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.

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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.


4 Ways To Use Social Media To Drive Traffic To Your Website

Give People a Reason To Click

Remember, most people are not visiting social media sites to shop, they’re doing it to engage with their friends and family. There’s a lot of clutter on social media which makes it very difficult to break through the noise. You must provide something of value to get people to click on your content. Content for the sake of content is useless, you must be putting out your BEST stuff and being helpful in order to drive more traffic.

Stop Trying to “Sell” On Facebook

As I mentioned before, people aren’t going to social media (specifically Facebook) to shop so stop trying to sell them while they’re trying to engage with their friends and family members! This is a great way for you to get in the heads of your potential customers before they know they need you. Use Facebook as a way to build awareness of your company not as the final tool in your sales funnel. It’s the best way for you to get in the heads of your potential customers before they know they need you.

Use Hashtags To Expand Your Reach

One of the greatest powers in social media is the breadth it provides for your content to be seen. Hashtags expand the reach of your posts beyond your immediate followers and help you reach new audiences. If you’re creating great content but no one is engaging with it, try using some different hashtags to gain some traction. Look at what’s trending and latch onto it. Not only is this a good way to get new followers, it also provides a wider potential reach for your content.

Create Content Your Audience Wants To Share

I can’t stress enough how important it is to create QUALITY content. By creating really awesome content, your audience will want to share it with their followers. Sharing creates a wider reach that inevitably drives new visitors to your website.


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Understanding The New Instagram Algorithm

Instagram is a popular social media platform for sharing photos and videos. If you have Instagram, you likely have realized that there have been some noticeable changes recently. The most obvious was the logo change that took place a couple months ago. In addition to the logo change, a couple changes were made that affect how you post and market using Instagram.


Instagram’s news feed has moved away from showing things in chronological order and now shows content based off an algorithm, similar to Facebook. What does this algorithm do you ask? The algorithm will calculate which posts they think you want to see most and put them at the top of your newsfeed. Let me give you an example.

IG Account A: This person is your friend who has a hundred followers and receives roughly 40-50 likes per post. Most of the time when they post, you are almost always engaging with their photo by either liking or commenting on the picture.

IG Account B: This person is either a brand or celebrity that you follow. They have thousands of followers and receive hundreds of likes and comments. However, you never engage with any of their photos, you just follow them.

Between both accounts, Account B published their content 2 hours ago, and Account A published their content 10 hours ago. So next time you open up Instagram, the algorithm will see that you interact with Account A a lot more than Account B and put Account A’s post ahead of “Account B’s” post even though “Account B” posted more recently. The reason they do this is because Instagram wants is prioritizing content to show users information that they are most likely to be interested in. So even though Account B receives a lot more engagement from other users and has more followers, the algorithm only takes into account the things you engage with.

Like the logo, there has been backlash on the algorithm update because most Instagram users usually know the last photo they saw. If they haven’t opened the app in 6 hours, they know they have 6 hours of photos to scroll through. Once they see the photo that they saw the last time they were on Instagram, they know they are all caught up. This algorithm has frustrated some users because they want to see every post in their feed, not just what’s the app thinks is relevant.

So if you are a business using Instagram to build your brand, you will need to be more strategic with the content you post. Your content must make the user engage with your post. How can you do this? Use call to actions. For example, “Double-tap if you agree”, “Let’s hear your story”, etc.


Instagram is also allowing you to see how many people viewed the videos you post and will allow you to see how many likes specifically from those who viewed the video. This is a great addition that Instagram added because now you will be able to see the reach the video received versus the engagement. So next time you post a video and see that it received hundreds of views but only 20% of those views liked the video, you will know that you need a more engaging video. This will help with marketers make more strategic decisions and see what videos are working versus which ones are not.

If you are using Instagram to grow your brand, you need to start being more strategic with the content you post. Now it’s not enough to just post once a day when your users are most likely to be there, you must ensure that your content is engaging (which any content you post on any platform should be anyways) since likes and comments are more important than ever on Instagram if you want to be seen.


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3 Easy Ways To Use Twitter to Your Benefit

Twitter is still somewhat of a mystery for many business owners and marketing directors. From figuring out how many times a day to post to writing engaging content and understanding hashtags,Twitter can seem like a full-time job. If you’re like most, you have a Twitter handle and you occasionally post or maybe you’re the king of retweeting others’ content but you have yet to nail down a solid strategy for increasing engagement through Twitter. Here are three ways you can maximize engagement.


When you log into your Twitter account, look to the left sidebar. It’s a barometer of what’s happening in Twitter land! These are the hashtags that people are using most often on any given day which also means, people are searching these hashtags. You can give your brand more visibility by appearing in the feed when someone clicks on a trending hashtag. Make sure you draft your Tweet in a way that makes sense because randomly using trending hashtags isn’t enough!


One of the biggest mistakes we see businesses make is only posting once a day. While it does help you appear to be active if someone makes it to your page, it doesn’t help ensure that your followers actually see your content. Twitter users rarely scroll through their entire feed which means posting more frequently increases the likelihood of your post being seen.


So often, businesses have a very one-sided social media strategy. The power of social media is that it allows you to have a real-time conversation with your prospective customers. If they’re tweeting at you, respond. It shows that you care about your customers!

Happy Tweeting!

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5 Tips for Maximizing Your Online Content

At the heart of your online strategy is great content (if it’s not then we probably need to talk!). From your website to SEO strategies to social media, content is king. If you aren’t putting a concerted effort into creating GREAT content, you’re not maximizing your potential on the web.

Here are five ways for you to improve your content overnight:

1 – Provide Your Readers With Value

First and foremost, you must provide your readers with value. Simply creating content for the sake of creating content is not enough. In order to keep your audience engaged, you have to create content that provides real and actionable value. Give your readers useful information that they can apply themselves. By positioning yourself as a resource, eventually, you’ll reap the benefits.

2 – Write for Both Types of Readers

Everyone processes information a little bit differently. Some will skim your content and others will read every single word. The key here is to provide subheadings for your skimmers and detail in the paragraphs for those who need more information.

3 – Write Copy That Your Audience Needs and Understands

A good place to start when drafting your content strategy is with your FAQs from customers. What questions are you getting a lot? Create content that answers those questions and put it out, “on the line!” Doing so positions you as the expert and will make clients more likely to call you when they have a need.

4 – Add Images

You should always be including an image with your posts. Especially in the case of social media, a great image can mean the difference in getting the click or not.

5 – Include Relevant Keywords

Search engines are ranking the content on your website to determine its relevancy based on the search query. Including the appropriate keywords in your copy will help with search engine optimization.

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3 Things You Can Do Right Now To Increase Your Social Media Presence

Navigating the digital world is undoubtedly complex and with new social platforms and technology emerging every day, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. An overall strategy takes time and resources to implement (which is why we’re here!), but in the meantime, here are some things you can be doing right now:


Video platforms are among the fastest growing social media sites. Specifically, Snapchat outpaced competitors last year by a landslide—in case you are looking for a stat here—over 400 million snaps are sent every single day! Selling a product is about selling an experience. There’s no better way to capture emotion and showcase people having fun with your brand or product than through video. Utilizing SnapChat will allow you to get into the phones of your current customers’ friends. Finally, you should create geofilters for your customers to use while they are at your place of business.


What content makes sense for you? Tell your audience what makes you unique, give them insight into your process, and make them feel like a part of it. Then, take the blog content and scale it for other social media platforms. Turn it into video, Tweets, Facebook posts, etc. to serve multiple audiences. Engage your people. The people that craft the experience are what make your story sell, USE THEM!


Having killer content that resonates with your current buyers creates a ripple effect that generates new business. The added bonus? When companies, especially locally owned companies, are making waves in the market, it is newsworthy. Social media can and should include a lofty PR strategy.

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How to Connect Your Traditional Advertising With Search Marketing

Whether you’re a new or established business, listen up! Your longevity in the marketplace has little to do with this topic.

I’ll say this now (and probably again later!), if you aren’t making a conscious effort to connect your online and offline marketing, you are missing the boat on potential customers. Here’s the scenario….potential customer Johnny is driving home from work and hears your radio ad. It piques his interest. He can’t remember the name of your company when he gets home so he turns to Google and starts searching. Are you there? If not, you’ve just paid a pretty penny (for that radio ad) to help your competitors, who are already visible on Google, get business. That’s right, your ad just drove your customer straight into the hands of your competitor. So what can you do?


Do everything in your power to appear at the top of page one in the search results. There are multiple ways to achieve this. First, if you haven’t optimized your website for search engine visibility, do it now. Second, start buying Google AdWords. Third, when you are in flight (on TV and radio), you need to up your AdWords bids to ensure that you are appearing. Remember, traditional media fuels search, and if you aren’t there, you’re missing the boat on potential customers and possibly fueling your competitors who are out marketing you on digital.


Showing up is half the game. So you’re there, now you need to convert. (I could write an entire blog on this but that’s not the purpose of today!) Write ad copy that matches the search conducted and drive those searchers to a landing page that provides them with the information they are looking for. There’s nothing more irritating to a potential customer than clicking on an ad only to be taken to the homepage of your website. The homepage isn’t what they were looking for—give them what they want!

For the third time, if you aren’t making a conscious effort to connect your online and offline marketing, you are missing the boat on potential customers!

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call us today at (866) 611-6267 or submit our contact request form.


Facebook Partner Categories Offers More Targeting Opportunities for Advertisers

Early last week, Facebook released their new targeted ad feature, “Partner Categories.” This new feature allows advertisers to zero in on a target audience based on their purchase behavior by utilizing information from large data companies including Acxiom, Blue Kai, Datalogix, and Epsilon. This new partnership has better positioned Facebook to offer advertisers the opportunity to fine tune their campaigns and get more relevant advertisements in front of the right audience.

With partner categories, Facebook is able to deliver highly targeted ads based not only on the information provided in users’ profiles, but also based on users’ online and offline buying habits.

For example, a local grocer wanting to promote a new line of cereal for children can now show ads to users who have shown to be likely buyers of children’s cereals.

This benefits both users and advertisers. For users, this presents a better experience because they are provided with ads that are highly relevant to both their interests and buying habits. For advertisers, this allows delivery of ads that are more targeted, and should theoretically provide a better return on investment.

Want to learn how to enhance your social media marketing efforts? Give us a call at (866) 611-6267 or submit our contact request form.