The unique problems with reviews of doctors online

I’ve written quite a bit about review sites and in particular Yelp. Maybe it’s because I’m both an active reviewer on Yelp and Amazon but also I take pride in the reviews of my business.

Reviewing your doctor continues to be an emerging field as finding a good doctor can literally save your life. However, they face unique challenges in responding to reviews that are somewhat unique to their profession. This article examines the challenges medical professionals have with online reviews and how to deal with them. In particular, since they deal with confidential information they can’t easily respond with the “truth” because that might violate HIPAA. Nonetheless these reviews are important. I know others in the computer profession sometimes have hands tied in responding to negative reviews. For example, when a client complains their computer got re-infected by a virus, should you tell people publically on the review that it’s because they were surfing inappropriate materials (no!)

Many times the reviewer thinks they know more than the provider, which is true in the medical profession especially after someone gets a second opinion but happens in all walks of life as this article talks about. The takeaway from that article is that someone that thinks they are an expert (regardless of whether they are or not) will judge a product or service more harshly. If you think you know how to cook, you’ll be more critical of a restaurant.

When reading reviews, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind. Phrases like “I know how this should be” or “I’m an expert” should send up a red flag that the reviewer has a bias and might be unnecessarily critical.

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