Online Patient Reviews: The Good and The Bad of It

In today's wired world, online patient reviews can greatly affect a Physician's practice as patients turn to the internet to seek advice regarding their healthcare.‌ While about 65% of Americans say they are aware of Physician rating sites, only about 23% actually report using them(2). This number increases every year and as it does, so increases the probability that a Physician will have to deal with a negative patient review.

The Good News

While it can seem like the internet is crawling with trolls and disgruntled people looking to make their opinions known, evidence regarding online Physician reviews say otherwise. Several reviews confirm that the majority of patients leave favorable comments about their Physicians when making online reviews (3,4).

Secrets Behind a Good Patient Review

  • There are two big factors causing a lot of negative online reviews for Physicians (4)

    1. Negative patient interactions with staff
    2. Issues with punctuality during a visit
  • To boost your number of positive reviews, be sure to make punctuality and positive staff interactions a priority. It shouldn't be surprising but good Physicians often get good patient reviews. Physicians with the best reviews tend to have more experience, education and fewer malpractice claims (4).

Responding to a Negative Review

While the majority of patients surveyed felt that it was important for Physicians to comment on negative reviews, many reputation experts suggest that you avoid replying (1). If you feel compelled to address negative reviews, consider these approaches: 

  • Invite the reviewer to contact your clinic to further discuss the complaint
  • Address the topic associated with the complaint in generalized terms being sure to avoid patient-specific commentary
  • Emphasize that you appreciate all kinds of feedback

Think About Hiring an Expert

Hiring a pro can be especially beneficial if you have any negative reviews or notable reputation damage. Many online management companies provide varying levels of service. Some may provide comprehensive services that include social media monitoring or SEO enhancement for your website in addition to preventing or repairing online reputation damage.