“How do you build and protect your reputation as a physician?”

Jessica’s Question: How do you build and protect your reputation as a physician?

Hi Jessica,

I can bring you the perspective of a specialist for reputation and crisis. There are, however, specialists within the field of medicine or reputation firms who work solely for medical professionals who might offer equally valuable insight. My personal recommendation is to consider each of those professional opinions.

How do you build and protect your reputation as a physician?

Realize that each interaction you have, your nurses have, the front office has with a patient or their family is reputation capital being gained or lost.

Now, you might think “I have little to no control over the interactions my patients have with other people in my facility.”

That’s why it’s important to build the team with which a physician works, set a standard, support them so they can support you and create, monitor and adjust or correct a structure that will help your people provide the patient experience that constantly builds your reputation.

Strongly consider having or adopting the mindset of continuous reputation building in all you do, in every interaction, no matter how insignificant it might be, how fatigued you are, emotionally and physically, as a physician (and I know it is an incredibly taxing profession) or how stressed your support “team” in your facility feels.

Support emotional health and psychological safety within your team so they can be the best they can be. Ask for that type of culture from any administrators you might have and take the onus on yourself too to build that type of culture.

Reputation strength success, to no surprise, is in the details just as I imagine it is in your profession of medicine and healthcare.

When adversity or crisis hits with your reputation, realize that poise, self awareness, social awareness (how the patient and/or their family is feeling emotionally), empathy, motivation to engage with empathy and relationship kindness are critical responsibilities and requirements to effectively protect reputation, restore it and rebuild it.

Many physicians, medical practices and hospitals just don’t and won’t commit to what I have described above and they pay for it, with negative patient experiences, negative online reviews and lower grades than is likely reflective of their competence and patient care.

Yet they often earn those outcomes by rationalizing and blaming instead of learning, improving and benefiting.

Healthy, strong patient relations that result in strong, vibrant reputation in patients’ minds and excellence of reviews is a byproduct of smart strategy, high standards, commitment to those standards, humility over ego, patience, poise and high-level emotional intelligence.

This approach helps people feel valued. It must be done at every touch point: doctor-patient, nurse-patient, front-office-patient, etc.

Patience, poise, empathy in words and actions and kindness prove engaging and build trust, credibility, relationship and reputation strength. Guess what? That reputation capital then earns a higher benefit of the doubt when a misunderstanding or adversity or crisis develops.

This is a “prescription” for success.

When reputation crisis develops, realize people want, need, crave (desperately) understanding of their sense of urgency, compassion and advocacy. If you can provide that to them, you will be seen as teammate, an ally, a caring physician that is trusted and appreciated.

Yet many physicians, overwhelmed with responsibility and maybe drained physically and emotionally, don’t do this, nor do many medical offices, surgical centers or hospitals. That’s what leads to reputation damage.

It’s a simple fix for those who want to overcome it.

A valuable tip is this — create video on your website. Have it professionally done. No need to update it unless it is critical to do such. Voice, with a smile, how you view your patients and patient care, with humility and warmth.

Share positive reviews in writing on your site.

If there are negative online reviews, do what 90 percent of physicians or facilities don’t and respond with poise, humility, kindness and empathy. Don’t cut and paste responses. It looks uncaring.

Finally, if it is not considered unethical or prohibited, ask your satisfied or most complimentary patients or families of patients if they would review you online either before they go home or in the next day. Make it easy for them to do so even by sending a link and a small personal note of appreciation.

Hope this proves helpful. Please forgive the length. If I can be of assistance in your reputation objectives, reach out anytime on LinkedIn.

Michael Toebe is a specialist for reputation and crisis, serving organizations and high-profile individuals.

He is the publisher of the Reputation Times newsletter and has been published in Chief Executive, Corporate Board Member, Corporate Compliance Insights, Training Industry and the New York Law Journal.

If you have a question you’d like answered, please send it to specialist.reputation@gmail.com. I will only use your first name when I answer your question in this space, so as to protect your privacy.

Michael Toebe — Specialist — Reputation and Crisis

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