Academy Connection January/February 2011 : Page 8

P ractice M anageMent Simple Steps To PRoTecT youR oNlINe R One disgruntled patient can destroy that hard work in minutes with a few clicks of the computer mouse. In these difficult and challenging times, protecting your most valuable assets becomes top-of-mind. Online Defamation & Libel: The Modern A mericAn A cAdemy of c osmetic d entistry ® aS a DentiSt, you know your reputation is one of your most valuable assets. It takes years to cultivate impeccable credentials and a positive public perception. Unfortunately, one disgruntled patient can destroy that hard work in minutes with a few clicks of a computer mouse. In these difficult and challenging times, protecting your most valuable assets is top-of-mind. The Internet’s hallmark is its ability to facilitate the free exchange of ideas. However, this also increases the risk of damage caused by false or harmful information, stretching the bounds of defamation. Internet defamation lawsuits are rising and the number of people sued over online speech is increasing sharply, according to statistics from the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Dentists’ reputations are not exempt from Internet defamation. Rating sites, negative blogs and other social media or websites are hurting them. Here are some tips and tools to make it easier to track, control, and manage your online reputation. On the Internet, information flows around the world in seconds. If you are not proactive, millions of people will view a defamatory post before you see it. Do not wait until you have a problem with your online reputation—stay ahead of the game. 1. Be PRoacTIve Buy iterations of your name and practice name as domain names. Imagine a potential patient going to “your name”.com and reading horrible statements about you posted by a disgruntled patient or competitor. This happens more than you think. Buying iterations of your name is a simple, inexpensive way to prevent such attacks. If your name is common and the exact match is unavailable, look for a combination of your name and either a location or a professional title (example: johndoemd.com, www.doctorjohndoe. com or johndoedallas.com). Also, check to see if your name is available with hyphens (example: john-doe-md. com). You can buy a .com domain for as little as $7.95 per year from such site providers as GoDaddy or DreamHost, or cheaper, if the “.com” extension is not a priority. 2. PuRchaSe domaIN NameS 8

Simple Steps to Protect Your Online Reputation

Online Defamation & Libel: The Modern Faceless Crime<br /> <br /> One disgruntled patient can destroy that hard work ins with a few clicks of the computer mouse. In these difficult and challenging times, protecting your most valuable assets becomes top-of-mind. <br /> <br /> As a dentist, you know your reputation is one of your most valuable assets. It takes years to cultivate impeccable credentials and a positive public perception. Unfortunately, one disgruntled patient can destroy that hard work in minutes with a few clicks of a computer mouse. In these difficult and challenging times, protecting your most valuable assets is top-of-mind.<br /> <br /> The Internet’s hallmark is its ability to facilitate the free exchange of ideas. However, this also increases the risk of damage caused by false or harmful information, stretching the bounds of defamation.<br /> <br /> Internet defamation lawsuits are rising and the number of people sued over online speech is increasing sharply, according to statistics from the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.<br /> <br /> Dentists’ reputations are not exempt from Internet defamation. Rating sites, negative blogs and other social media or websites are hurting them.<br /> <br /> Here are some tips and tools to make it easier to track, control, and manage your online reputation.<br /> <br /> 1. Be Proactive<br /> On the Internet, information flows around the world in seconds. If you are not proactive, millions of people will view a defamatory post before you see it. Do not wait until you have a problem with your online reputation—stay ahead of<br /> the game.<br /> <br /> 2. Purchase Domain Names<br /> <br /> Buy iterations of your name and practice name as domain names. Imagine a potential patient going to “your name”.com and reading horrible statements about you posted by a disgruntled patient or competitor. This happens more than you think. Buying iterations of your name is a simple, inexpensive way to prevent such attacks.<br /> <br /> If your name is common and the exact match is unavailable, look for a combination of your name and either a location or a professional title (example:<br /> johndoemd.com, www.doctorjohndoe.com or johndoedallas.com). Also, check to see if your name is available with hyphens (example: john-doe-md.<br /> com). You can buy a .com domain for as little as $7.95 per year from such site<br /> providers as GoDaddy or DreamHost, or cheaper, if the “.com” extension is<br /> not a priority.<br /> <br /> Perform monthly checks at a minimum for any potentially harmful information about you. Search for your name, practice name, and key staff members. Medical Justice offers Web anti-defamation service, which includes proprietary technology that proactively monitors the top physician rating websites. The software immediately notifies its members of any new postings or ratings containing member physician names or practice names.<br /> <br /> 4. Act Fast<br /> If you find something online that could be potentially damaging, take action immediately—whether it is a friend posting questionable photos or an anonymous person slandering your business. The longer the information is public, the more damage it can do. Some attorneys specialize in cyber issues and can assist with legal redress, if necessary.<br /> <br /> 5. Your Google Reputation<br /> Consciously create a clear and positive image of yourself and monitor the Internet for any type of commentary—good, bad, or indifferent. Be conscientious while creating and updating content on your practice, professional, or social websites. Ambiguous comments or statements can be misinterpreted so be sure your<br /> content is clear and unmistakable. In today’s world, Google is more than a search engine—it is a reputation engine. When a prospective patient, professional partner or investor wants more information about you, they ultimately turn to Google for information.<br /> <br /> Some individuals, with flawed online reputations, try to manage the situation by creating copious content to “push down” negative information on Google. This tactic can take many weeks—sometimes months—before your new positive image rises up through the ranks of Google.<br /> <br /> 6. Assume Everything Can Get on the Web<br /> What you say online and offline—both in your personal and professional life—can come back to haunt you. Assume any emails, conversations, articles, or photos may eventually end up online.<br /> <br /> If you are blogging, writing editorials, running a website, or have a social media profile, be careful what you post. If you want to keep a non-practice affiliated blog or engage on social internet message boards, create a pseudonym for yourself so you cannot be tracked.<br /> <br /> 7. Keep Social Networks Private & Actively Monitor<br /> Keep your social networking profiles private to all except those you approve. This will keep casual or even malicious viewers from seeing your personal information. Connections made on the Internet can be much more impactful for high-visibility individuals, such as physicians, than previously perceived.<br /> <br /> Create custom RSS feeds based on keyword searches: Feedster.com, Technorati.com, IceRocket.com, Google.com/blogsearch, Blogpulse.com, MSN Spaces, Yahoo! News, Google News, MSN News, and PubSub. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” —it’s a format for distributing and gathering content from sources across the Web, including newspapers, magazines, and blogs.<br /> <br /> When questions regarding freedom of speech arise, traditional remedies and approaches do not apply to cases involving physicians. First, physicians are bound by state confidentiality laws and HIPAA. They are forbidden from defending against reputational assaults by posting the medical record as a correction. Second, under traditional legal principles, the defamed can sue not only the originator of the libelous comments, but also the distributor—such as a newspaper or a an efficient way to monitor and track content that affects your practice.<br /> <br /> 8. Put Your Best & Most Accurate Foot<br /> Make sure your online presence will not be mistaken for someone else’s or used<br /> against you. Sign up for social network sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Complete your social network identities with valid information and data you want “known” about you—like your specialty, practice information, credentials, and location. Do not forget to link to your own website. Note: While signing up and setting up your identity on these social networks, be sure you pay special attention to privacy settings. Make personal pictures and posts private.<br /> <br /> 9. Link , Link , Link …<br /> Google sets a high ranking priority to web pages containing active links. This is an easy way to address Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for yourself as an individual or your medical practice. Link your website to your social networking identity links and other web pages you are associated with, such as medical societies, alumni organizations, and non-profit affiliations. Using that analogy, a natural target would be the digital distributor, the Internet Service Provider. However, in 1996, Congress foreclosed that option by granting broad immunity to Internet Service Providers for the tort of defamation. In general, physicians have few practical after-the-fact remedies against Internet assaults on their reputation—which is why it is key to be sure you are proactive in protecting your online reputation.<br /> <br /> Dental Justice, a subsidiary of Medical Justice, is the original medicolegal advocacy group that protects you from frivolous claims. Dental Justice delivers a time-tested process that protects dentists from frivolous malpractice claims.<br /> <br /> Dental Justice fights unrealistic patient expectations and unwarranted claims with a proven 3-step process combining prevention, early action and counteraction. Visit www.DentalJustice.com.<br />

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here