How to Respond to Negative Reviews

It doesn’t matter how excellent your physicians are or how many people find care at your medical practice. In this day of technology and instant gratification, you’re going to get a bad review.

Whatever the reason for the review, one thing we do know is that it’s bad for business and your reputation. And in the medical world, reputation is everything. However, when you do receive a bad review, don’t panic. There are several things you can do to minimize the damage and make things right.

Respond when possible

When you see a negative review online, it can be tempting to try and defend your honor with an explanation. However, because of HIPAA and privacy laws, this is the best course of action. If you respond to the review, you must do so in a way that doesn’t reveal any personal information about the patient. When you respond, it may be hard to do so without revealing personal details, such as what medical services were performed.

In these cases, stick to basic information that shows you are listening and that you care. A blanket statement offering an apology and an attempt to work it out offline is going to be your best bet. At first, it might not feel like enough, but potential patients that see the negative review will also see your response and that you tried to make it right. This can make all the difference!

Attempt a conversation offline.

Because of the constraints you face as a medical practice; a public conversation is nearly impossible. In these cases, try and move the discussion offline. Try and identify the patient who left the negative review, contact them directly, and ask them about their concerns. If you’re able to fix the problem, do so right away.

If the patient isn’t satisfied with your effort or refuses to speak privately, at least you know you’ve done all you can. However, the work you put in will be appreciated by others, which means your bad review has the potential to be a positive one in the future.

Focus on the positive. 

If you engage with your patients through email, on social media, and face-to-face conversations, they’ll become more active on your social media pages. Because of this, you must pay close attention to what others are saying about your practice. You might see your loyal patients defending you, which is always rewarding. It’s even better when they leave positive reviews about your practice. If you get a few negative reviews, they’ll be significantly outweighed by all the good ones.

As a trusted practice, you can and should ask your patients to post reviews. Make it simple for them by including direct links in your newsletters and emails, and posting your request on your social media pages. But remember that it is illegal to provide anything of value in exchange for good reviews.

No matter what you think about online reviews, one thing is clear; they’re here to stay. So instead of ignoring them, fearing them, or fighting them, look at them as an opportunity to connect with your community, learn more about your patients, and improve your services. Do these things, and you’ll be getting great reviews in no time!

Posted by
  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

What We Offer

We’re adding value to practices across the nation by creating a thriving community of rheumatology managers and physicians.

Membership Benefits

Become a Member

Annual Conference

Conference Registration