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The Positive in a Negative Online Review

Physicians, including psychiatrists, trying to cope with negative online reviews take heart. You can turn these lemons into lemonade. How many readers really trust them anyway? I often suspect that positive reviews may have been fabricated, and I have long believed that many negative reviews from real patients result when good doctors refuse, to the benefit of the patient, to prescribe bad drugs.

A recent negative review of my practice included accurate information about the way I run my practice. In many ways I do not like any more than does the patient that I must practice this way, but the broken system in which we work today requires me, for example, to collect payment at the time of service. I am glad the readers can learn about these problems from such reviews.

If the physician can identify the patient she may discover information that the patient has not shared directly but which may help in getting the best care for the patient. For example, if the patient clearly dislikes the physician the patient may benefit from discharge so he can find a physician he likes.

Some Web sites provide the physician an opportunity to respond as I did to the review mentioned above. I took advantage of the opportunity to describe my practice policies in a neutral tone. Avoid defensive responses and criticism, even implied, of the reviewer. You will just invite a counter attack. If the reviewer levels valid criticism use the opportunity to own up to your mistakes and lay out a plan to rectify them.

Even negative communication can better no communication.

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