overcoming negative feedback

Overcoming negative reviews

If you worry about negative online reviews from patients, you’re not alone. One study from the United States found that 9 out of 10 doctors worry about negative online reviews. It has become common for consumers to use rating and review platforms such as Google reviews, Rate My Doctor, RateMDs and social media to express their thoughts and feelings about the products and services they use and the organisations they engage with.

For healthcare providers whose relationships with patients rely heavily on trust, it’s essential to maintain a positive online reputation. Positive reviews can help to attract and retain patients, and negative reviews can quickly damage a provider’s reputation.

Fortunately, patient feedback can be an effective tool for overcoming negative online reviews and improving the reputation of healthcare professionals and organisations. Patient feedback provides valuable insight into the patient experience, highlighting areas where individuals and the organisation can improve. By actively seeking feedback from patients and using it to improve the patient experience, you can address the underlying issues that lead to negative reviews.

Our top tips for using patient feedback to overcome negative online reviews:

Top tips for overcoming negative feedback: 1. Encourage patients to leave feedback 2. Respond to negative feedback 3. Use feedback to improve 4. Highlight positive feedback

Encourage patients to leave feedback

One of the best ways to avoid negative reviews is to provide patients with the opportunity to voice their concerns before they even leave your office. Encourage them to leave feedback – positive and negative – immediately after their visit. This can be done through regular follow-up emails and text messages, but an even better solution is to using your own real-time feedback tool, such as Active Insights by CFEP Surveys. By encouraging patients to leave feedback, you can get a better understanding of patient perspectives and identify areas for improvement.

Respond to negative feedback

It’s important to respond to negative reviews and other feedback in a professional and empathetic manner. Not all feedback is given on the spot, sometimes feedback is anonymous and sometimes feedback can be about issues beyond your control. Acknowledge the patient’s concerns and offer a solution to address the issue if you can. This can help to show potential patients that you care about patient experience and are committed to improving your service. Sometimes the feedback provided will feed into a larger issue which should be managed through your Quality Improvement (QI) plan.

Use feedback to improve

Patient feedback is extremely valuable. Once information is collected, you can use these patient insights to make improvements to the patient experience. This could involve changes to the booking process, the waiting area or the level of care provided. Start by identifying trends or repeating patient concerns. Develop improvement initiatives as part of your QI plan to manage and focus your improvement journey. By actively addressing feedback, you can demonstrate a commitment to providing high-quality care – and turn negative experiences into positive ones.

Highlight positive feedback

When responding to negative reviews, it’s also important to highlight positive feedback that you and your organisation have received. This can help to balance out any negative reviews and show potential patients that your practice has a history of providing high-quality care. As this article from The Conversation explains,  Soon Australian doctors will be allowed to advertise with patient testimonials.

Patient feedback can be a valuable tool for improving your online reputation and help you overcome negative reviews. By actively seeking and responding to negative feedback, using that feedback to improve your services and highlighting positive patient experiences, you can demonstrate a commitment to providing the kind of high-quality care that ensures you retain existing patients and attract new ones.

You may also like to read this RACGP Australian Family Physician article on Patients’ use of social media: e-rating of doctors.

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