Being Held Hostage by Bad Online Reviews?

Side Note: These days, a physician isn’t just someone who takes care of patients. He or she is also in the business of customer service, striving to make sure that each of his or her patients’ “experiences” are fulfilling and satisfying. For better or worse, this is true right down to online reviews by patients, out there (permanently) for everyone to see. Such reviews of physicians were unheard before the internet. Previously, a “good review” for a physician would simply come in the form of a patient’s referral of a family member or friend. But, these days, physicians are getting reviewed just like products and sellers on But, is this fair? Are physicians like sellers on Physicians already spend a great deal of time just trying to avoid risk and errors and minimize use of their physician liability coverage –now they have to also worry about bad reviews on the internet.

While we here at generally love how democratic the internet is, this is one instance where it leaves us feeling uneasy. First, though the internet seems to level the playing in a lot of ways between doctors and patients, it simply doesn’t regarding online physician reviews because of the nature of the doctor-patient relationship. In essence, physicians are held hostage to bad reviews –warranted or not. There are many reasons why physicians cannot and should not reply to bad reviews –some of them because of doctor-patient confidentiality and others are legal.

See the article below for a thoughtful discussion of this topic and some suggestions for how to handle (or head-off) bad online reviews.

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Rated negatively online? What’s a physician to do?
From:, Ethics Forum
Posted: Aug. 8, 2011

Unhappy Physician Reading an Online ReviewScenario: How should professionals respond to physician-rating websites?

An increasing number of websites invite patients to rate physicians and clinics as they would restaurants. Doctors are asking if there is a fair way to react against undeserved, unfavorable comments. Is it ethical to fight back against these websites?

Click here for the article.

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