Negative online reviews can hamper any small business, especially those that rely on trust. Nowhere is trust more paramount to a positive relationship than the trust between a patient and their doctor. Since over 85% of patients look up a doctor before they go to see them, the reviews of a doctor are the first impression that they make on a new patient. This makes it imperative that doctors care about the reviews that they receive, and do everything in their power to make sure that their first impression on a potential patient is a positive one.
Every medical practice that has been in business for long enough will have seen some particularly nasty reviews left about them on different social media sites. Often times these reviews can seem unfair. I’ve seen a one-star review of a doctor because the parking garage across the street raised their price. There is very little that can be done about these types of reviews assuming that they follow the guidelines of the sites that they are posted on. It is best to ignore these types of reviews and focus on ones where a patient has a legitimate complaint about your practice.
In cases where a patient leaves a negative review because they did not enjoy an aspect of their care, it is important that a medical practice respond to them in a timely matter. HIPAA regulations prevent medical practices from publicly responding to criticism posted on social media sites. Thus someone from the practice who has received a negative review that has raised a cogent concern should message the poster privately and directly address their concerns. Often times there has been a misunderstanding that can be cleared up, or there is a takeaway that can be applied to prevent future unhappiness from other patients.
If you’re only looking to drive up your review average, you should focus on generating more positive reviews rather than limiting negative ones. Most patients don’t think to leave a review for a doctor unless they are deeply dissatisfied with the care that they received. You can counter this by asking your satisfied patients to leave you a review on your social media pages. A few positive reviews can drastically help to raise your average rating and cancel out the effects of a negative review.
Also published on Medium.