In a recent article for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), Dr. Steve Laverson, a plastic surgeon in San Diego, says online reputation and identity management have become increasingly important in the dynamic and volatile database of information on the Internet. Dr. Laverson offers pointers to maintain high standards and ethical practice for cosmetic surgeons to consider while growing their online presence. Also discussed are patient use of online physician review sites.
Dr. Steve Laverson was recently published by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) discussing the need for consistent and proactive reputation management online among medical professionals. At his San Diego plastic surgery practice, Dr. Laverson provides a range of aesthetic services including breast augmentation and facelift as well as non-surgical enhancements like BOTOX® Cosmetic. The ASAPS article by Dr. Laverson provides tips for surgeons to define their professional identity on the Internet, and to build quality and integrity at their practice. He names several elements to benefit plastic surgeons online, and to benefit patients seeking more information about procedures such as liposuction in San Diego.
The constantly evolving Internet is a potentially outstanding resource to patients for information and for medical advice. Still, Dr. Laverson says preserving a consistent reputation for excellent results, a dedicated staff, and a personable bedside manner require consistent attention. He recommends that an offensive strategy includes peerless character and ethics, diligent customer service that exceeds expectations, avoiding confrontations and adversarial interactions, and engaging with patients on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Laverson also says posting educational material regularly on blogs or other publications can increase web visibility and credibility.
Dr. Laverson also suggests defensive measures, such as keeping good company online, being professional, and never disclosing private patient information. He says by consistent ethical behavior both online and in person, doctors can help ensure their name represents integrity. For patients, Dr. Laverson says researching a surgeon’s credentials can help avoid problems, and achieve the best results possible. He says online tools such as review sites are an excellent source of valuable information.
Dr. Laverson recommends that physicians participate in online conversation about themselves: “Patients should understand that sources of information online are often anonymous, and not always accurate. Most sites require a user generated name and password, but do not verify posted statements. Positive reviews may be traded for discounted or free services, written by friends, family, and employees, or by office staff who e-mail them to satisfied patients to upload, implicitly in exchange for service. Negative reviews may not reflect the actual quality of care, but may be patients disgruntled about their illness, their bill, an office staff member having a bad day, or a complication they’ve experienced that is no fault of the doctor. Negative physician reviews have also been authored by jealous, bitter, or insecure physician competitors.”
Whether doctors are providing general surgery in New York or breast augmentation in San Diego, Dr. Laverson says high professional standards are essential for development of the medical community and securing the health and safety of future generations. “Purchasing decisions are strongly influenced by statements and other online content, so it should be important for plastic surgeons to maintain a good reputation on the web.”
About Steve Laverson, MD, FACS
Dr. Steve Laverson attended the United States Naval Academy on a Congressional Appointment and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland. He earned his medical degree from the University of Maryland Medical School at Baltimore, after which he spend ten years in postgraduate training at institutions across the country including Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, Emory, the University of California Los Angeles, and the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Laverson was Chief Resident in General Surgery at Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital in South Central Los Angeles, and trained in plastic surgery in the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group. He is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.