How is social media impacting your medical practice?
You may think it doesn’t affect you professionally, but think again. Even if you’re not using social media, your patients are already there! Are your patients asking to be your Facebook friend? Do you “tweet” messages to patients via your smartphone? How about posting a video of a patient’s procedure on YouTube? You may think this is absurd, but all of these uses (or abuses) of social media have occurred by or to physicians.
Physician Rating Sites
And, it doesn’t end there. Patients often search physician rating sites before choosing a physician or visiting a practice. We suggest a periodic review of these sites by you or your assigned staff so that you know what’s being said about you.
Here are some frequently used rating sites you can check:
Responding to Negative Online Comments
Physicians sometimes feel that these comments won’t matter, and that it will “go away.” Just be aware that the comments are not taken off the websites, and your patients are reading them.
- Post an angry response. That does not shed a good light on your practice, and may help re-confirm the patient’s opinion.
- Respond to the specifics of the situation. Remember that you need to be HIPAA-compliant!
- Keep the conversation going online.
- Think that you can sue every patient or get the website to take down every negative comment. The overwhelming majority of these types of lawsuits have not been successful, but have only served to further damage the physician’s reputation with the public.
- Make the patient sign a privacy agreement. In general, these have been found to be ineffective or not legal.
- Post a positive comment without detailing any specifics or identifying a patient.
- Example: “We’re sorry you felt that way. Our practice strives for satisfied patients. Your opinions are important to us. Please contact our office so that we may discuss how we can further help you.”
- Use positive responses: i.e., turn the negative comment into an opportunity to have the practice “shine.”
- Be HIPAA-compliant in any post from your practice.
- Members can call the Conventus 24/7 Practice Advice Hotline. We can assist you in crafting an appropriate post.