Right now people are talking about your doctors, your hospital and maybe even you. You have to join the online conversation or reputations will be severely damaged.
A book you must read: The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet by Daniel J. Solove. This book explores the legal and practical ramifications of information dissemination on the internet.
Professor Solove is the preeminent scholar on how the information age has impacted the line between written and spoken gossip. His examples in the book are fascinating and sobering for anyone… especially marketers.
A Pediatrician at a mid-western Academic Medical Center accosted me after a meeting. “A mother of a new patient said to me after an appointment, ‘You are exactly like the comments and ratings for you online. Thanks for your help.’ ”
He asked for clarification; she said she recently moved from California and her young son has asthma so she wanted a great doctor. She searched online and found him.
The doc then went online and told me he was stunned at the volume of information patients were sharing about him and other doctors.
“They described my waiting area, staff friendliness, the wait times, the lag time for appointments and dozens of other quote-unquote facts” he said in angry disbelief.
Your next steps:
- Read the book… or at least scan it
- Engage a decent spider analytics program to monitor where your doctors and hospitals are being discussed. These programs scan the web for key words, names and phrases that may relate to you
- Construct a plan to get into the conversation both offensively and defensively
- Consider hiring a company that has a specialty in online reputation for consulting (novices can possibly do more harm than good) and maybe management if the job is bigger than your staff
This may be the most important new capability your team must develop this year. The reputation of your doctors and health system depends on it.