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Online Patient Feedback: What to Do: Page 5 of 5

Online Patient Feedback: What to Do: Page 5 of 5

It's easy to keep your finger on the pulse of social media mentions about your practice. For starters, you can set up Google alerts to notify you via e-mail when your office or any of your doctors get mentioned. Twitter Search will also call up a collection of tweets using keywords and names. For her part, Redsicker recommends socialmention.com and hootsuite.com to track brand mentions about your practice and physicians. "That way you can keep listening to the conversation happening about your practice on the social Web," she says.

Like it or not, online doctor reviews are here to stay. You can't control what your patients write, but you can take steps to manage your online reputation, and mitigate the impact of any negative ratings you receive. "Not everyone is going to love your practice and you will get some negative comments," says Redsicker. "How you deal with them can make the difference between whether you're a likeable social media brand or not."

In Summary

Online physician reviews are here to stay, but that doesn't mean your practice needs to sit idly by. Remember:

• Responding to patient reviews, in which personal information is disclosed, violates HIPAA privacy rules.

• Most patient reviews are positive.

• If patients comment on the quality of their care, offer to speak with them by phone or in person — but take the conversation off-line

• The only way to fight a bad patient review is to dilute it with positive ones.

• Use online alerts to monitor what patients are saying about your practice.

• Unsolicited feedback is an opportunity to improve your practice.

Shelly K. Schwartz, a freelance writer in Maplewood, N.J., has covered personal finance, technology, and healthcare for more than 18 years. Her work has appeared on CNBC.com, CNNMoney.com, and Bankrate.com. She can be reached via editor@physicianspractice.com.

This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Physicians Practice.

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