No matter how many toric lenses you install, or glaucoma cases you diagnose, it’s a fact of life that a patient will write a negative online review about you. Sites like RateMDs, Healthgrades and Yelp have made it easy for patients to voice their hatred for a doctor’s perfume, long wait times, or even the color of a practice’s walls.
20% of patients use review sites to choose doctors. – Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
Here’s how to turn a negative review into positive action:
- Don’t ignore them. Read the comments carefully. A kernel of feedback might be all it takes to spark change. Yep, it’s time to recycle the TIME magazine with President Bush on the cover, and invest in some new patient reading material.
- Sue? Don’t even think about it. In most cases, the First Amendment protects online reviewers. While doctors have tried to sue complaining patients before, most have had their lawsuits tossed out of court.
- Ask patients for reviews. It shows you’re actively looking for feedback to improve your practice, and care what your patients have to say. Plus, the stack of positive reviews will drown out one or two bad ones.
- Deserve the negative comments? Respond. Tell the patient how you plan to improve wait times, or let them know that Bell has already fixed that one exam chair’s torn upholstery. Responding builds credibility and willingness to keep an ego in check.