While many doctors scorn the idea of consumers reviewing healthcare services online-doctors should be pleased to know that a 2010 report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that 90% of online healthcare reviews were positive.
These days, using online forums is commonplace. A recent Pew Internet Research study showed 72% of Internet users looked online for health information last year, and 30% consulted online reviews or rankings of health care services or treatments.
Roys Laux, general manager of health and wellness at Angie's List offered these tips on how doctors can use online feedback. How can you use the reviews?
- Google your practice name. Medical providers reviewed on Angie’s List are encouraged to register with the site-free-of-charge-to monitor and even respond to reviews as they come in.
- Respond to postings, whether the review is positive or negative. It’s always better to respond, even if all you say is “thank you.” It lets patients know you’re listening. If the writer has a complaint, there may be a simple answer you can provide that satisfies both the reviewer and anyone else who may be reading
- Correct misinformation. An online forum is a good place to set the record straight.
- Patient confidentiality. Be sure to respond in general terms without alluding to the reviewer’s identity or condition.
- Don’t get drawn into a public argument. If you feel you are being slandered or harassed, contact the review site for guidance on mediating a dispute.
- Don’t let the occasional overblownreview scare you off. Most reviewers are as reasonable online as they are in your office. Be open-minded about what they have to say and don’t be afraid to post a reply.