Classy Ways to Handle Negative Patient Reviews

As you know, most patients who leave reviews are either lavishing on praise or throwing down negativity. It’s an all or nothing spectrum with little in between.

When it comes to dealing with positive reviews, you extend an electronic pat on the back and move on. Simple, right?

It’s gets complicated when someone leaves a dismal review. What you want to avoid doing in this situation is responding in kind. But to do that well, you’re going to need a plan.

We get that and are here to help.

Let Gavin Baker, principal of Baker Labs , guide you through the process, leaving you feeling secure and confident, ready to tackle any prickly words that come your way.


Why do patient reviews matter, anyway?

Nearly 70% of patients who read healthcare reviews are influenced in the selection of their next physician, hospital or medical practice, according to PwC Health Research.

And approximately 3 out of 4 of adults search online for a doctor.

PwC’s Internet & American Life Project revealed that 72% of internet users say they purposely searched online for health-related information or for a doctor or health professional near them who could best treat their symptoms.


The great news is that you are in control of what they find when they search for you.

To ensure visitors have a positive experience online when searching for you, pay attention to what is on your website (great pictures and content along with solid patient reviews), how it looks and how easy it is to navigate from a user perspective.


The bad news is that if your website is ugly, hard to use and houses only negative reviews, prospective patients are going to write you off quickly without even physically visiting your office.

In this scenario, even a positive word-of-mouth review won’t be enough to compensate for such a lackluster online experience.

Remember: Experience is everything, and that goes for online as well as physical visits.

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What if someone says something negative about my practice online?

No practice is perfect and patients will say negative things when leaving social media comments and online reviews. It happens and is beyond your control.

What you can control is how you choose to respond to these comments and reviews.

We recommend setting up the following as soon as possible:

  • Put a system in place to respond to negative comments before they happen and moving these conversations offline to a phone call as quickly as possible.
  • Implement a plan to encourage patients to leave reviews for your practice and your providers. This way, you will have a steady stream of positive reviews coming in on a consistent basis, lessening the impact made by any negative reviews.

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Understand people leave negative reviews because they are dealing with unmet expectations and want to voice their frustrations.

They want to be heard and understood. Responding quickly and in the right way tells that person that you care.

Plus, everyone else can see how you effectively deal with negative feedback, so choose your words wisely.

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Should I respond to a bad review?

This shows the person who left the review that you are listening and it shows everyone else who sees it that you are as well.

Try to respond within 24 hours.

Can I say anything I want when responding to bad reviews?

You need to make sure every response you leave is HIPAA compliant and you aren’t using PHI or even acknowledging that patients are, in fact, patients.

Let them know they have been heard and that you want to talk about it.

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Interested in learning more about this topic? Click here to read the entire post, first published by 1st Healthcare Compliance .