Managing Your Reviews and Reputation While Remaining HIPAA Compliant

Online reviews remain the single most influential way for patients to voice their opinions of your medical practice. Whether true or false, these opinions will be raw, unfiltered, and emotionally driven. They will gravitate towards being high praise or strong disapproval. Your reputation as a healthcare provider hinges on these reviews and your responses to them. 

While many business owners have the freedom to respond to reviews however they see fit, healthcare providers have their hands tied by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Such was the case when a physical therapy office was fined $25,000 in 2016 for posting testimonials on their website without patient consent. We’re here to tell you how you can manage your reputation and craft review responses while remaining HIPAA compliant. 

What Is Protected Under HIPAA?  

Briefly, HIPAA protects “protected health information” (PHI) which relates to “the individual’s past, present, and future physical or mental health or condition, the provision of health care to the individual” and anything that pertains to payment information. Altogether, there are 18 identifiers that indicate when patient information is considered PHI. 

Bottom line: Avoid responding to reviews with information that can reveal a patient’s medical history or medical payment history. No matter what information they divulge in their review, you cannot respond in kind. Above all else, avoid using their name in conjunction with confirmation that you provided them with health care services. 

“How Can I Possibly Respond to Reviews?” 

Keep it anonymous. Keep it general. If the review is positive, a simple thank you will suffice. If the review is negative, again, thank them for taking the time to post a review and offer a phone number they can call to further discuss the issue. Negative reviews may be extremely biased, but people trust them nonetheless. You won’t have the flexibility to solve problems online, so your goal is to take the conversation offline. Only then can you offer a detailed, comprehensive solution to the patient’s grievance. 

Here’s a great example of a HIPAA-compliant response to a positive review: “Our practice strives to provide each patient with the outstanding service and attention they deserve. We love hearing success stories. Thank you for the recommendation, and we wish you all the best! Sincerely, Dr.                and team.” 

Here’s an appropriate response to a negative review: “Thank you for the feedback. It is our hope that every patient leaves our care having had their medical needs met and exceeded. Please contact our facility at XXX-XXX-XXXX with any questions or concerns.” 

Here’s what to avoid: “Dear Mr. Roberts. It was our pleasure to see you this past Tuesday concerning your intestinal surgery. Thank you for your positive review and recommendation!” 

Not only does the above post include the patient’s name, but it also includes information confirming their medical history, including confirmation of their visit, the date of their visit, and details of the patient’s treatment. 

Whether Positive or Negative, Respond to All Reviews

Now that we’ve discussed HIPAA compliance, it’s time to touch on how your reviews should be managed. We recommend responding to every review you receive, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. By doing so, you can mend fences and further build a rapport with your patients while showing potential patients that you are serious about providing the best health care experience possible. 

Your goal is to maintain a trustworthy persona that your patients will recommend online as well as to their family and friends. Only then can you build your online presence, manage your reputation, and attract patients that would have otherwise never trusted you with their health and wellbeing. 

Maintaining Compliance and Your Reputation 

When you take into account reviews across Google, Facebook, Vitals, Healthgrades, WebMD, and other review platforms, managing your online reputation has never been more of a challenge — a challenge you must face nonetheless. Patients are oftentimes blindly trusting of online reviews. They may not know the people leaving reviews, but they value them nearly as much as personal recommendations, sometimes even more so.

Don’t allow your reviews and reputation to fall by the wayside. The only way to dominate your local market is by taking all aspects of your online presence into account.

Are you unsure of how to respond to Google reviews? Don’t have the time? Keeping up with reviews and crafting responses can be a time-consuming challenge. Proper review responses can help you maintain relationships, attract new patients, and grow your business. At LEVERAGE, our experienced team can provide the support you need to ensure that patient reviews are responded to in a timely and HIPAA compliant manner that both improves and extends the patient relationship.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

Why a Mobile-Friendly Website is Essential to a Successful SEO Strategy in 2019

Surprisingly, many organizations still don’t have mobile-friendly websites despite there being over 5 billion unique mobile subscribers worldwide. Usually, they are reluctant to invest because they lack resources or don’t see the value. If your organization falls into this category, and you would like your brand to remain relevant on the most widely used search engines in 2019—which, let’s face it, is quickly approaching—you need to invest in a mobile-friendly website.

Here are three reasons your organization must have a mobile-friendly website as you gear up for 2019.

Reason 1: Increased Mobile Visits

Now that Google labels websites that are optimized for mobile as “mobile-friendly” within its mobile search results, failing to have a mobile-friendly website can have a negative impact on your website’s click-through rate (CTR).

Think about it this way. If a user performs a search with their mobile device, and four of the top five results have a mobile-friendly designation, if all other parameters are equal, the mobile user will give preference to the four results that Google identifies as “mobile-friendly.” This results in a greatly reduced number of click-throughs for websites that haven’t been optimized for mobile while simultaneously stimulating the volume of click-throughs for websites that are.

Fortunately, Google provides a tool that allows website owners to test if their website is mobile-friendly. If a website passes this test, it will receive the mobile-friendly designation.

Reason 2: Higher Mobile Rankings

Google already penalizes websites in mobile search that are not mobile-friendly to ensure that websites that have been optimized for mobile devices rank higher. The world’s most widely used search engine is dedicated to improving the experience of surfing the internet, which is why mobile optimization is so highly coveted. Since 2014, mobile-friendly sites have been steadily increasing in ranking while others have been demoted to search engine results pages (SERPs) that rarely see human eyes.

Consider this quote from the Google blog post that announced the new “mobile-friendly” labels:

“We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.” This announcement was made in 2014. Four years later, Google’s dedication to mobile-friendly websites has been unwavering, and mobile optimization has become the foundation of a successful online presence.

Reason 3: Increased Revenue From Mobile

If increasing rankings and click-throughs to your website don’t provide enough incentive to invest in a  mobile-friendly website, hopefully, lost revenue is. Lacking a mobile-friendly website at a time when so many users are turning to mobile devices to find the products and services they need is essentially forfeiting customers over to your competition.

The bottom line is this: without a mobile-friendly website, your organization is already losing revenue. Consumers are becoming less and less willing to put up with poor user-experiences on their mobile devices. If your organization fails to adapt to changing expectations, you will fall by the wayside as your prospective customers seek out the path of least resistance to an improved user experience. Typically, this path will lead them straight to your competitors who have invested in a mobile-friendly website. If you want to continue growing your business in 2019, a mobile-friendly website is crucial to your ongoing success.


Ensure that your organization has a successful SEO strategy in 2019 with a mobile-friendly website. Your organization will benefit from more click-throughs, higher rankings, and most importantly, increased revenue.

Mobile phones possess nearly all of the functionalities of a desktop computer, so it comes as little surprise that more and more interactions are taking place on mobile devices. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you risk missing out the important micro-moments that drive potential customers into your marketing funnel. At Leverage Digital, our creatives work side-by-side with our web development team to craft award-winning websites that feature superior performance on displays of all sizes.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.


10 Photo Challenges for Instagram Beginners

With over 1 billion users actively snapping and uploading photos every day, there has never been a better time to take advantage of what is quite possibly the most powerful social media marketing platform in the world: Instagram.

Before your business can start generating leads and converting new customers using Instagram, you will first need to spend some time getting used to this intuitive visual platform. The best way to gain a fundamental understanding of how Instagram works is to dive in head first and start posting.

These 10 photo challenges are perfect for Instagram novices who want to start posting relevant content that engages users, gain a better understanding of how hashtags work, and break into Instagram’s coveted discovery feed.

1. 52 Photos, 52 Weeks

The first rule of Instagram: post consistently. You don’t need to start posting daily from the jump, but a modest goal, like one photo a week, is an effective way to incorporate Instagram into your marketing stack. By posting once a week, you can engage established clients and customers while maintaining a small degree of visibility with fringe customers.

#52photos52weeks #weeklypost #weekinreview

2. Wellness Wednesday

Everyone knows that Instagram users are fixated on health and wellness. This fixation even lead to a brand new career field: fitspo models (essentially fitness influencers). Showcase your brand’s dedication to health and wellness by posting photos of your team enjoying the outdoors, eating a healthy meal together, or exercising. This is a great way to drive casual engagement with users. These types of interactions typically lead to continued engagement over time.

#wellnesswednesday #workoutwednesday #healthyeating

3. Throwback Thursday

Quite possibly the most popular Instagram challenge, Throwback Thursday inspires users to post a photo from the past. Funny baby photos, awkward high school pics, or photos of your business from long ago make for compelling content that cultivates likes and makes it easier for users to connect with your brand.

#tbt #throwbackthursday #lookingback

4. Friday Funday

After a long week of working (and hopefully posting on Instagram), it’s always a good idea to unwind with a simple photo challenge like Friday Funday. This challenge is self-explanatory; post a picture of your business having fun. By utilizing a call to action or positing a question to your target audience, you can organically generate comments and likes.

#fridayfunday #funfriday #justforfun

5. Lunch Break

Instagram is the king of foodie photography. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an account without a single picture of food. Our fascination with pictures of food is logical — food is typically bright, photogenic, and easily staged — and the fact that we eat lunch every day means we’re afforded the opportunity to post every day. Photos of lunch allow you to spotlight your team when they’re not working, which helps you connect with your target audience and break bread digitally.

#lunchbreak #lunchstagram #foodieblog

6. Jumpstagram

Do you remember the ending of every 80s and 90s movie ever? Typically, the conflict is resolved and then something magical happens: all of the protagonists jump skyward as the shot freezes mid-air and the credits roll. The Jumpstagram challenge tasks you with recreating this type of iconic image. The benefit of this challenge is twofold. First, it shows your target audience that the members of your team are close, which inspires confidence in your business. Second, it’s a fun activity to break up the monotony of the day.

#jumpstagram #jump #photofinish

7. Pet Portrait

Pets are universally loved by Instagram users. Incorporating your furry friends into a content-lite post helps to humanize your staff and engage your target audience. Interacting with pets makes people happy even if that interaction takes place from the other side of a mobile display. Pet lovers have a tendency to vocalize their love for animals on social media, so pet-related posts commonly result in comments, likes, and shares. Dogs are the most popular pets on the internet, but cats, lizards, birds, and fish are all capable of helping you engage with your target audience.

#petportrait #animalsatwork #petstagram

8. Love What You Do

Prospective customers are more likely to utilize the products and services of a company that truly loves what they do. Why? When you love what you do, you’re more likely to deliver high-quality results and put forth the extra effort necessary to separate yourself from your competition. Posting photos of your team working happily shows that you value a healthy work-life balance and allows your workers to complete tasks diligently without feeling overburdened. Confucius said it best: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

#lovewhatyoudo #worklove #lovemyjob

9. Quotable

You can create fresh content for social media by repurposing new and existing SEO content as a shareable graphic. Quotables, or visual content that focuses on a quote as the focal point of an image, are easy to design and even easier to share. Promote existing content by posting a quotable on Instagram that redirects users to the article hosted on your website. If you put in the effort, you can create a content marketing strategy around existing SEO content.

#quotable #quotes #inspiration

10. Past and Present

How has your business grown over the years? As you evolve from humble beginnings and achieve true success, it’s always a good idea to take a retrospective look at how far your brand has come. This is an effective Instagram challenge for a number of reasons; most notably, it allows you to showcase the growth of your business without coming off as braggadocious and it allows you reconnect with long-time clients who have stuck with you since the beginning. You can utilize Instagram’s photo album feature to provide your target audience with separate images for your past and present challenge on the same post.

#pastandpresent #changes #thankyou

How do your customers view your business? Do they see you like they see any other business? Or do they see beyond your operations and into the heart of your brand? In today’s economy, competition is stiff, so it’s imperative that you find ways to set yourself apart. Humanizing your brand using curated visual content can help you connect with your target audience and convert new customers. Our agency has the tools and expertise to help you develop a customized social media strategy that grows your brand with measurable results.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.