What do the reviews look like when you look up yourself or your practice online? According to a survey, reviews are important to 74% of patients when choosing a healthcare provider.
Everyone has been there–an upset patient (or a few) leaves a poor review that affects your average rating. You’re left wondering what to do. Should you respond? And how do you respond? And what about positive reviews?
Plus, HIPAA compliance still applies to patient testimonials.
Healthcare reputation management can be a delicate balancing act online, but it’s vital for modern providers. Today, Forge Apollo’s SEO experts offer our advice on handling online reviews to protect your reputation.
Why Respond to Reviews?
Positive or negative, providers need to reply to every review.
Healthcare is a deeply personal service. Patients want providers who listen to their concerns and make them feel heard. When debating between providers, responses to online reviews are solid social proof that a provider listens to their patients.
Responding to reviews allows you to:
- Display that you care about patient experience
- Establish the values of your practice
- Build trust with potential patients
- Foster patient loyalty
- Get SEO benefits
HIPAA Compliance in Review Responses
Providers should remember HIPAA compliance when responding to reviews. Here are some tips to help you stay compliant while responding to reviews:
- Even if a reviewer identifies themselves as a patient, you can not indicate they are a patient.
- Even if a reviewer reveals health information in the review, you can not talk about their health information.
- In responses, don’t use the reviewer’s name. Instead, keep it general.
- Try to move the conversation offline to a secure medium.
- Craft a series of response templates to get approved by your legal department.
The examples below are based on best practices and are not legal advice for HIPAA compliance.
How to Respond to Positive Reviews
Positive review responses are easy. Acknowledge that you appreciate feedback and value positive experiences, but don’t confirm that this reviewer had an experience at your practice.
Avoid phrases like “Thank you, Bob!” and “We’re glad you enjoyed your visit.” Instead, use more general responses like the following.
Positive Review Response Examples
- We love to hear positive feedback!
- We always appreciate positive feedback in our mission to provide patients with great experiences.
- We strive to provide positive experiences for patients and appreciate feedback!
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
Staying compliant with HIPAA regulations without sounding cold or uncaring is challenging when responding to negative healthcare reviews.
Instead of apologizing or directly responding to the specifics of their experience, craft a response that:
- Shares your practice’s values
- Shows that you appreciate feedback
- Is honest about privacy regulations
- Shares a person that the reviewer can contact directly to follow up
Negative Review Response Examples
Responding to a review about a bad appointment experience:
We strive to provide a positive patient experience and value feedback as a way to improve our operations. Because of privacy regulations, we can’t discuss specifics in this forum. Please contact our Office Manager at [phone number] to discuss any questions or concerns.
Responding to a review about a long wait time:
We work to see our patients as quickly as possible. However, sometimes emergencies delay our schedule. We appreciate feedback as we aim to improve our processes. Due to privacy regulations, we can’t discuss the specifics of your comments. You can reach our Office Manager at [phone number] if you have further comments or questions.
Responding to a review about unclear instructions or treatment plans:
Clear communication is our primary goal with patients. To achieve that, we provide documented instructions and clear communication channels for follow-up questions. We can’t discuss the specifics of your comments here due to privacy regulations, but you can reach us at [phone number] if you have further questions or concerns.
How to Get Patients to Leave Reviews
The best way to get more positive reviews is to encourage happy patients to leave them. Healthcare reputation management software exists that helps you automatically request feedback from patients via text message and email.
Many of these software options include a feature that publishes positive feedback to live review sites but sends negative feedback directly to you for private handling.
Turn to Forge Apollo for Healthcare Reputation Management
Healthcare reputation management may seem overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Luckily, Forge Apollo’s team of web development and SEO experts are here to help. Contact us today to discuss your practice’s needs and the solutions we offer.