Responding to Patient Comments Online

The ADA Practical Guide to Social Media PlanningSocial media provides a way for you to interact with patients, and it also provides patients with an outlet to comment on the services they receive.

The ADA Practical Guide to Social Media Planning recommends that you monitor any conversation online and aim to respond to comments when appropriate, remembering that not every comment requires a response. From the Guide:

To help determine if you should respond, ask yourself questions like:

  • Is there any value in responding?
  • Do I look uncaring if I don’t respond?
  • Is there anything positive I can say?
  • Can one response address several comments posted?
  • Who commented and do they have a large following online?
  • Does the comment or review show up prominently in search results?

The Guide also points out that Federal and state privacy laws, including HIPAA, apply to online conversations. Here’s the Guide again:

If you can only answer a question by disclosing health information, take the conversation off-line by posting something like, “I can help you with that. Is it okay if I look in your file and give you a call?” Or “Please call my office around 2 p.m. today, and I’d be happy to discuss that with you.” Then, after the call has been made, be sure to close the loop online with a post that reads something like, “Good to talk with you this afternoon. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.” This illustrates to the rest of your audience that you’ve responded.

Interested in learning more about using social media in a way that makes sense for your practice? Pick up The ADA Practical Guide to Social Media Planning. Learn how to use social media in a way that will engage potential and existing patients; make your practice more visible in a growing sea of online information and protect and further your professional reputation online.

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