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NEW FROM THE OMS GUARDIAN

WEB REPUTATION: SETTING A PATIENT'S EXPECTATIONS
Linda Hay, JD and Anne Oldenburg, JD
HeplerBroom, LLC

 

As the use of the internet continues to pervade every aspect of our lives, its positive and negative impact becomes more defined. Although practitioners and practice owners can gain great benefit from the use of websites, social media and review sites, there can be potential for risk or harm. That harm can occur swiftly, be widespread, and have lingering effects. An ongoing awareness of a practice or practitioner’s web presence, good or bad, is essential to good risk management.

 

Web presence, for purposes of this article, includes three main forms: websites which affirmatively display the practice and practitioner by providing controlled content; social media sites which provide some controlled content, but invite some uncontrolled content; and review or ratings sites which invite uncontrolled and purportedly objective content. All of these combined create a web presence that both patients and colleagues can typically access. In this context, the goal of good risk management is to manage your website presence to emphasize the positive, downplay the negative, and set reasonable patient expectations.

 

Web Presence

The first step is to regularly monitor your own web presence. Perform regular searches through different search engines on your practice and your practice name to see what the search reveals. Does your own website appear first? Is the information outdated? Does a poor review or rating appear prominently? In addition, check listings on various sites where your practice or license is registered, such as your state disciplinary site or your state corporate registration site, to ensure that information is accurate and updated.

 

 

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