But WebMD is for the patients, and that’s where it has a link to its physician directory. While it has a doctor directory, this isn’t the site’s focus and it shows. The physician profiles are more limited than other medical review sites. WebMD also seems more interested in getting doctors to register with Medscape, rather than claim their profile.
In fact, the site is beta-testing making the first step in its “claim your profile” process signing in with your Medscape login. You don’t need to and this step doesn’t show up for everyone.
But this takes me to the next point about the WebMD directory: WebMD builds its doctor directory from public and commercial information, so it has over 40,000 physician profiles for prospective patients to search. Yet I could only find one profile that had been claimed by the doctor. I searched on a variety of specialties in a few different locations. Other than the one exception, an orthopedist, every profile I clicked on had the sad little, grey avatar image asking “Is this you?” They’re like milk cartons for doctors.
Which makes this great news for any doctor willing to take the initiative and fill out a WebMD profile. It’s not going to ask you for any information you aren’t posting on another medical review site, so can be done efficiently.
As with your other medical review site profiles, fill this one out completely for the best results. It asks the basics: procedures performed, conditions treated, specialties, education, hospital affiliations, and accepted insurance. A unique feature of a WebMD profile is that the site will give a green check mark by certain procedures or conditions. It calls these “Commonly Performs” or “Commonly Treats” check marks, which are given based on comparing the number of times the doctor in question performs that procedure or treats that condition relative to other doctors in that geographic area. It doesn’t indicate where it gets this data.
How to Stand Out
Post an image and write a profile overview. That’s it. Do those two things on this website and you’ll stand out.
Every profile, even the unclaimed ones, have a basic overview that WebMD can build off the information it already has about you. So a typical WebMD- created profile overview will read like:
“Dr. X works in City, ST and specializes in Orthopedics. Dr. X is affiliate with THIS hospital.”
Since I could only find one doctor-written profile overview, I can’t gauge how much space they give you. This doctor shared years of experience and education, and went a bit more in-depth his specialties and hospital affiliations. But not much more than that.
If you included a short statement about yourself, your practice mission, or theory of care – that would go a long way to set you apart from other profiles on this site.
And seeing a human face on a profile? That would be groundbreaking. Based on my sample size of one claimed profile, I can conclude that if you do claim your profile and don’t upload the image, you’ll at least be able to get rid of the sad little avatar. It will just show your name instead.
So we have a pretty short checklist for this site:
- Upload your image.
- Write an Overview.
- Fill out the fixed fields (e.g. specialties, conditions, insurance, etc) accurately and completely.
This a Review Site, not just a Directory
I do want to make this clear. While WebMD may not appear to be an active directory from doctors’ perspective, it is still a review site. It doesn’t get the engagement that a site like ZocDoc gets.
But its parent site gets a lot of traffic, 145 million a month, and is a highly trusted source for people looking for information about their health and medical conditions. If the time comes that WebMD does decide to promote its doctor directory more actively, it has a large built-in audience.
Also, patients can review you now, regardless of whether you’ve claimed your profile. Like other review sites, WebMD lets patients give you an overall rating (based on 5-star scale), and rate you specifically on how well you
- Explains conditions & treatments
- Takes time to answer my questions
- Provides follow-up as needed
The results page from a search shows only the doctor’s name, location, and overall rating. If you can get even just a few patients to provide positive reviews on this site, your profile will show up like a lighthouse on the results page.
There are some quick and easy wins for doctors who want to claim their WebMD profile. On its own, it might not be positioned (right now) to generate huge streams of new patients, but there is potential. It’s also a high authority site where you can create backlinks to your practice website, which is helps your SEO.
As part of our medical review site series, we’ll be publishing a post how to create profiles for multiple sites efficiently. If you include WebMD in this process, it won’t have a high time investment. So the returns it could bring to your practice may well pay off.