There are many patient review sites now including, HealthGrades, Yelp and several more, giving patients ample opportunity to let the public know how they rate a physician.  Now, new patients don’t even make appointments with a physician, even when referred, until they have been to the rating sites to see how the physicians stack up.

According to JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), over one third of patients responding to the survey, stated that they would avoid physicians who received bad reviews and 59% stated that reviews were important to them prior to seeking out medical services from the physician.

Because the payment models are shifting away from services rendered to value added care, the importance of patient reviews is even more paramount now and moving forward. Understanding that patients, like product consumers in businesses, need to experience outstanding services, is important.

Benefits to Negative Reviews

Monitor the online review sites.  Many large corporations do just that and have whole staffs involved in “damage control”.  This is something that you should try too.

Call reviewer

If a bad review is given by a current patient in the office,  check out whether the remarks are valid.  Then, give the patient a call and try to rectify the situation.  Often, the individual just wants an apology or validation for their complaint.  Let them know that you are looking into it or if it is something that you did, a new policy or action will be enacted so that the problem will not repeat.  Explaining why something happened and apologizing, goes far in turning an unhappy patient into a content one. (or at least one that will give you another chance).

Respond to the online site

Some professionals prefer not to respond as it stresses the comment for those viewers that may have overlooked it.  Others feel that by responding in a generic way that doesn’t violate HIPAA guidelines, it shows that you are listening and responsive to their views and feelings.


Use the negative review as constructive criticism.  If the comments have validity, consider changing to improve the practice and patient flow. The problem may be wait times that are too long or unhelpful staff at the front desk.  Whatever it is, if you can address the problem, you will be adding value to your practice.

How have you been handling the problem?

Share your experiences in the comment box below.