It’s clear that the Internet has permeated every aspect of our lives, from how we communicate to how we find information and do research. The information superhighway has also changed the way we shop and choose businesses.

It’s a well-known fact the Internet has become the go-to source for product and service reviews.  After all, many of us turn to our laptops and handheld devices to learn about a new product, share our experiences and learn from others.

That’s why it comes as no surprise that a recent survey found that almost 90 percent of Internet users say they use online reviews to choose local businesses. From where to eat to what to buy, savvy consumers turn to the digital community to inform their decisions.

Internet reviews become even more important if you’re a medical professional who deals with children.

According to Dental Economics, parents are more likely than any other group to look to the Internet as a key source for medical referrals, with 72 percent of surveyed parents saying they, “trust online reviews for medical professionals as much as they trust personal recommendations.”

This growing trend highlights how parents and caregivers are using the tools available to them to seek out and find the best healthcare for their children.

“Online rating sites are becoming an increasingly common and potentially influential source of information for parents as they choose a doctor,” said Dr. David Hanauer, an American pediatrician.  

Doctors and dentists looking to divert the invisible traffic of the Internet in their direction need to ensure their online reputation reflects the goals of their business and the expectation of parents.

To find out how your online reputation stacks up to medical professionals in your area, start by doing a Google search of your name or business name to see what is being said. It’s important to remember that lack of reviews can be as detrimental as negative reviews, so try and get positive reviews posted online to drive traffic in your direction.

You can ask regular patients to write or post a review to your website. A review/suggestion box in the office can solicit reviews that can then be typed and posted online.

Positive reviews are a byproduct of fabulous service, so lack of reviews may be systemic of a larger internal problem. Improved customer service management may result in more positive online reviews which translates into more patients.

Parents aren’t the only people who are using reviews to make choices. Millennials also prefer to vet doctors and dentists online before booking appointments.   

A MobiHealth report from 2015 found that 54 percent of patients aged 18 to 24 research potential physicians and healthcare professionals online before setting foot in an office.

Dr. Tony Oliva, national medical director at Nuance the company that surveyed the 3,000 millennials, said, “We know a huge number of patients today are looking up symptoms and health information online, so it’s just a matter of time until they shop for physicians and communicate grievances that way, too.”

Matt Earle

Founder & President

Matt Earle, Founder of Reputation.ca, is a leading Canadian expert on online reputation management with over 15 years of hands on experience working in the space. Mr. Earle’s educational background includes an H.BSc from the University of Toronto and certification as a Google Professional. His expertise has been acknowledged through national television appearances on CBC, PBS and CTV, being a guest host on CBC radio, and numerous quotes in print and online media.