Tips for Medical Providers — How to Respond to Online Posts

A medical provider must exercise caution when responding to a patient’s online review to ensure that their response does not violate HIPAA. Understand that a patient review does not authorize the provider to release any patient-specific information in response, even if the patient reveals detailed and specific information in their post. You must also avoid acknowledging that the individual has been your patient.

I recommend limiting administrative rights to your practice’s social media platforms to just a few trusted employees. In anticipation of reviews, I recommend that you proactively script responses to reviews that your practice is most likely to receive for your social media administrator to post.

Best Practices for Responding to Online Reviews:

  • Keep your response simple and brief.
  • Do not acknowledge that the individual was a patient.
  • Do not comment specifically about the services you provided to the patient services.
  • Thank the individual for the feedback (good or bad).
  • When appropriate, focus on practice/facility policy.
  • Suggest taking the conversation offline and to a private channel.
  • Provide your contact information and invite the individual to contact you privately.
  • Do not contact the individual directly by email or phone.
  • You can communicate directly with the individual via the social medium where they posted their review (e.g., direct messaging on Yelp, etc.). That said, without a patient’s explicit permission, you cannot copy positive comments from Yelp or other sites and post them on your site as a testimonial.

Sample Responses:

  • Consider ignoring the review. (I do not generally recommend this – you can always thank the individual for the feedback.)
  • “It is our policy to provide the best care to patients. Thank you.”
  • “Your feedback is extremely valuable to us.”
  • “We aim to provide the highest quality patient care. We love to hear these positive experiences. Thanks for sharing this feedback with us!”
  • “We are sorry about your experience with our organization. We are committed to providing the best patient care experience. Please feel free to contact us at ________________.”

If you would like more information about best practices for responding to online reviews, or if you would like me to review a response or a recent post please email me at orrumberg@woodlamping.com.

 

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    Orly R. Rumberg

    Orly Rumberg's health care law practice provides essential support to health care providers including physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, health systems, and long-term care clients with respect to corporate and regulatory aspects of health care delivery.

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