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Medical practice is difficult territory to work in. The effort the personnel put into offering the highest possible care to patients often leaves them feeling exhausted, to put it mildly. The fact that more and more patients are becoming litigious is not making life easier for these professionals.

Few things can adversely affect a doctor’s reputation and profession as much as a negative review from a patient or a number of patients. This article discusses some of the factors that can lead to a review about medical personnel that they don’t agree with and the possible outcome of such a review, along with some tips on leaving a review that is meaningful and useful.

What Constitutes a Negative Review?

A negative review can be simply considered a non-positive personal opinion about another person and/or the services offered by such a person. There are various factors that can lead to a person offering such an opinion. In medical practice, these can include:

  • How the patient is received in a medical facility
  • The state of the facility
  • The way the patient perceives the staff or the doctor involved in the case
  • The outcome of the treatment

Ironically, some patients will offer a negative review about medical personnel who did just what they were supposed to do. For example, a patient may react emotionally when a doctor reveals to them the diagnosis of their signs and symptoms.

This can be due to a mental state called denial (negation) commonly experienced by patients who have received bad news. A patient in this state can believe that the doctor made mistakes or is incompetent as a way to deal with difficult news they must take on. In such a frame of mind, they can easily give a negative review about the doctor that is not helpful to others or respectful to the medical professional in question.

Weight loss surgery and cosmetic surgery are also types of procedure that draw negative reviews if the patient has not adequately managed their expectations beforehand.

Effects of a Negative Review

A negative review (even if true) is a double-edged sword. While it can affect the professional’s reputation and career, it can also land the reviewer into trouble. Depending on how the review is crafted, the affected medical personnel or business can sue you for it. An anesthesiologist   in Denver, Colorado sued a patient in 2012 for an online review that he claimed damaged his reputation and his business due to demonstrably false statements.

How to Write an Effective and Respectful Review

There are three guiding principles of writing a review.

  1. It must be based on true facts. These are facts as you experienced them. For example, you can briefly explain in your review about your case, the situation and the time it all happened.
  2. It must be of public interest. Your review should be aimed at helping other people make informed decisions based on your experiences.
  3. It must not be based on malice. The best way to check this is to avoid offering a review at the height of your emotions. Even if you write the review in this state, resist hitting the send button until you have cooled down. At that time you might find yourself changing the tone of your review.

After You Have Cooled Down

Look for anything positive about your experience and highlight it first. After this, you can write your negative review in the suggested format below.

  1. Highlight the negative experience in form of questions. For example:
    – Why was I kept waiting for so long?
    – Why did the results take such a long time?
    – Why were the doctor’s orders not followed?
    – Why was I not informed that this other procedure could become necessary?
  2. Avoid generalities. This is your opinion and may not necessarily be all other people’s opinion about the same medical person or establishment. State clearly that is your opinion and that it reflects your own personal experience alone.
  3. It is also important to try to understand what could have led to your bad experience. Were there factors that were beyond the medical professional’s ability?

It is always good to reflect inwards and ask yourself whether you could have contributed in any way to your own experience. Medical personnel also need to be understood and to be shown empathy.

Ultimately, if your review will help people within or without the medical community, then you should post it. Just ensure that your review is factual, useful, and free from excessive emotion.


abeo Management Corporation (abeo) serves as a leading source of revenue cycle management and practice management with a specialization in anesthesia. The company leverages its people, processes, and software to serve independent practices, surgery centers, hospitals and healthcare systems with a scope of services that include billing, coding, transcription, practice management, and business consulting.

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