How to Deal with Negative Reviews

By: Jael Teme

How to deal with negative reviews (1)

Let’s say a very angry patient left a negative review complaining about you or your practice. What should you do? First, take a deep breath. Responding while angry is a recipe for disaster.

Once you have given it a few minutes– or hours, depending on the review– evaluate the situation and take one of the following actions.

  1. Contest the review. If the review is false or unfounded, you may be able to contest it. Take a look at our list of review sites that will allow you to contest a review and how to do so.
  1. Weigh the possible outcomes. Would responding to this review be beneficial? If the review has many spelling and grammar errors, other users will find it irrelevant. In those cases, it might be better to stay away. It is unlikely a response will prompt a positive outcome.


  1. Respond privately. By responding privately, you might be able to establish rapport and help solve the situation in a more efficient and faster way. The key is to keep your message simple and genuine and always be mindful of your tone. If the person perceives that you are being condescending or rude in anyway, things could go array.
  1. Respond publicly. Most reviews can be approached this way, but be careful not to share patient information. According to HIPAA, you can’t confirm or deny that the reviewer is your patient. Let’s take a look at examples of what you can’t and can say, according to HIPAA guidelines. This is what you can’t say:

“We are sorry to hear you did not have a good experience at our hospital. We value you as a patient and want to make your experience as comfortable as possible while you recover from your back surgery.”

This is wrong because it is confirming the reviewer as a patient and exposing private medical information. You can still address the concern without compromising information. Here’s an example of what you can say:

“We are very sorry to hear about this experience. Our Patient Care Services Department has been alerted to the situation. If you would like to speak to someone further about this experience, please call [phone number].

  1. Boost positive reviews. Encourage your patients to leave positive reviews. If your page has more positive reviews than negative, the attention will gravitate to the positive ones—making the negative ones less effective.

Contact your Reputation Management account manager if you are having a hard time deciding how to respond to a negative review. Our team is here to help you succeed!

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