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Handling Negative Patient Reviews

Websites like Yelp, Google+ Local, and Angie’s List allow users to review and tell their experience they’ve had with a business establishment regardless of it being negative or positive.  As a reviewer you can discuss your experience at the doctor’s office, how that cup of Joe at the local coffee shop was, or your experience at the local baseball field.  But what happens when a bad experience turns into a bad review?  According to Forrester Research those negative reviews can have a significant downside when it comes to consumer behavior.

Recently a Minnesota based doctor decided to take a stand against a reviewer that made some rather harsh comments.  Dr. David McKee of Duluth decided to sue the negative reviewer and the case has made its way to the Minnesota Supreme Court.  McKee’s lawyer stated that the physician’s reputation is on the line and he does not want it tainted because of damaging reviews.  While this makes complete sense, does this issue warrant escalation to an individual state Supreme Court?

Many of the issues stemming from the negative review of Dr. McKee’s practice seem to be focused around a handful of statements the reviewer left including a named nurse that never existed at the practice.  The lawsuit is set to be ruled upon in the upcoming months.

This isn’t the first time legal action has been taken against a patient’s negative review.   A dentist in a suburb of Portland, OR took a now former patient to court regarding a negative review left on Yelp and several other sites.  The Oregon dentist was seeking damages in the amount of $300,000 for lost profits, emotional distress and damages to his reputation.  While this suit did not make its way to the Oregon Supreme Court, the lawsuit was recently thrown out of court as the judge sited the negative reviews as freedom of speech.

As the world changes in a way that online reputations become more and more important in the professional world, keeping a positive online reputation becomes more and more imperative.  Here at MDWebPro we offer a free online review monitoring service that monitors over 20 high traffic review sites.  The review monitoring tool is free and extremely easy to set up for you and your practice.

You can take our free monitoring tool for a test run and stay on top of what your patients and clients are saying about you and your practice.  While a negative review doesn’t mean the end of the world for you and your practice, it does affect how your practice is perceived in the public’s eye.

Do you have any additional thoughts on of patient reviews should be handled? Did we miss something? Leave a comment below, send us a message on Twitter @MDWebPro, let us know on Facebook, or on Google +.  We’d love to hear from you!




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Stuart Wainstock is a former educator who has taught overseas and in the United States. Stuart began blogging while living overseas as a means to communicate with family and friends back home. He is a contributing author to the MDWebPro blog. Stuart is an avid follower of technology, and their constantly changing trends. He also enjoys discovering new and excited music, as well as photography. You can follow Stuart on Twitter @stuartwainstock,@MDWebPro and Google+

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