How to Handle a Negative Online Review of Your Medical Practice

Can one cranky patient deep-six your medical career? Probably not, but an unhappy patient who posts a negative review online can take a bite out of your reputation and may scare away new patients. If you or your practice rack up several negative reviews or get a moderate to low rating on one of the physician rating sites, it could seriously damage your practice.

Most complaints are singular experiences; either the patient or your staff had a bad day. However, website viewers have no way to know that. Many people who visit physician rating sites don’t pay attention to the number of reviews used to develop the rating and they may only read a couple of the patient reviews, if that. What counts is the number of stars next to your name. While that can’t be helped, you can take some proactive steps to establish and manage your online presence:

Check your rating on some of the most popular review sites. Many consumers turn to WebMD for medical information, so start with the rating sites they recommend:, and You’ll be able to see where you stand with patients, and review ratings of other local practitioners in your specialty. You should also search for local ratings as many newspapers and metro magazines publish an annual best doctors feature.

If you find a negative review, post a rebuttal if possible. Don’t be combative or defensive. Apologize for the patient’s poor experience. Note any solutions implemented to address his complaint. Emphasize that you are constantly working to improve the patient experience and appreciate his feedback.

More tips next time

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