Best Practices for Responding to Patient Reviews
Internal Use Only

Responding to Patient Satisfaction Surveys extends the great care you provide in your exam room. You can also learn from and build goodwill with your patients. You should, however, approach responding to surveys with care. Internet messaging is a blunt tool and sometimes good intentions come across poorly.

Your reputation is your responsibility. Past patients are completing surveys, and potential patients are paying attention. We encourage you or your authorized representative to schedule time each week to log in to your provider profile and respond to surveys.

Healthgrades is not responsible for content the provider/representative provides. The facts provided in this article are for informational purposes only, and as such, comments represent the opinions of the providers/representative. Providers/representatives are solely responsible for the content they provide on Healthgrades.com, also noting that they do not represent the opinions of, and are not endorsed by Healthgrades.

In Your Office

  • Patients care more about attentiveness during their visit – even above compassion or competence. Taking time to listen often results in positive online feedback. You can also employ staff members who are positive and understanding with patients.
  • Share both positive and negative surveys with your staff:
    • Recognize members by calling out surveys where they were mentioned positively.
    • With care, use negative surveys as a tool to reflect and improve.
  • Encourage satisfied patients to post positive surveys, but don’t be pushy about it. Positive surveys help offset negative ones. Learn about our Patient Engagement Resources.

General Suggestions for Responding

Whether the survey is positive or negative, follow these best practices for your replies.

Respect HIPAA Regulations

Your responses are within a public forum, so be sure to:

  • Respond in generalizations.
  • Never use patient names.
  • Take the conversation offline when needed.

Respond to All Surveys

Show that you care about each and every patient by responding to all their feedback, both positive and negative.

Be Appreciative

Always thank your patients for providing feedback. For a positive review, deliver a human touch and let them know you care and appreciate that they trust you with their healthcare.

Listen

Make a specific reference to the review, indicating you’ve read the comment. Most of the time, patients just want to be heard and acknowledged.

Responding to a Negative Survey

By contacting your reviewer and establishing a genuine human relationship, you have a chance to help the situation and maybe even change their perspective for the better. We've heard a lot of success stories from providers who were polite to their reviewers, earning a second chance.

Use the suggestions when you respond to a negative review.

Understand Your Emotions

  • Don't respond immediately (although still be timely). When you take some time, it helps take the emotion out of your response.
  • Don't be defensiveYou can't control the thoughts and opinions of everyone. Sometimes, a negative review can improve your service level or weed out the type of patient you don't want to see. If the patient is being unreasonable, potential patients will realize it and discount their criticism.

Be Appreciative

Thank your patient for providing feedback.

Listen

Make a specific reference to the review, indicating you’ve read the comment. Most of the time, patients just want to be heard and acknowledged. 

Apologize

It is important to apologize even when you think you’ve done everything right. “I hope we may be able to win your favor again, as your experience is not at all indicative of our patient care standards."

Highlight Your Strengths

When appropriate, a negative survey can be an opportunity to add your philosophy of care and frame your positive story.

Operate Better

In your response, indicate that you take patient feedback very seriously, and when appropriate, will personally address the reviewer's experience with the team. Share that their feedback is the best way for you and your staff to improve and grow. Consider the sentiments of your patients and evaluate if, and how, you can improve your level of care. This can lead to increased patient satisfaction and, ultimately, better reviews and higher demand for your services.

Be Timely

A late response can really impact the effectiveness. Try to reply within two weeks — the quicker the better!

Take the Conversation Offline

If the response requires a more in-depth or sensitive discussion, make it private by offering your email address. This promotes transparency and trust in your practice.

In This Article