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Reputation Management: Protecting Your Online Professional Presentation

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Physicians are public figures. Their professional role, with its unique access to patients’ private information, renders them particularly susceptible to security breaches and heightened levels of scrutiny.

Harnessing your public reputation in that role is now dependent upon the quality of content that exists on the channels patients and colleagues frequent in order to assess their impression of you. In other words, your professional reputation now lives online where others will invariably judge and engage with it.

LACMA’s Educational Happy Hour Series on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, highlighted discussion of this issue specifically anchored to the topic of online Reputation Management. LACMA was honored to have renowned Publicist and Crisis Management expert, Howard Bragman, to speak on the topic. Like all high-profile professionals, physicians should take the necessary steps to protect their presence online, from content to privacy protection.

Consider your online footprint. Anyone can access your online reputation and anything that exists online in correlation to you, frames it.

Protect yourself, your practice, and your patients by*:

Limit what is available on your devices
Regularly change passwords
Keep the circle of professionals who access sensitive or confidential material small
Consider multiple email accounts based on recipient categories
Clear your search terms often
Regularly check your privacy settings on social media
Make Wi-Fi networks secure and anonymous
Where offered, utilize two-step verifications online
Online reviews are valuable for physicians and typically contain direct report from patients who have had either positive or poor experiences while under their care. Utilizing strategies to take control of what people find is crucial and can be done effectively without legal involvement. Seek out patients with unfavorable reports to demonstrate interest in resolving their needs and concerns first.

Colleagues, current and prospective patients, will inevitably explore online to educate themselves on your reputation. Be proactive and protective over what they will discover.

*(Adapted from presentation by Howard Bragman on “Better Online Security”)

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