Many physicians still haven’t come to grips with the fact that .  More and more frequently the public turns to the internet first when making purchasing choices — even when purchasing health care services and selecting physicians.  According to a research paper published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 59% of Americans think online physician rating sites are somehwat important and 1 in 4 people surveyed said they have consulted these sites.   (See ‘Most people say rating sites ‘important’ when picking doctors’ on

The internet offers tremendous marketing opportunities for physician but also very significant risks.  Online physician rating services enable would-be patients to screen potential physicians without ever meeting the physician or stepping foot in his or her office.  These sites also give disgruntled patients a place to voice dissatisfaction.  For this reason, physicians should develop and guard their online reputation carefully.  This means taking steps to make sure the patient experience is positive, encouraging satisfied patients to complete online reviews and taking proactive steps to counter negative ratings.  For more information on steps you can take to manage your online reputation, see ‘Six Steps for Managing Your Online Reputation‘ at