the type of responsiveness and communication a potential patient can expect.

Most negative reviews are related to either a bad experience with the front office, or other experiences unrelated to care, like billing. And in many cases, patient may revise or remove negative reviews if they’re handled properly.

8. Request Removal of False Reviews

Sometimes, those who’ve never seen you may leave a bad review, or a patient with a grudge has posted false or negative reviews in an attempt to harm the practice. In these cases, you can report these kinds of reviews and request removal.

9. Reviews Are a Long-Term Effort

Lastly, it’s important to note that building reviews take time. Just as it took time for you to build your reputation as a physician, it will take time to build your online reputation. Your goal is to have a steady stream of new reviews that, over time, will compound.


When a potential patient finds your practice reviews, you want to have higher quality patient reviews than any other physicians they may be researching. The strategy to reach that goal isn’t rocket science, but you need both the strategy and technology platform to automate the process.

That’s why we built our Reviews Manager service — that helps online reputation management for doctors:

  • A platform to help you collect more 5-star reviews
  • Help keep negative reviews off Google
  • Keep the feedback coming into the practice
  • Convenient dashboard to monitor and reply to new reviews

If you’d like to begin growing your reviews, request a consultation with a RUNNER expert to learn more about our reputation management service for doctors.

More like this: 43 Ways to Attract New Patients to Your Practice in 2023M

Picture of John Keehler

John Keehler

Chief Strategy Officer

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