Doctors Reply Poorly Too

We’re back with another misadventure in “How NOT to respond to a negative review”. This time, a doctor is faced with a seriously frustrated patient and throws a fit. 

Here’s why the doctor’s response is no bueno:

The doctor doesn’t seem to know about HIPAA: The reviewer remains anonymous perhaps as a way to act rude and not be held accountable or face any retribution. It’s not fair. But any medical professional should be well versed with the confidentiality and privacy laws surrounding patient medical information (in the US it’s known as HIPAA). Although the reviewer is the one who willingly discloses some details of his or her medical information. the doctor should have acted in the patient’s best interest and attached contact information to immediately take the conversation offline rather than insult back (“childish and abhorrent”) and maybe prod the patient to reveal more information.

There’s no room for a conversation: Even though the reviewer comes off as intense, they appear to bring up some legitimate frustrations. They certainly aren’t being a “cyber bully” as the doctor puts it. Medical facilities, no matter the size or scope of practice, are often very complex and may have strict policies that can be frustrating but necessary to keep things organized. Following treatment plans can also seem needlessly tedious if left unexplained as well. The doctor closes the door on an opportunity to clearly explain the policies and treatment plan that may have been the source of frustration in the first place, both by responding unprofessionally and by failing to post contact information to further the discussion offline.

The doctor goes on an ego trip: While it’s certainly tough to hear criticism, it inevitably happens to the best in the business. Instead of responding professionally, this doctor chooses defensive and demeaning language to try to belittle the reviewer. The finishing line is a dead giveaway that this doctor is simply carrying an inflated head on his/her shoulders. In situations like these, it’s always best to stay humble, make an apology, and keep it professional.

Though the reviewer makes churlish remarks, the doctor’s poor response seems to validate the reviewer’s accusations. If this doctor had responded politely and offered to address the frustrations privately, it’s possible the reviewer would have edited or taken down this review or at least let potential patients see the doctor is in fact professional.

For more in this series of “How NOT to reply to a negative review”, check out: