Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel. ~Mark Twain
Sage advice. But what is a doctor to do in this digital age when every disgruntled patient has their own digital barrel of ink through physician review sites and social media platforms? We have found that patient complaints often share one common denominator—a breakdown in the physician-patient relationship. The best options, therefore, for protecting your online reputation should be directed at preserving, and when necessary, repairing, relationships with your patients.
When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade
Ignoring a negative comment looks like you do not care or agree the comment is valid. Hiding or removing negative reviews is ineffective at best. The commenter may simply re-post the comment on multiple sites, pointing out your efforts to “hide the truth.” Attacking the commenter is equally dangerous and often results in more malicious or derisive comments.
What should a doctor do, then? Recognize that you have an unhappy patient. Respond to the complaint in a positive manner. And react based on a full and objective assessment of the situation.