According to Pew Research Center, a stunning 77% of consumers say they use online reviews as the first step to finding a new physician or healthcare provider. While online reviews can be a valuable asset for physicians on the receiving end of a positive review, not all are so fortunate. A bad review can quickly become detrimental – affecting a physician practice’s bottom line, and in some extreme instances, forcing radical change.
If your practice or facility receives a negative review online, the first instinct may be to remove it and to make it go away. However, The Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 (effective March 14, 2017) prohibits companies from restricting, prohibiting or penalizing consumer-posted reviews of the company. According to legal expert Michelle D. Craig, the best defense is a good offense. Taking control of your online brand before a negative review occurs is the most effective way to curtail the effect of any negativity when it happens.
A recent article from The Wall Street Journal highlighted increasingly frequent instances of brand-management services stepping in to help healthcare providers and hospitals monitor their online reputations. One doctor profiled in the article personally calls these unhappy patients to obtain first-hand feedback to improve his practice. A proactive measure like this can have significant positive results for both patient satisfaction and your business on the whole.
Taking Control of Your Online Reputation
LAMMICO reminds readers of previously published insights from Ms. Craig in back issues of The LINK. For example, in the article, “Counteracting Negative Online Reviews Through Effective Brand Management,” Ms. Craig presents responsible and compliant tactics to proactively control your digital reputation. In her follow up article, “Crafting a Responsible and Compliant Response to a Negative Social Media Review,” Ms. Craig offers practical tips for constructing replies when tensions are high.
If you have specific questions about how these principles may apply to your practice or facility, please contact your regional LAMMICO Risk Management and Patient Safety representative for consultation.