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Medical Practice Guide: How to Respond to Online Reviews

Posted by Aprillice Alvez on Nov 20, 2020 8:08:33 AM

drcatalyst November-20-01

Good or bad, online reviews are essential in any business and practice. Patients choose their doctors based on their research online. Thus, getting a negative review could be your worst nightmare. We’ll be discussing how you can engage and respond to your patient reviews in the best and safest way possible. After all, online engagements still adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability ACT of 1996 (HIPAA) compliance and other state privacy laws. 

Waking Up to a Bad Review

As the saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. A negative review might have ruined your day and spiked your anxiety, but with the right strategy, you can easily turn things around. There’s always a silver lining. Therefore, remember these two things before responding: 


1. NEVER ignore a negative review. The internet immortalizes all data out there, it won’t just go away or simmer down as time goes on. It will haunt your practice and will affect greatly your patient volume. 


2. Complaints are helpful red flags of room for improvement. As annoying it may seem, it might actually highlight what needs to be improved in your practice. 93.5% of these complaints stem from miscommunication. Conduct a thorough investigation to know the full side of the patient’s issue or complaint and empathize. You’ll know exactly how to fix it from there. 

How to Respond Negative Reviews?

  • Show grace under pressure. Even though it’s a bad review, it pinpoints the area where you can still grow for your practice. Thank them for their comments and emphasize improvement to reduce negative feedback. 
  • Reply with a clear mind and be grounded. Firstly, don’t respond if you’re sleep deprived or stressed out. Give it a day before responding. You might feel too attacked by the review and may end up saying something that you don’t mean. Moreover, letting your emotions take the reins will just make matters worse. Remind yourself that you are a professional and whatever you say will reflect on the practice. 
  • Never ask someone to delete a review. It can result in a $500 fine for your practice or worse. Instead, focus on acknowledging their concern and fixing it so you can welcome a happier patient. They might just replace or update their review with a more constructive and positive one.
  • Inform them of what’s changed. They will surely be delighted to know they helped facilitate a change. Solutions might include easier navigation through your patient portal, a faster booking appointment, or better-automated phone service. Inform them of your upgrade. 
  • Avoid blanket apologies. Don’t apologize for any alleged malpractice or you might set yourself up for a lawsuit. 
  • Empathize. Try to understand your patient and conduct an investigation on your healthcare delivery to see what’s wrong. Take time to ask them more about the situation by calling them or sending an email. Make them feel important and emphasize that giving them top-quality care is your number one priority.  
  • Don’t reveal any patient information. Follow the HIPAA guidelines and avoid any patient identifiers in your response. Encourage the patient to call your practice immediately to further apprehend the situation.  
  • Evaluate your services by asking the following questions:
    • Could it be a miscommunication?
    • Is this an isolated complaint?
    • Is the complaint becoming frequent?
    • What could have prevented it?
    • What should you change to improve?
    • How do your staff members treat patients?
    • Do you need to lessen the waiting time in your office? 
  • You might need to call a lawyer. There are instances where the feedback has nothing to do with patient experience or about the services your practice provides. It could be personal attacks on your staff or doctor. Hence, you will need a lawyer to mitigate the situation. 
  • Request your patients for feedback. Having 100 positive reviews next to a bad one is the best way to invite potential patients. 
  • Ensure that your response would not confirm that a patient received care or any specifications about the patient’s health information. Without proper patient authorization, the information obtained during the treatment of a patient should never be shared on a public platform.
  • If you were able to mitigate the negative feedback, do not use their new review as a patient testimonial without proper patient authorization. 

Do you Need Help Managing Your Reviews?

DrCatalyst got you covered. Our marketing team can help you get that pristine and outstanding online presence that you’re aiming for that will surely boost your patient volume. Talk to our marketing experts today and let’s plan out your digital marketing journey. 


Schedule a free consultation today!

Topics: healthcare digital marketing, digital marketing for medical practices, Medical Marketing, Patience Experience, Healthcare Practice

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