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How Do I Respond To Negative Reviews As a Doctor’s Office?


How Do I Respond To Negative Reviews As a Doctor's Office?


It’s bound to happen at some point, you are likely going to deal with a negative review. You may have a patient that really calls you out and places blame for their conditions on your office. Or, they may leave feedback about your process, payment structure, or a bad experience with your staff. Either way, when you get a negative review your gut reaction is usually to try and defend yourself. Is that the best way to go about handling a negative review? 

Here are some things you should consider before responding to both positive and negative reviews.

Is Your Response HIPPA Compliant? 

Be careful that you do not respond in a way that confirms that the reviewer is a patient. Also, it’s important that you do not ever give out any patient information in the review. Responding to a patient in a way that violates HIPPA can cost you very large fines. That’s why it’s important that you phrase things in a way that doesn’t directly address the patient themselves. 

Here is an example of responding to a review that indicates the reviewer is a patient: 

Names them as a patient: Thanks so much for choosing us as your doctor, we love taking care of you. 

Doesn’t name them as a patient: We aim to take care of all of our patients and always appreciate the feedback. 

As you can see, it can get really complicated to respond to a negative review without naming the person as a patient. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but you will need to be careful. 

Here is an example of responding to a negative review: 

Names them as a patient: You were running late to your appointment and we did the best we could to accommodate you, but you were too late to be seen that day. Contact us to reschedule your appointment.

Doesn’t name them as a patient: It is our policy that when patients are running more than 15 minutes late we offer them the next available appointment slot. This may mean they have to come back a later day if our schedule is full. 

Do You Sound Defensive? 

When someone gives you negative feedback, it’s very easy to get defensive…especially if the reviewer was wrong or attacks you personally. If you are responding to a negative review, you want to make sure you’re writing it in a positive way. 

Here are a few scenarios of how you can address negative comments: 

Review: Your office doesn’t take my insurance and now I owe out of pocket.

Answer: We aim to provide the best patient care in our office which is why we do not allow insurance to dictate our treatment options. However, we are always happy to file with our patients’ insurance companies so they can receive any reimbursements allowed by their plan.  

Review: I had to wait 30 minutes to be seen. 

Answer: We know our patient’s time is valuable and work hard to see them at their appointed time, but sometimes delays are out of our control. 

If you are going to give an explanation of what happened, make sure it doesn’t sound defensive or address the patient specifically. 

Evaluate The Review And Make Changes If Needed

Bad reviews can sometimes shed light on your office flow and make you aware of places you need to tighten up. Other times, the patient is just upset about things that are beyond your control and voicing that. When you get a bad review, don’t panic, it won’t tank your office but evaluate it and decide if there are changes you need to make. Patient feedback is a valuable part of growing a practice that serves its patients well.  

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If you are looking for an SEO company that can help your office increase traffic and show up in search results, reach out to us today. The team at Functional Medicine SEO is happy to review your site and see what terms you are currently showing up for. Then we will put together a strategy to help your site get the type of traffic that will turn into scheduled appointments. Contact us today and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.



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