Unhappy at receiving negative reviews from patients, some doctors have been asking their patients to sign agreements waiving their right to post any reviews. The subject was covered by a recent story by Jacqui Cheng on Ars Technica. The doctors apparently argue that the reviews are nothing more than tabloid journalism and that a doctor’s practice could be damaged by such criticism. About 2000 doctors have signed on with a monitoring company called Medical Justice that provides the agreements to doctors and then attempts to enforce these agreements by searching online for violations.
Doctors are in the same position as lawyers, counselors, and other professionals who have a duty to protect patient or client information. Certainly they cannot respond to a review with information that would disclose a patient’s or client’s identity or provide information about a specific case. However, it’s not normally necessary for them to do so. If an occasional patient is disappointed with the standard of care received by a physician and posts a negative review, the physician’s best response is to post a reply asking the patient to contact his or her office to discuss the matter in order to reach an amicable solution to the problem. Most good doctors and lawyers would want to know if a client were dissatisfied and would want to take action to remedy the situation. Good doctors and other professionals will get mostly good reviews and an occasional poor one with a sincere response will enhance the credibility of the good reviews.
However, there are doctors with no people skills or poor medical skills and lawyers who don’t return client phone calls or are incompetent. For those professionals, a series of poor client reviews is an excellent way to warn the public to seek services elsewhere.
Do you provide professional services? If you need help in obtaining good customer reviews, please call me at 979-531-8300 or use the Contact form to send me an email.
- contested reputations (orgtheory.wordpress.com)
- Your Money: Why the Web Lacks Authoritative Reviews of Doctors (nytimes.com)
- Hospital and Doctor Compare: Patient Beware (josephineensign.wordpress.com)
- Doctors feel helpless over patients’ online slams (philly.com)