There have been some interesting developments in the world of physician directories and ratings sites. First, payers have started opening up their directories, allowing prospective patients to see which doctors are participating before deciding on a plan. This is useful for practices, too, since it makes it much easier for you to see if your listing information is incorrect (without, for example, needing to contact your rep or access the data through a physician portal).
A second interesting trend is that payer sites — perhaps inspired by the success of commercial physician review/rating directories — have started adding reviews and ratings to their directories. While some of you may be groaning as you read this, I think that this is mainly a good thing, provided that patients need to log in as plan members before rating (as seems to be the case where I’ve seen ratings on payer sites). This validation of membership helps ensure that the people doing the rating are actually patients — and not, as sometimes seen on generic reviews sites, people who don’t seem to be patients, but instead are just friends with opinions or even disgruntled employees attempting to pose as patients.
Hospital directories have also joined the bandwagon — providing more data about doctors with privileges and affiliations, and even adding ratings in some cases. Which relates to another trend — it’s becoming more common to see a whole bunch of directories at the top of the results for virtually any physician category in many local markets. With hospital directories, payer directories, physician reviews and ratings sites, generic reviews sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, and even Google’s own Places/+ directory listings all competing for the top spots, it is becoming much rarer for any practice’s own site to make it onto the first page of search results (much less the top half). Which means it’s more important than ever to take the initiative and manage your practice’s (and individual physician) online image and reputation.
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