How To Respond To Online Reviews For A Medical Practice

How to respond to online reviews for medical practices.

Five star reviews have suddenly become the gold standard for identifying quality products, services, and companies online. Medical practices are being held to that same standard, with Google reviews becoming a primary metric that new patients consider when choosing a new doctor.

Managing reviews can be sticky, but there is a way to use reviews to your advantage. In this article, I’ll go through the do’s and don’ts of managing reviews for your medical practice.

Remaining HIPAA Compliant In Online Reviews

HIPAA compliance should be your top concern when responding to any type of online review. In general, any response to a review should be vague and non-confirming of the patient’s status as a patient. 

It is really important that you neither confirm nor deny that someone is a patient at your office. You should also never mention any services rendered, referrals made, or outcomes – even if they are positive outcomes.

5-start reviews are the gold standard for evaluating medical practices and doctors.
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on

How To Respond To Negative Reviews Online

Negative reviews were always hard for me to respond to. The patient was essentially able to write a novel on how awful our office, staff or providers were with seemingly no recourse. Since most online platforms do not allow you to remove any type of reviews, we were stuck with simply posting the best response we could think of. 

My structure for any negative review response would include an introduction showing empathy for the patient’s issue or concern, a statement on our practice’s commitment to quality care, and a closing statement encouraging the patient to reach out privately so we could remedy the issue.

Sample Responses For Negative Reviews

Some of my frequently used responses to negative reviews included:

  • “We are sorry to hear of the pain you have been experiencing. Our approach to pain management always follows a step-up routine that we then personalize to fit the individual needs of each patient. We encourage you to reach out to our office so we can have another consultation scheduled with our provider.”
  • “I am sorry to hear about the waiting time you experienced at our office. While we try to schedule patients according to the amount of time we think the appointment will take, some patients may require additional time to fully address their concern. Scheduling an appointment first thing in the morning or right after lunch can be a good way to ensure you will be taken back on time, please call our office to request those appointment slots.”
  • “I am sorry to hear of your disappointment with our visitor policy. While I understand your desire to have a guest with you at your appointment, we currently do not allow visitors in our office for the health and safety of our staff and providers. We are happy to accommodate your guest in other ways at your next appointment, such as a phone call or facetime. Please call our office and we will get this arranged for you.”

If a review is aggressive or threatening, do not hesitate to state that threatening rhetoric is not allowed at your office. Do not threaten to discharge the patient, just make sure they are aware that language in that manner is not acceptable at your business.

How To Respond To Positive Reviews Online

Positive reviews are wonderful! My heart would always do a little flip every time my office received a 5 star review complimenting my staff and providers. I found responding to 5 star reviews much more satisfying than responding to negative reviews.

As tempting as it is to write an in-depth response to positive reviews, especially if you knew who the patient was, this is not best practice. Keep your responses vague and short. Simply acknowledge the review and thank the patient for taking the time to leave it.

Sample Responses For Positive Reviews

Some great responses to positive reviews include:

  • “Thank you for your positive review! We appreciate it!”
  • “Thank you for your great feedback! Our staff loves what they do and it shows in their work!”
  • “Dr. ____ is great at what he does! We are glad you had a good experience, thank you for your feedback!”

How To Get Google Reviews

Google reviews are the most common way for prospective patients to view reviews on your practice using Google as a search engine. This is the most important review platform that you will want to manage for your medical practice. 

To access Google reviews, you will first need to manage your practice’s Google profile. Check out this article for steps on how to take ownership of a Google profile. Once you have your profile set up, you will get notifications each time a review is left and have the ability to respond to reviews.

Managing Facebook Reviews

Facebook also has its own review platform built into your business’s profile. As much as I dislike social media, I have to strongly recommend you have a social media presence to boost your online visibility. Facebook is the best social media marketing platform for medical practices. 

Reviews left on facebook are visible to the public and your overall 5 star rating is shown as a part of your business profile. You can assign several owners to the business profile on facebook, and any owner will have the ability to respond to Facebook reviews.

social media and google reviews are a primary way for new patients to find a medical practice.
Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on

The Importance Of Online Reviews

Online reviews are one of the primary metrics potential patients are using to determine which medical office or provider they should choose for their care. Managing your online reviews is crucial to your online success.

Online reviews also play an essential role in your overall online presence and SEO. If you are working on growing your practice’s online presence for marketing to new patients, check out our comprehensive guide on SEO for medical practices. We take a deep dive into how to get started with SEO and use it as a part of your overall marketing strategy.

One response to “How To Respond To Online Reviews For A Medical Practice”

  1. […] The easiest and most straightforward free marketing opportunities are online directories. Online directories serve essentially the same purpose that phone books did back in 1980, but are all digitally available and can include more information about a listing such as office photos and patient reviews. […]

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