Tips for Doctors When Addressing Negative Patient Reviews

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Doctors should respond quickly, validate their patients' complaints and demonstrate their willingness to take action.
Doctors should respond quickly, validate their patients' complaints and demonstrate their willingness to take action.

HealthDay News -- According to an article published in Medical Economics, approximately 77% of patients are thought to use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor and that review sites often attract patients who are more likely to air grievances. The article discusses ways to handle negative reviews and provides 5 tips for physicians to follow when addressing negative patient reviews.

According to the article, negative patient reviews can be handled with tact. Firstly, doctors should respond to these reviews quickly, ideally creating several template responses that are Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliant. Responses should start by validating the patient's complaint, rather than denying the accusation. 

Responses are more likely to come across as open and friendly with use of "We/I" statements, rather than "You" statements. Acknowledging the reviewer's comments is not enough and responses should demonstrate willingness to take action to address the complaint. When changes are implemented based on negative reviews, this should be included in all related responses.

"Physicians have always been the beneficiaries -- and victims -- of patient reviews," according to the article. "However, with the popularity of online review sites, it's never been so easy for prospective patients to formulate an opinion on doctors in a matter of a few minutes."

Reference

"5 Tips for Tactfully Combatting Negative Patient Reviews." Medical Economics. Updated October 22, 2016. Available at: http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/5-tips-tactfully-combatting-negative-patient-reviews. Accessed October 28, 2016.

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