An image depicting a bad review.
superb, prompt help, clearly with great insight in how to deal with patients who are unhappy and to put one's best foot forward with Medical Board complaints
earlens video Moretz
earlens video Moretz
21:17 20 Jun 24
Dr Segal is the best partner to assist you when dealing with challenging patient issues. Being both a physician and a lawyer gives him the compassion and unique understanding of the situation. He is a great listener, and with his wealth of experience formulates options to help bring the issues to resolution. He will work tirelessly for you, because he really cares.
Brian Maloney
Brian Maloney
17:46 13 May 24
We are a group of physicians that have been working with the Medical Justice eMerit team for the past 9 years. They have helped us obtain many more reviews from our patients by streamlining the process and making it much more convenient for our patients. They have also helped us in the process of flagging and getting fictitious reviews removed. Throughout our experience with them, they have been highly effective, honest, timely, talented and professional. If you are looking for a service to help manage your reviews, we highly recommend them.
Elliott23232323
Elliott23232323
14:44 17 Jan 24
The competence and responsiveness of the Medical Justice / eMerit team is remarkable. We have been super impressed with Robin and Josh, and their entire team. We ran a "test" with them and we've been more than happy to give them more business. They are now our go-to group. Thanks again, Team Medical Justice!
Christopher Scully
Christopher Scully
13:54 15 Dec 23
I have been a client for many years and have appreciated Medical Justice's expertise and numerous perks including internet defamation prevention. The team was readily responsive to my needs and helped to remove an unwarranted negative online post. It's difficult enough to practice medicine, much less maintain one's professional online reputation. I highly recommend Medical Justice for any medical professional.
Sohail Delfani, MD
Sohail Delfani, MD
17:05 25 Oct 23
Very enjoyable experience
Brittan Willimon
Brittan Willimon
21:13 09 Jan 23
Totally worth it! I had an issue with a very large insurance company threatening to remove me from their network. Contacted Medical Justice right away. Within lass then a week, Dr. Segal had crafted a magnificent 60-page appeal! Insurance company kept me in network, which saved me a lot of hassle and headache. Worth every penny!
Barbara Wood
Barbara Wood
18:01 13 Dec 22
I have used emerit for 10 years and have been extremely pleased with their service. highly recommend to all medical professionals especially plastic surgeons. very responsive CEO and staff. thanks!!!
Neil Zemmel
Neil Zemmel
13:56 13 Apr 22
When hiring someone professionally fortheir advice, the most important aspectfor me is their time that they give me todiscuss what I need to get the job done.Dr. Segal was always available whenever Ineeded to speak. He is extremelyknowledgeable, patient and kind. He hasthe unique perspective of the legalprofession from a doctors point of view.This is priceless in terms of understandinga Doctor's concerns.
Endodontic Group
Endodontic Group
00:38 31 Jan 22
I would say Medical-Dental Justice is a Level I Trauma Center for the legal matters of health practitioners. Your matters are handled STAT and in a professional and assuring manner. In a legal sense, they set you up with tools for preventive care, assist when there is an injury and handle the legal traumas. Rest assured that the legal injury will be minimized or they will rehab the situation a bring you back to legal health. No physician or dentist should be without this service...period.
Edward Kirsh
Edward Kirsh
21:17 30 Jan 22
I highly recommend Dr. Segal for all doctors who would like to have a bullet proof practice and avoid unnecessary litigation and threat by patients. He is always available and punctuate with time. We have a very busy practice in northern California and Dr. Segal has been a unbelievable asset and success to run it smoothly. You won't regret his service.
Sani Aesthetics, M.D.
Sani Aesthetics, M.D.
01:17 28 Jan 22
Medical Justice is always responsive and gets to solutions. We especially appreciate Josh P and his relentless drive to help us satisfy our customers. Their knowledge of the digital landscape brings us closer to prospective patients.
What's NEXT
What's NEXT
15:06 16 Nov 21
Jeff and his colleague Josh were both very prompt and knowledgeable in helping me resolve an issue with Instagram. Recommended to any healthcare provider needing help online with social media.
Spencer Hawkins
Spencer Hawkins
16:37 12 Sep 21
Dr. Jeffrey Segal and Medical Justice are amazing! They helped me deal with a frivolous and false board complaint to my license quickly and professionally. I was impressed with the amount of attention and copious amounts of time they committed to resolving my case. Dr. Segal also helped greatly in advising me how to protect my practice and avoid similar issues moving forward. I'm fortunate to have found their services! While I hope to not have to deal with more frivolous complaints in the future, I feel better knowing that Dr Segal and Medical Justice are there to help me navigate through what may come.
Lisa Wagner
Lisa Wagner
18:06 16 Aug 21
Dr. Jeff Segal is great at what he does! As a physician and lawyer he understands clearly the difficulty of practicing in this day and age. Having both backgrounds is his biggest strength in the medico-legal arena. He gives sound logical advice and is very responsive. I am glad that I trusted him with my issue which he solved by doing background research into the issue from other specialists. He approached the problem like a physician in a very methodical and detail -oriented way. I'm so happy to have found him! I highly recommend!!!
Nicole Basa MD
Nicole Basa MD
02:14 10 Aug 21
Medical Justice is the GO TOO for any medical provider.
Curt Litton
Curt Litton
00:35 29 Jul 21
Medical Justice exceeded my expectations on delivery of professional services. Top notch professionals, only the Best, and advisors on every medico-legal area of health care, especially Dentistry, with the Great, Vince Monticello, DDS, MBA, JD, on-board. By far a great investment. I enjoy doing business with Jeff and his Outstanding Team!
Rob Eye
Rob Eye
16:16 27 Jul 21
I’ve now been a subscriber and client of medical justice for over a year. Dr. and attorney Jeff Segal has been helpful on several occasions. He has guided me through both potential patient issues as well as recent HR pandemic concerns. He along with the Medical Justice team have given me reassuring legal advice that allows me to proceed with confidence through these difficult times. This is one of my best investments in business and personally.
Walter Tom
Walter Tom
16:06 25 Jul 21
I cannot give enough thanks for Medical Justice’s existence! It is a company that fills such a highly needed niche’ in medicine – especially aesthetic medicine. And it was founded and continues to be led by a visionary, Dr. Jeff Segal. I admire his drive and envy his intelligence. He first completes a rigorous Neurosurgery Residency. That by itself deserves tremendous kudos from anyone in the medical universe. Yet, he eventually goes back to obtain his JD. Yet what he has done in blending those two degrees into an amazing entity, Medical Justice, is nothing short of phenomenal.I was an early adopter of Medical Justice, and all that it provided for me as a surgeon and a business owner, as I am in my 12th year (this year being 2021) of being a member of Medical Justice. Throughout those twelve years, I have leaned on their team in helping maintain a fair and hard-earned online reputation when unfairly attacked. Also, Dr. Segal has always been personally involved with assisting me in resolving conflicts with difficult and unreasonable patients. He has always been only a phone call away, and prompt with his response.What I have especially appreciated is in my discussions resolving these occasional issues with patients over many years, Jeff seems to possess a third therapist certification as a compassionate, empathetic peer that understands my hurt and frustration. He has a way through the phone to put his arm around me, making me feel he sympathizes with my hurt and frustration, and together we will get through whatever issue, and the sun will rise in the morning. He then produces what he promises, as he has threaded the needle to resolution more than once for me. He feels like the big brother I never had that is there for you with honest, realistic guidance to amicable conclusions, when called upon.I just hope I retire before him. I can’t image practicing my specialty without someone like him, as well as his amazing team that he has gathered, that has and continues to have my back. - Dr. Burke Robinson, Robinson Facial Plastic Surgery
Burke Robinson
Burke Robinson
19:17 14 Jul 21
I cannot recommend a more professional or effective and caring team to help in legal matters which are delicate and require a high level of care. Dr. Segal is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful, and efficient attorneys that I have had that pleasure of working with. He was always available and attentive and demonstrated genuine concern and compassion towards making sure that all matters were handled with the highest level of efficacy. I highly recommend Dr. Segal and his team to any physician or practice, they will not disappoint!
Kriti Mohan
Kriti Mohan
02:15 15 Mar 21
Dr. Segal is kind, professional, and a complete genius! I am so glad to have found him! I would recommend him hands down for anyone needing legal assistance!
Samantha Britt
Samantha Britt
19:57 28 Jan 21
I am an oculofacial plastic surgeon who has been a member of Medical Justice for well over 10 years. It is a pleasure for me to be able to recommend their services to others.We have utilized the Medical Justice consent forms for operative patients throughout this time. It gives me peace of mind to know that any expert witnesses who may be called to give testimony against me are from my specialty. It also gives notice to any potential plaintiff firms that I have not only my malpractice carrier but also Medical Justice working for me should any claims arise, and puts them on notice that any frivolous claims can be in turn be litigated by me against them and the plaintiff.Does this translate to less claims or better results if claims are brought? I can only say that in 30 years of practice I have had a handful of patients request records be sent to plaintiff attorneys, and none have become suits.I can and have offered my highest recommendation for this firm and their services. Their services and client support are outstanding, and are especially beneficial when that letter for your records comes in. To have them on your side is a comfort we can all use.
Alan Brackup
Alan Brackup
15:01 07 Dec 20
The Medical Justice team have a wealth of knowledge and experience in this space. I highly recommend them to medical professionals and practices of any size. They take a highly responsive, professional, practical and no nonsense approach which has proven to be highly effective.
GenXovite Pro
GenXovite Pro
15:42 23 Nov 20
As a physician, reputation is everything. This is why I’ve trusted Emerit for years! Their unmatched ability to handle my clinic’s online reputation has helped us earn more credibility therefor increasing our patient base. They also create custom surveys for patients along with weekly reports so we can provide better treatment. These little things give us the ability to address certain areas of the practice and fix them immediately. I would highly recommend that healthcare providers to at least consider Emerit when considering an online reputation partner. I know I’m glad we did … Robert Odell, MD, PhD, Neuropathy & Pain Centers of Las Vegas
Robert Odell
Robert Odell
17:06 13 Nov 20
I recommend Medical Justice and its founder Dr. Jeff Segal with great enthusiasm. As medicine evolves the private practitioner has become increasingly more isolated. I signed up with Medical Justice so that I would have a sound legal back up for clinical business decision making. My private consultation with Dr. Siegel, neurosurgeon and attorney was insightful. His team, medical justice has already supplied us with appropriate patient forms to help me to continue practicing medicine with confidence. They have already initiated our web presence reviewing with recommendations.Dr. Segal was also readily available for a specific case consultation, and I appreciate his counsel and direction. The peace of mind and collegiality is well worth the investment in Medical Justice.
Walter Tom (Dr Walter Tom)
Walter Tom (Dr Walter Tom)
18:56 05 Nov 20
Have had the help from Medical Justice for about a year now. They are very responsive and always available to answer questions and help with any practice issues I may have. The most satisfying aspect of their assistance is in obtaining and posting patient reviews on various sites. A big help in that
Jonathan Lebowitz
Jonathan Lebowitz
00:50 03 Nov 20
In this era of digital feedback and punishment through fraudulent reviews. I wouldn't leave home without them!!
David Pincus
David Pincus
15:15 02 Nov 20
After a complete nightmare of a frivolous suit in 2002, aided and abetted by the sheer avarice of a competing surgeon right across the street (stunningly, a $2.1 million award over a pea-sized suture granuloma; when it went to the state medical board they dismissed the case as “groundless”), I was advised to join Medical Justice.What a wonderful team! Everyone there has been immediately available for any questions or concerns that have come up over the years. Just having Medical Justice’s cover letter stating that one’s a member will be enough to stop a frivolous threat dead in its tracks — and that alone makes the eminently reasonable annual fee worthwhile many times over.Knowing that Medical Justice “has my back”, and knowing that because of these fabulous people, the worst and most profoundly mind-bending experience of my life would never be allowed to happen again has given me the peace of mind to continue and even enjoy and relish my career over these many years.I can’t say enough about Dr. Jeff Segal, Mike Odden, Wendy Cates and the rest of this amazing team! Joining Medical Justice absolutely will be one of the best decisions of your career. How about 10 stars!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Holly Barbour
Holly Barbour
18:39 05 Mar 20
We have been MedicalJustice members for over nine years, and this is a service that has been priceless for us, and our facial plastic surgical practice. Ninety percent of our new patients cite the Internet as their source of referral, so for us, our internet reputation is priceless. Plus my kids see what's on the internet about our practice. MedicalJustice scours the internet for any online posts about your practice, good and bad. Even if you are able to do things exceedingly well, it is unlikely that you will be able to deliver impeccable care with exemplary bedside manner 100% of the time, have the perfect staff, and count zero competitors. And thus, unfortunately, being defamed on the Internet is an occupational hazard.I recommend MedicalJustice without reservation to any medical practice, since nearly all patients will google you before calling for an appointment. Everyone at MedicalJustrice from our advisor Shannon, to the CEO, Dr Jeff Segal, is knowledgeable, friendly, and genuinely glad to help physician practices like ours. I am grateful for all they have done to help our "mom and pop shop" thrive, and navigate unchartered waters on the internet. MedicalJustice has been outstanding for our practice in these situations :1)Reputation management. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery recommended MedicalJustice to all members in 2009, and after we got on-board, we were surprised to see more than a few negative internet reviews and comments about our practice. Frankly, I do not have the time nor desire to actively surveil the internet about our practice, but someone NEEDS to. If you don't read it, someone googling your practice will.2) Dealing with negative reviews in a safe and HiPAA compliant fashion. Some internet "specialists" recommend ignoring bad reviews, but for us, that philosophy is not cool. 12% of patients who request rhinoplasty have BDD, and as of August2018, there is no reliable method for ruling this out preoperatively. The small minority of unhappy postoperative patients may post on multiple sites, and have the longest and most painful words. MedicalJustice has helped us A LOT in this arena.3) Dealing with internet defamation.4) How to manage the disgruntled patient, and more importantly, the "difficult" scenario where you don't know what to do, and it's not malpractice.5) How to manage patients threatening to harm themselves or others.6) How to manage patients demanding a refund.7) Advice with patients threatening to sue.8) Advice with copyright infringement.9) Obtaining positive reviews from our patients with eMerit.If any physicians wish to reach out to us for any questions, it would be our pleasure. Thank you. Dr Joseph
Eric M. Joseph, M.D.
Eric M. Joseph, M.D.
19:17 09 Mar 19
Great doctor.My neck pain is gone. The doctor explained everything in detail. He was patient and respectful.
Sushil Basra
Sushil Basra
01:57 31 Jan 19
No medical professional should be without this service! I have been a long time member and will never give up my membership. I have never had such clear and concise solutions to common issues, education regarding what I need to do and how to be best prepared for common issues that arise. Whenever I have had a question, I get immediate responses that are clear, concise and of great value! Honestly - the first time you run into a difficult situation is not the time to realize you SHOULD HAVE had this service. You need to be aware, and appropriate- this service is absolutely the best resource you could want for you to meet your obligations, as well as be prepared for common issues. Not only has Dr Segal experienced both sides of many of these issues- he is brilliant, and condenses issues down - allowing you options that allow for the smoothest possible outcome for all involved. I honestly could not recommend it more!CR MD
Celia R
Celia R
18:35 12 Nov 18
A must-have for every physician. Their expertise in medical malpractice defense, and internet reputation management, is unparalleled.
Armond Levy
Armond Levy
01:27 07 Oct 18
HIPAA is complicated and always changing. That is why I recommend Medical Justice to all my clients. They are knowledgeable and trustworthy.
Jen Longtin
Jen Longtin
22:58 29 Sep 18
Impeccable service and reputation from the CEO on down. Helped me grow my practice by vastly improving the quality of my online presence. In addition, I am now insulated from the occasional anonymous and damaging online reviews. I see many additional new patients who have “googled” me and have read my numerous outstanding reviews. In addition they have helped protect me from frivolous law suits while readily providing expert legal advice. In this day and age, in my opinion, every physician needs Medical Justice standing behind them. Thank you, Medical Justice!
David K
David K
05:57 16 Sep 18
I have partnered with their organization while working in two separate companies and they have continued to provide outstanding support, superior service and communication and remain ever available. I would not practice medicine without their support.
Christina A
Christina A
15:16 13 Sep 18
We have been working with Medical Justice and Emerit for years. I would highly recommend them. They have been very responsive to all of our needs in our practice. They have guided us on how to get our patients to share their experiences online Dr. Segal has given us honest advice over the years and he has never steered us wrong. Highly, highly recommend Medical Justice!
Angela Parker
Angela Parker
20:25 12 Sep 18
Medical Justice is the real deal. They are professional, knowledgeable, timely, and their rates are beyond reasonable. Put all of that together and they have become an invaluable asset to our practice.
Jackie Foster
Jackie Foster
17:38 06 Sep 18
Our surgical practice joined Medical Justice and eMerit many years ago and it has been an invaluable resource and support. Jeff Segal, the founder, is a surgeon and an attorney who understands the challenges that physicians face today. They have been our advisors, mentors and dispensers of wisdom for any and every issue that we presented to them as well as in growing our practice. I can't imagine running our practice without them all of these years.
Bonnie Pontell
Bonnie Pontell
14:48 06 Sep 18
EXTREMELY beneficial. The ratings have done more for my Google search rankings than my website. Worth every penny. It is 2018--get on board with your online presence!
Scott Phillips
Scott Phillips
14:13 06 Sep 18
I have been a client of Medical Justice for many years. They provide a fantastic opportunity for Healthcare providers to defend against frivolous claims and to control their reviews using the eMerit platform.The service and the reviews have been extremely valuable to my practice, my social media presence and ratings as well as protection against some false claims over the years.They are always available, responsive and timely in their assistance. Dr. Segal offers a wealth of resources, insight and legal advice due to his vast experience in this venue.I highly recommend this service for anyone with a medical or dental practice.
Semira Bayati
Semira Bayati
16:27 05 Sep 18
Dental Justice has helped us manage challenging patients who are impossible to please. Let them show you that there is a better way than being frustrated.
Mitchel Friedman
Mitchel Friedman
14:53 04 Sep 18
Worked with Dr. Jeff Segal and his team for many years, I absolutely trust them when it comes to protecting our practice and team. I give my highest recommendation and I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful approach as leaders in the industry ( :
Rich Castellano
Rich Castellano
03:40 04 Sep 18
I have been a member since its' inception and can recommend the company without any reservations whatsoever. I benefited from their online review services, their involvent in preventing a frivilous malpractice threat, and their pro-active legal seminars. Thank you Dr. Segal for all your efforts.
Michael Prater
Michael Prater
21:55 02 Sep 18
It only took one reading for me to become a big fan of Leonard Berlin's.Who was Leonard Berlin?He's the radiologist who countersued a plaintiff who tried to make a fast buck by frivolously suing him. When I finally met him, I told him that I'd been following what he was doing.Berlin was the first MD I knew who fought back. When I read about Medical Justice, it was clear to me that in case I got sued frivolously, I, too, would be able to counterpunch.Raised by a pair of criminal lawyers in New Orleans (yes, really), I pretty much had a (legalistic) chip on my shoulder from childhood. Medical Justice welded it there. Instead of being a 98-pound weakling in the face of a pseudo-legal assault, it made me a Charles Atlas kinda guy.No fear after joining up. I was surprised at how reasonable the rates are.
Joseph Horton
Joseph Horton
19:00 02 Sep 18
I have used Dental Justice for the past several years and have always been happy with their service. They are professional and timely. Dr Segal has been great with his knowledge, advice, services and timely responses. I would highly recommend them to anyone in the dental or medical profession.
Shane Claiborne
Shane Claiborne
14:28 31 Aug 18
I have been using E Merit and Medical Justice’s services for the last nine years. I have found their helpful feedback to be of tremendous value to me and to my practice. I am extremely grateful to Jeff Segal and his entire team for their thoughtful and professional help. You will not be sorry if you give them a chance. I don’t know anyone who has not found them immensely helpful or who has stop using them once they have engaged their services.
Joseph Stern
Joseph Stern
01:43 30 Aug 18
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First, a brief but necessary introduction: 

Negative patient reviews are a fact of life. You can’t avoid them, and you shouldn’t ignore them. Instead, deal with them by leveraging the techniques you’ve honed as a physician – diagnose the problem, synthesize a cure, and administer treatment. At Medical Justice, we’ve helped our clients respond to thousands of negative patient reviews. Today, we are sharing the essentials ingredients with the public – addressing reviews from anonymous patients slamming doctors online.

If you are preparing a response to a negative patient review, schedule a free consultation with our Founder and CEO, Jeff Segal, MD, JD. We offer complimentary consultations specific to patient reviews. We’ll help you defend your practice’s reputation and keep you from stepping on one of the dozens of regulatory landmines that catch doctors and practice managers off-guard. Use the form below to schedule your free consultation. 

Our hope is that physicians will exit this page having learned how to respond to negative patient reviews in a way that is effective, concise, respectful of their limited time, and HIPAA compliant. We’ll achieve this end by providing readers with several guidelines and real-life examples. Additional resources are available for download within the article. 

Now that you know the agenda – let’s start by reviewing the essentials…

How to Respond to Negative Patient Reviews: The 5 Golden Rules to Follow

Responding to negative patient reviews is a time-consuming process. There are also regulatory landmines doctors must avoid. Some are obvious: Never reveal information about a patient’s treatment without their written authorization. Never identify the author of a review as your patient. Never post billing information online. Others are not as obvious.  

When writing a response to a negative patient review, you must remember…

1. A model response shows the practice is reasonable and isn’t in a debate.

2. A model response educates the public.

3. A model response addresses the concerns raised in the review.

4. A model response takes the conversation offline.

5. A model response does not address the author directly.

Write these rules on a piece of paper and share them with your staff. The employee responsible for finding and responding to negative patient reviews should commit these to memory.

The next part of this lesson involves carefully dissecting several real-life examples; examples of negative reviews and examples of model responses. Consider how the examples incorporate all five of the principles outlined above. We’ve prepared a total of four examples, organized into sets of two.  

The first set teaches physicians how to respond to negative reviews that result from medical complications. The second set provides instruction on how to respond to negative reviews that result from unexpected costs.

Disclaimer: All examples featured in this piece were collected and posted online by our online reputation management platform, eMerit. The model responses were written by our account managers in collaboration with our clients.  We should mention most of the feedback our clients collect is positive. However, we have never filtered reviews. We believe the practice of filtering patient reviews is deceptive. Professional licensing boards regulate advertising and marketing. To such boards, filtering reviews can be perceived as false and deceptive advertising. Further, Google follows this guiding principle in its new E.A.T rules. If you are unfamiliar with E.A.T., we suggest reading this article published by SterlingSky. The penalties can be harsh. You’ve been warned. 

That said – let’s dive in…

So – How Do You Respond to a Negative Patient Review that Resulted from a Medical Complication?

Most medical/surgical procedures are completed without issue. The patient is satisfied with the results and renders payment in a timely fashion. The patient moves on, and so does the doctor. Other times the patient exits the practice feeling dissatisfied either because of objective or subjective concerns. An objective concern is a complication, expected or unexpected. A subjective concern is a mismanaged expectation.  This may spark exchanges like the example depicted below…

An image depicting a response to a bad review.

Most medical/surgical procedures are completed without issue. The patient is satisfied with the results and renders payment in a timely fashion. The patient moves on, and so does the doctor. Other times the patient exits the practice feeling dissatisfied either because of objective or subjective concerns. An objective concern is a complication, expected or unexpected. A subjective concern is a mismanaged expectation.  This may spark exchanges like the example depicted below…

“While we are sympathetic toward patients who do not see their desired results, we must emphasize that Dr. [BLANK] is board certified through the American Board of Plastic Surgery for plastic and reconstructive surgery in [BLANK], [BLANK]. We hope that readers understand that unfounded allegations like in the above review serve only to start harmful rumors.”

The practice has taken a defensive stance, but it is not an emotional one. They are simply stating facts. The practice acknowledges the patient’s dissatisfaction without divulging unnecessary information. They are content to keep “their side of the story” to themselves.  

At a glance, this sounds like a terrible tactic. There are, after all, two sides to every story. Sharing your side of the story may offer the public insight into the clinical aspects of your care. Your side of the story may vindicate you – if not in the eyes of patients, perhaps in the eyes of your fellow physicians.  

The temptation to tell all is strong. Still – don’t do this. You’ll get burned. 

Imagine a situation where a patient and a doctor are arguing. For the physician to tell his side of the story, what must he do? He must reveal details about the patient’s care. This is a potential HIPAA violation. 

Therefore – a physician should never attempt to tell “his side of the story” when responding to an online review unless the patient has provided the physician with expressed written consent. Unless his audience is clairvoyant, the surgeon can’t share his thoughts without creating a public record of the patient’s care. Irritating? Absolutely. Can you still demonstrate your clinical expertise to the public? Absolutely. But there’s an optimal way to do it. We’ll explain how – let’s return to the above example.  

When the patient calls into question the physician’s qualifications, the practice refutes the claim, as we saw above. But then they take an extra step…

“Additionally, his well-honed skills have earned him much recognition, such as being voted one of ‘America’s Top Surgeons’ in 2014 and 2015 by the Consumers Research Council of America.”

Perhaps this is more information than is necessary to refute the patient, but that’s the point. Use negative reviews as an opportunity to highlight your qualifications. The response also provides the public with some general insight into the medical complication that triggered the negative review. 

“Breast implants bottoming out, though uncommon, is serious and does happen from time-to-time. It’s hard to determine one reason why bottoming out occurs, but contributing factors can include weak breast tissue, smoking, large amounts of weight loss, or even exercising without a support bra.”

This is how you demonstrate your clinical expertise to the public. Be general, and do not address the author of the negative review. The practice never refers to the review’s author as “you. In fact, the practice barely refers to the patient at all. This is by design. When drafting your responses, you must remember: The author of the review will read your response. Your goal is to resolve his/her concerns. But the author of the negative review is not the only patient who will read your reply. It may be seen by hundreds of prospective patients. So, it pays to respond to negative reviews in a genial manner

We’ll close our analysis of this example by examining the practice’s closing remarks

Any patient who has experienced their implants bottoming out is encouraged to contact our office so we can discuss a revision surgery.

The purpose of this closing statement is twofold. For one, it addresses the concerns that inspired the negative review. The patient is unhappy with her results and is seeking a remedy. The remedy the practice offers is a revision surgery. Not a free surgery, or a discounted surgery, but a surgery. Perhaps it will be free. Perhaps it will be discounted. But those are details to be worked out at the practice’s discretion. The point is the patient posted with a problem and presumably left with an answer. 

Lastly: the closing statement takes the debate offline. The patient’s instructions are clear. If she wants to schedule a revision, she must contact the office directly. Taking the debate offline puts the practice in control and reduces the likelihood the patient’s personal information will be spilled online. And if the doctor-patient relationship continues to sour, it may be best for all parties if doctor and patient parted ways. Our sibling article explains how this must be done in detail: Perfecting the Patient Dismissal Letter.

Let’s examine another example. Like the first, the exchange below depicts a patient who is not satisfied with their care. We suggest reading the response below and then reviewing the five “golden rules” described in this article’s opening paragraphs. Treat it like a test – see if you can identify how the response employs all five in order to achieve a positive end result. 

An image depicting another response to a bad review.

The response paints the practice in a rational light by explaining why treatment described in the negative review (functional capacity evaluations) is necessary. This is done without addressing the author of the review directly. Opening with a clinical truth will keep your emotions out of the response and your focus oeducating the public. When you can, share a detail about your practice’s mission statement or payment protocols. In the example above, the practice educates the audience by including the following statement in their response:

“We certainly sympathize with our patients and the pain they have due to injuries or other conditions. It is our absolute duty to lessen pain whenever we can. But we do not perform tests without necessity or precaution.”

The benefits of such a statement are obvious. It sets a certain expectation. And that expectation is, paraphrased, simply this: “We do not perform needless procedures.” 

The next priorities are addressing the concerns raised by the review and taking the debate offline. The patient is seeking a solution to their pain. The practice addresses this concern by telling the patient to contact their office directly for assistance. 

Next, the cost of treatment is a common point of contention for patients. Let’s shift our focus and discuss the best way to respond to such reviews, starting with the example below…

So – How Do You Respond to a Patient Upset By the Cost of a Procedure?

A reply to a bad review.

For the sake of brevity, we’ve condensed our analysis into five key points – we trust you are now familiar with them. 

How does the response demonstrate to the public the practice is rational?

“We are sensitive to the costs of medical care and strike to provide care that is not only effective but also affordable.”

“Billing, while by no means our primary motivation, is simply what allows us to continue to serve our patients.”

We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: The best way to sanitize your responses is to deal strictly with facts. Speculative statements are easily misinterpreted by patients and may inspire a string of toxic replies. Both above statements are facts. The first explains the mission statement of the practice. The second acknowledges a universal truth – services cost money to render. A hard point to argue. 

How does the response educate the reader?

“Additionally, as a demonstration of our commitment to our patients we often offer payment plans to fit their individual needs.”

In our first example, the practice educated the public by sharing information about a typical surgical complication: breast implants bottoming out. This information was relevant to the patient’s critique and could be shared without revealing specific information about the patient’s care.  

In this second example, the source of the complaint is not a medical complication. The patient is complaining about the cost of the procedure. If you receive a complaint like this, educate the public by revealing how you help patients pay for their procedures. In the above example, the practice educates the public by revealing that it allows patients to pay for their care through customized payment plans.  

How does the response address the concerns raised in the review?

“Any patient who has questions about their account balance should contact our office. We’d be happy to help.”

How does the response take the conversation offline?

See above. Any invitation to contact the office directly will achieve this end.

Does the response address to the patient directly?

No. Non-specific statements such as “our patients” and “any patient” should be your go-to substitutes for pronouns such as “You”, “She”, and “He.”

Let’s examine one more example. Like the example above, it depicts a patient who is dissatisfied with the cost of their care. There is one big difference, however. The dispute below involves a third-party: the patient’s insurance carrier.

A response to a bad review.

Responding to this kind of negative review can be difficult, as it requires the practice to enter a space where neither the patient nor the physician has complete control. Attempt to manage the online narrative by presenting the patient (and the public) with facts about your practice – write what you know.

“When asked, we try to provide quotes that are as accurate as possible. Though our costs are transparent, consistent, and competitive, we cannot always speak definitively on how an insurance provider will cover a given procedure.

We understand how frustrating an unpleasant surprise like this can be and we often work with patients to find a solution that best fits their circumstances.”

When done thoughtfully, this information can be used to educate the public and position your practice as a business that is patient, rational, and sensitive to the needs of patients. This response also addresses the patient’s concerns and takes the debate offline. If the patient wants to discuss his/her circumstances with the practice, the best way to start that conversation is by getting off the internet and contacting the practice directly. The practice has not promised anything, which is wise, but it is not stonewalling, either. The outcome, favorable or unfavorable, will be determined by the private conversation that takes place between the patient and their care provider. 

And with that, we’ve come to the end of our list of examples. While we believe the above four analyses are detailed and insightful, we recognize they are not exhaustive. There are many more reasons why patients write negative reviews. If you are dealing with negative patient reviews, schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you protect your online reputation. 

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Jeffrey Segal, MD, JD

Chief Executive Officer and Founder

Dr. Jeffrey Segal, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Medical Justice, is a board-certified neurosurgeon. Dr. Segal is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; the American College of Legal Medicine; and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. He is also a member of the North American Spine Society. In the process of conceiving, funding, developing, and growing Medical Justice, Dr. Segal has established himself as one of the country’s leading authorities on medical malpractice issues, counterclaims, and internet-based assaults on reputation.

Dr. Segal was a practicing neurosurgeon for approximately ten years, during which time he also played an active role as a participant on various state-sanctioned medical review panels designed to decrease the incidence of meritless medical malpractice cases.

Dr. Segal holds a M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine, where he also completed a neurosurgical residency. Dr. Segal served as a Spinal Surgery Fellow at The University of South Florida Medical School. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa as well as the AOA Medical Honor Society. Dr. Segal received his B.A. from the University of Texas and graduated with a J.D. from Concord Law School with highest honors.

In 2000, he co-founded and served as CEO of DarPharma, Inc, a biotechnology company in Chapel Hill, NC, focused on the discovery and development of first-of-class pharmaceuticals for neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr. Segal is also a partner at Byrd Adatto, a national business and health care law firm. With over 50 combined years of experience in serving doctors, dentists, and other providers, Byrd Adatto has a national pedigree to address most legal issues that arise in the business and practice of medicine.