Physician Lifestyle

Never underestimate the power of word of mouth - or word of keyboard

April 17, 2013


So many factors go into the success of a business, but one of the most important – and ethereal – is reputation. A good reputation is long and slow in the making, but oh so easy to lose. For instance, if an acquaintance says, “Don’t go to Bob’s shoe store, I had a bad experience there,” you may never set foot in Bob’s to see for yourself. You might even pass that “news” on to others without having verified it. And so it goes; a reputation damaged in a fast-building avalanche of bad mouthing, possibly based on little or nothing.

Patient satisfaction – or else

Today any news, good or bad, can and often does travel at the speed of light. “Don’t go to Dr. Jones – he didn’t treat me right,” can echo through a hundred Facebook or LinkedIn accounts in the time it takes to write a prescription.

Plus, websites such as ratemds.com and healthgrades.com, exist for the very purpose of letting patients evaluate physicians. These sites make it easy for disgruntled patients to leave you “bad reviews” for the world to see. For you, as a physician, electronic bad news is an unstoppable force that can negatively affect the growth of your practice.

So what can be done if someone is out there making bad comments about you?

Well, those comments are either true or untrue.…He that filches from me my good name, robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed. William Shakespeare, Othello, Act 3, Scene 4

  • If the complaints are founded, then do what you have to do within reason to improve patient satisfaction. Do you know what your current patients think? Find out by using an informal opinion survey. Take feedback to heart; it could end up on Facebook if you don’t. 

    You'll find insights on patient satisfaction on the American Medical Association's (AMA) website. Some of the tools there are for AMA members; others such as the white paper, “10 steps to enhance patient satisfaction in your practice,”  are freely available. And “Real Time: A Patient Satisfaction Solution,” is offered by the AMA and a third party via subscription.

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