This past weekend, I had the good fortune of attending a picnic in my neighborhood.  Have I ever told you how much I love picnics?  As I sat there consuming anything in sight, I struck up a conversation with a physician who, like me, was enjoying the barbeque.  He began to tell me about an unusual experience he had that afternoon in his office.  During a routine office visit with a new patient, he asked her how she came about selecting him as her primary care doctor.  She replied, “I read the reviews about you on Yelp and they were all positive so I decided to come see for myself.”  I thought he was joking and came to find out quickly that he was not.  For some odd reason, I was shocked to hear that a consumer would make a healthcare decision based on anonymous online feedback on Yelp of all places.  My curiosity now in overdrive I began to dig around a bit to uncover the relationship between physicians and online branding.  Boy, oh boy was I surprised.  I love learning new things.

Physicians and branding

Social Media adoption and personal branding among physicians is increasing at an extremely high rate.  Many physicians have recognized that they too are a brand. Hence, it is imperative that they manage their brand online, join online conversations to stay competitive, relevant, and busy.  With reimbursements at an all time low, being busy often equals increased revenue and in many cases survival. As transparency and competition for patients has increased, many physicians are now using social media to highlight their expertise, differentiate their services and develop a tighter connection with current and future patients.  In turn, patients are demanding more from physicians in terms of ways to connect with them. This includes iPhone apps, Facebook pages, Wi-Fi office connectivity, YouTube updates and other user-friendly tools enabling patients to have access to information and their providers more often.  I now get it when they talk about the “business of healthcare.”

My research on this subject was a great reminder of the power of the personal brand.  If physicians are now doing it, there must be something to this personal branding stuff.  Right? There are potential clients right now doing online research on you, your group, industry, and your office decor.

What will they discover when they do a Yelp search on you?