Posted On
January 30, 2018

If Doctors Don’t Care About Online Reviews, Why Are They So Quick to Sue

If Doctors Don’t Care About Online Reviews, Why Are They So Quick to Sue 1

Another day, another patient sued for a negative online. What’s up with that, doc?

It’s a great question to ask. I’ve had a chance to help dozens of doctors and other healthcare professionals with their online reputation. It’s part of the reason that RepCheckup exists today.

Over the past decade, I’ve learned a lot about how doctors think. I’ve also learned two things specific to online reputation management for doctors that really scramble my brains. Let me explain.

  1. Doctors generally hate being reviewed online.
  2. Doctors are quick to sue patients that leave negative online reviews.

Doctors Hate Being Reviewed Online

It’s almost a universal truth that doctors hate to be reviewed online. I know for fact that doctors understand how much their reputation means in their profession. I also know they feel a lack of control over it online. This makes it easy to dismiss online reviews or down right hate them.

The hate could also stem from the fact that a doctor’s main concern are clinical outcomes, while most patients tend to focus on the service experience. I can understand being a little bent when Susie leaves you a 2 star review because Jack at the front desk was rude. This happens all the time, and would make me pull my luscious locks out.

Of course the problem in all of this is that online reviews matter. More patients than ever before are using the internet to find, compare, and book a healthcare professional. Love it or hate, patient reviews are here to stay. With everything pointing to an ever increasing level of importance, smart doctors are not fighting for a past where information was sparse, they’re living in the moment and adapting to these changing ways.

Doctors Will Sue Patients Over Online Reviews

The second universal truth I’ve found with doctors is that they are awfully quick to want to sue patients that leave negative online reviews. I can’t really understand this initial reaction. I was always taught to love customers, and give them the benefit of the doubt (thanks mom!).

This sue-first mentality likely stems from the fact that patients are quick to sue their doctors at the first sign of malpractice. If you live in a highly regulated world where everyone seems to be trying to get a piece of you, I could see you being a little trigger happy when something you don’t like (or is not true), pops-up about you.

Obviously, the problem with this is that in suing a patient, it makes you look much worse than any negative online review could. I mean, once that happens, you almost certain to make the news. I don’t know about you, doc, but I’m not so certain I want to come experience what you’ve got to offer if I run the risk of being sued for saying something you don’t like.

Doctors Must Embrace Patient Experience (and Online Reviews)

The reality is that most doctors are great people. They do an outstanding job providing you with care. It’s a tough profession, and for the most part, they handle it all with grace. In fact, most doctors have above average online rating and review scores.

Yet, there still exists, and will for some time, those curmudgeons and luddites that will continue to push back, get upset, and call their lawyer in regards to a patient’s online review. This natural instinct will be tough for some, but not all, to drop. As my experience shows me, doctors first instincts are to look down upon being reviewed, and become merciless when they have been left a negative review.

The smart doctor’s, many of which I’ve had the pleasure of serving, have already stepped outside of this paradigm, and choose to harness the power of online reviews. However, until more doctors follow, expect the majority to continue to hate online reviews and be quick to sue you, if you leave a negative online review.

To that, I’ll still ask, “What’s up with that, doc?”

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Garrett Smith
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RepCheckup is an online reputation management software that helps businesses enhance and protect their online reputation.

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