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How to Handle a Fake Patient Review

If you have done everything correctly and actively manage all of your professional review profiles, and have patients who love you, it’s still possible to be hit with a fake patient review. It just happens. And it happens to the best of doctors.

You will want to respond as quickly as possible and to every negative review that comes in. However, you’ll want to follow these steps to ensure you’re covering all of your bases:

Investigate

The first thing you will want to ask yourself when looking at a potential fake patient review is: “Are they a patient?”

Take the time to check your database and look for patients with the same or similar names or even potential family members with the same name as the reviewer. Even if you find someone in the system that could be a match, double-check when their last appointment was. If it matches the timeframe of the review, you may have a real review on your hands. Otherwise, if there is no match, it’s safe to say that you may be dealing with a false review from one of those archetypes we outlined.

Respond publicly

Letting a negative review, real or fake, just sit there, without any response, is the opposite of what you should be doing. Just like you should be responding to the majority of your positive reviews, negative reviews should receive even more comprehensive responses.

Inquiring into the situation or inviting them to come back into the office or call you directly to discuss the problem is a good route to take. And, if you’ve done the research and couldn’t find any potential matches within your verified patient database, a diplomatic response of “We’re sorry to hear about your difficult experience. Unfortunately, there’s no record of you visiting our office so we’re unable to address your concerns. Please call us directly to speak further about this situation.” can work wonders to sway the opinion of prospective patients back in your favor – and rightfully so.

Work on getting more positive reviews

As we mentioned earlier, working to get more positive reviews is an undertaking that should constantly be happening in your office. Having a lot of good review is less likely to impress someone if they see that each review is over six months old. Instead, make sure you have a long and frequently updated record of great reviews by consistently asking patients to leave their opinion online.

Work with the review site

If you are hit with a fake patient review, you also have the option of bringing it up with the review site to try and get it taken down. In these cases you want to be sure that you are presenting a full and clear case to prove that the review is fake.

According to Mike Blumenthal, a Google review expert:  “Typically, Google offers 3 levels of dealing with fake reviews: 1) flagging the review, 2) elevating it to the Google social team via Facebook and Twitter, and 3) escalating it through online forums and connecting with the community manager to eventually get the engineers to review it.”

Taking the steps to get a fake patient review taken down are time-consuming and require a lot of research to present your case properly, and even then not every fake review will end up being taken down. Remember, your goal should be to not just minimize bad reviews but maximize positive reviews so that the percentage weight of your positive reviews far diminished the effect of any negative reviews.