How new patients look for and choose medical help

Finding a doctor or dentist is easy. Finding the right doctor or dentist often proves to be more difficult than it should be. And it seems the more specific the ailment, the more difficult it is to find the right help. This is a particular point of pain (no pun intended) for patients who need a new doctor.

The problem isn’t that the right help doesn’t exist. It just that it’s hard to find because too many health and wellness facilities aren’t showing up when patients go looking.

Back in the day, people went to their family doctors or one their friends recommended. However, people don’t always want to consult their friends or family about their medical issues. When this is the case, patients don’t turn to the Yellow pages. They turn to Google.

Getting to know your Google My Business listing

Have you ever use Google to find a restaurant or coffee shop? If not, try it. You’ll probably see something like the image below. Except in the example below, we did a general search for a CHIROPRACTOR. This is the same kind of search result you get when you look at all local medical facilities.

Rather than pulling information from your website as they do with other search results, Google has built a method to help local businesses and services rise to the top of search results. It’s called Google My Business and instead of relying on search engine optimization a.k.a. SEO, it pulls relevant information from business profiles that fit the search criteria. It’s an enormous foot up for your business, and it is changing the way patients and shoppers look for and choose what doctors or dentists they go to see.

Google My Business is kind of like a Facebook page for your practice. It’s free to set up and gives you the opportunity to fine-tune the information that your future patients will read when they first encounter you. You’ll notice when you try searching for a particular business by name that the column of information on the right is filled with information specific to the business you’ve searched. Again, this is information that is pulled from your Google My Business profile, so the more updated and accurate that is, the better it will be.

And before you think your practice or particular field of health and wellness is too niche or specific to worry about claiming and using your Google My Business profile, reconsider. One of the biggest reason people live with pain and discomfort is that previous physicians and doctors have been unable to help. By claiming and leveraging your profile, you’ll make yourself more available and more easily found.

Something to consider

When a patient is conducting a generic search, as we did with CHIROPRACTOR, they’re considering their options. If they are searching your business by name, they are vetting your practice. They are seeing what past patients have said, whether the treatments you offered worked, and how satisfied they were with your care. People who look up your business by name are much closer to visiting your practice than anyone. It’s an opportunity to make a great first impression and bring them to your office.

IF YOU SEE MEDICARE PATIENTS: If you see Medicare patients, or plan to see Medicare patients, you’re probably already aware of the new legislation call MACRA. As a part of MACRA, over the next few years, doctors will receive a grade called the MIPS score. This grade will be visible to the public and to review sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

There is no better time to get ahead of the curve and start accumulating positive feedback and higher Google rankings. If you haven’t, claim your Google My Business listing and update your public profiles. It would be to your benefit to include your Facebook page and Yelp listing as well. Currently, it’s uncertain if these sites will publish the MIPS score on their listings or in Google searches, but if they do you’ll already have recommendations for your patients to support your reputation.

Take action

Womply provides the tools health professionals need to keep their online review sites in check. With Womply, you’ll receive notifications anytime you get a new review or rating, so you or your office staff can respond to questions. You and your staff will be able to focus on your patients and rest easy knowing your online listings are up to date and secure. Protecting your online reputation is one of the best things you can do to attract new patients and help those considering your practice feel secure in their decision. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and business insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

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