A search for physicians’ names on Google or other web search engines often returns listings on third-party rating or review sites, such as Health Grades or Doximity. By some estimates, there are 50 or more of these sites, according to Kevin Pho, M.D., a nationally known physician-blogger and co-author of “Establishing, Managing and Protecting Your Online Reputation.”
These sites pull information from licensing databases and other public sources, including the National Physician Index. This information may be incorrect or outdated.
Physician listings on VanderbiltHealth.com also come up very high in searches for individual physicians. However, these other ranking sites will also inevitably show up in search, so it is incumbent on individual physicians to take steps to claim their listings and make sure the information is accurate on the most popular of these sites.
Some of the top sites are cited below. Specifics may differ slightly among sites but the steps to claim your listing are essentially the same. On these sites, you’ll find a link inviting you to “claim” or “update” a profile or listing. Methods of authentication differ by site, and it can be tedious process; you may wish to have an office manager or an administrative assistant help.
• First, Google different variations of your name, e.g.: John Smith M.D., Dr. Jonathan Smith, John K. Smith M.D., and make note of the third-party listing sites that come up. If you bookmark or copy/paste the URLs, it will be easy to find them later. For each site, review your listing and note any errors.
• Claim your listings. Each site has its own system of authentication to make sure you are who you say you are. You may need your phone number, email address, NPI number, medical licensing information or other data.
• Complete and/or correct your profile. You may wish to create a master profile with all the information so that you can cut and paste to save time. Be sure to list your sub-specialties, if applicable, and also include common terminology that patients might use when they search (e.g., cancer as well as oncology).
• Make sure you have a complete and current profile in Vanderbilt’s provider directory, known as the "APD", which feeds the Find a Doctor listings on VanderbiltHealth.com websites. You or your delegate may sign in at apd.mc.vanderbilt.edu
• Don’t forget to create and complete your individual professional profile on LinkedIn, a professional social networking site. LinkedIn profiles also tend to show high in Google search results for individuals. Frequent updates to your profile and sharing new “status updates” of suitable professional content can improve your profile search results.
• Your personal participation in other social media such as Twitter also may influence what people find about you online. VUMC’s Online Social Media Toolkit provides guidelines, best practices and other information for using social media effectively, safely and in compliance with the VUMC Social Media Policy.
As trite as it may sound, the most important thing you can do to influence reviews and comments online is striving to make every encounter with a patient or family member “review worthy.”
A patient’s experience is just that – his or her experience. Patients and family members have opinions about their experiences. With online review sites and social media, they have the means to express those opinions.
It is not just the quality of care that can spark a negative review. In fact, negative physician reviews often are about wait times or perceptions of rudeness or disrespect by a physician or clinic staff, rather than about the expertise of the physician or the quality of medical care received.
NOTE: If you see a negative comment or review online about which you are concerned, contact our social media team (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss whether and how to respond in a way is most likely to be constructive.
Doximity – This site also feeds the USNews.com Find a Doctor directory and its members are invited participate in the annual U.S. News “Best Hospitals” reputation survey. Begin by entering your first/last name to “Find My Profile.”
USNews.com – See Doximity.
Healthgrades – Click on “Doctors: Update Your Free Profile.”
ZocDoc – Click on Join Now.
Yelp – Search for your listing, click on it and click “claim this business.”
RateMDs – Search for your profile and click on link to “submit profile update.”