What we do with reviews

Q & A:  What we do with online reviews

We are thrilled to see good reviews.  We read all reviews with a spirit of humility, attempting to learn from them.  

Online review on doctors can serve as a tool for consumer voice.  However it has its limitations.  Often the customers rate health providers in the same way they do restaurants: on how they feel they’ve been treated.  Patients are far more likely to object to long wait times, the difficulty of securing an appointment, billing errors, a doctor’s chilly bedside manner or the unprofessionalism of the office staff.  Doctor visits tend to be more complex than visits to the dentist or chiropractor, which are specific (e.g. to clean teeth, fill a cavity, make adjustment to a body site etc).  In general, expectations are clear, and ways to gauge success are easier than with a doctor visit.  When a doctor’s reputable track record draws relatively more complex patients, the review ratings tend to not accurately give credence to positive aspects of that doctors’ effectiveness in helping patients to get better.

Occasionally there are bad reviews.   Some of our loyal patients urge us to be more proactive in responding to such reviews.  Longer wait time.  Not answering all the questions a patients wants during appointment.  Hard to get appointments.  To the extend it helps, we will respond as needed.

Sometimes bad reviews sting.  They might contain personal attacks.   No matter how justified it might be to disclose “facts” that can easily “set the record straight,” our policy is to respond in a way that protects the privacy of the reviewer, however damaging and false a review might appear.

We are constrained by privacy laws

Not every “bad” review can be responded to by a physician office.  Because of HIPAA and privacy laws, physicians are legally prevented from responding to negative commentary online.  In the rest of consumer world, if a person posts a negative comment on the internet, the business can typically tell its side of the story.  Not so with medical offices.  According to HIPPA, doctors can’t even acknowledge that a reviewer is a patient.  Some “bad” reviews appear inflammatory, and they might present partial truth and appear credible.  However, half a story is not the same as a full story, particularly when it concerns physicians.  Consider the following example from Medscape.com…

“if a patient writes that his wound opened up three days post-op, that is a different story from ‘three days post-op, against the advice of the surgeon, the 350-lb patient went back to work digging ditches, and his wound opened up.’”

We are bound to protect the identity of former patients

Occasionally our office encounters patients whose behavior is incongruent with our “Respect 2 Ways” guideline.   If after working with these patients for a period of time, and no improvement is observed, we would discharge that patient from our practice.  The discharge process is never easy because it terminates our physician-patient relationship, but it can be done in a spirit of good will and our office continues to assist a discharged patient in establishing care with another office.   

We are committed to our mission

 ReNovi Medicine exists to accomplish its mission of making high-quality, truly integrative, health care affordable to working families.  We are motivated by a higher calling and believe in the power of changed heart through kindness.   We take all reviews, good and bad, as opportunities to identify and strengthen our shortcomings.  We will continue to stay faithful to the reason why we exist, which is to serve the several thousand patients whose lives we hope have been meaningfully touched by our efforts.