123s of Negative Patient Reviews

September 27, 2019

Benjamin Franklin said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”  It’s been a couple of centuries since Franklin made this statement, yet the same remains true today. It is especially true in healthcare where patient dissatisfaction can be amplified with just a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse.

On the one hand, the internet has expanded our accessibility to one another and information. On the other hand, it provides a medium for bad reviews and feedback to travel further and faster than our reputations can keep up with. As a result, many patients think they “know” their providers before they ever meet them. So what’s the solution when that one dissatisfied patient tries to start a fire by posting a negative review of you or your practice? The answer is simple: dilute the fire—the solution to pollution is dilution.

Jeff Segal, MD, JD, a ByrdAdatto partner and CEO of Medical Justice, has built a simple strategy for dealing with negative patient reviews. Specifically, when writing a response to a negative patient review, you must remember these Five Golden Rules:

  1. A model response shows the practice is reasonable and isn’t engaged in a debate.
  2. A model response educates the public.
  3. A model response addresses the concerns raised in the review.
  4. A model response takes the conversation offline.
  5. A model response does not address the author directly.

Jeff further advises that the person or employee who is responsible for locating and responding to negative reviews should commit to these rules in order to dilute or drown out the dissatisfied voices in the crowd. These rules will also help you to avoid potential violations of HIPAA or professional licensing board regulations that may perceive the filtering of negative reviews as false and deceptive advertising.

Remember that it takes two flints to make a fire.  Engaging in a debate with a dissatisfied patient in a public way is a bottomless pit. Once you fall in, it can be difficult to pull your reputation out. For more information, please contact us at info@byrdadatto.com.  

ByrdAdatto Founding Partner Bradford E. Adatto

Bradford E. Adatto

Brad decided to become a lawyer during sixth-grade Career Day, when he promised to represent his best friend, a future doctor. A few decades later, he started his own law firm that focused on representing health care and corporate clients.