Trashed on the Internet: What Should You Do?

Gail Garfinkel Weiss, BBA, MSW

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January 04, 2010

In This Article

View It as a Learning Experience

Should physicians encourage patients to post on ratings Websites as a countermove to negative posts? Most experts answer "Yes, but try not to be too blatant about it."

According to RateMD's John Swapceinski, "We've advised physicians to have patients rate from their home computers because our automated system generally deletes ratings coming in from a doctor's office. This is because we don't think that patients who rate from their physician's office are going to be as free with their comments as they would if they were rating from home. We've had several doctors try to increase their scores by encouraging patients to submit multiple ratings."

Mike Schoppmann sees this approach as a last resort. He points out, "Getting satisfied patients to post favorable comments can be tricky, because if doctors pressure their patients to post or are too aggressive in their requests, that can be an issue. I love it when patients do it on their own; it worries me when the practice tries to orchestrate it."

Perhaps the best tactic is to watch out for posts that cross the line, while at the same time taking constructive posts to heart. "Say a rating shows that there are some issues with your reception desk," says HealthGrades' Scott Shapiro. "That's information a physician might find valuable and can act on.

"There's no denying that millions of patients are looking for doctors online today. So you can either embrace the reality and find a way to benefit from it, or you can try to opt out of what has become a standard way for patients to try to find doctors."

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