Tips on Addressing Negative Reviews for Healthcare Professionals
In a world fuelled by social media interactions, every patient is a critic. Online review sites are becoming more popular among patients and practice owners should hone in on basic social media skills. Over half of patients reading online reviews take into consideration negative reviews when making a decision.
Consumers have gotten used to giving reviews on every product or service they use. Now it has extended to the healthcare industry as well. Considering the sensitive nature of the healthcare industry, reviews have become very influential.
Due to HIPPA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, healthcare professionals must be careful when responding to negative feedback. Naturally you will want to defend your practice; however it most likely won’t always be in your favour to do so directly on online sites.
One of the ways it can backfire on a medical practice is by violating HIPPA privacy in an open response to a negative patient feedback. This can happen by accident, but it’s a privacy violation nonetheless.
So, how can your practice combat negative reviews effectively and legally?
Building your Online Presence
Considering that most of the patients will read multiple reviews before deciding, it is beneficial to have as many positive reviews as possible. Encourage your patients to leave reviews after their appointments. When the ratio between positive and negative feedback paints an overall positive image, the impact of negative feedback will be diminished.
Clear, Concise Responses
Unlike in other industries, medical practices shouldn’t openly respond explaining their position and the patient’s situation. However addressing the issue remains mandatory, therefore a response where you acknowledge the feedback and show your willingness to solve the conflict can look like this: “We value our patients and making sure they have the best experience. Please contact us at 0800 131 0700 FREE so we can address your concerns.” This lets other readers know that your medical practice is aware of any issues and most importantly, you did not disclose any patient information.
If you have questions before you post a response, you can always contact a legal professional to ensure it is HIPPA compliant.
Reviews are an Opportunity
While receiving negative feedback is never a pleasant experience, but it presents an opportunity to improve your medical practice. This represents a direct feedback loop for you to spot work processes that have improvement potential. Reaching out to patients that left unfavourable reviews may also lead to them leaving a positive review in the future.
Move the Conversation Offline
Moving the conversation offline will not only lead to a swifter conflict resolution, but will also help avoid any legal issues of disclosing private information. You cannot see who is on the other side of an email or direct message, so encourage the patient to come to the office if they would like to discuss details regarding their case.
Maintaining the integrity of a medical practice should be one of the top priorities. These tips are meant to help you deal with negative reviews in the best way possible, preserving a positive reputation.