Removing negative reviews is a difficult task for physicians and other healthcare professionals trying to maintain a positive online reputation and appeal to new patients. Often, the few previously unsatisfied patients post unfair and damaging comments on highly visible review sites. Without expert online healthcare reputation management help, many doctors are being unjustly attacked online.
Many physicians try removing negative reviews from third party sites. Here’s why you shouldn’t…
1. Review Sites Don’t Take Responsibility For Negative Reviews
Many review sites use Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which states:
“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
In short, if the review site didn’t write the negative review, they will not deal with the consequences. This can mean weeks, months, or even years of frustration for physicians making attempts at removing negative reviews.
2. General Opinion vs. Specific Defamation
It’s very difficult to entice a review site to remove a review that’s an opinion and not a defamation.
- General Opinion: “I was treated badly by the doctor and her staff.”
- Specific Defamation: “I am a regular patient of the doctor and he was rude while treating my flu-like symptoms last week.”
The difference is that in most cases, a specific defamation can be confirmed or disproved while a general opinion can be deemed too vague to be attached to a single patients. If you come face-to-face with a negative testimonial that’s also a general opinion on RateMDs, Vitals, or even Yelp, chances are you’re out of luck.
3. Taking Legal Action Does More Damage
Suing an individual over removing negative reviews can bring more damage to a healthcare provider’s online reputation than it alleviates. In many cases, legal action can take years to process – furthermore, the majority of defamation cases are unsuccessful. To make matters worse, a court case can draw more negative online attention and press for the physician trying to remove negative reviews. Talk about a Catch-22!
The majority of physicians will receive a handful of negative reviews over the course of their career. These negative reviews damage the doctor’s online reputation and are exceedingly difficult to reverse. If you’re interested in a litigation-free solution to unfair reviews, please review our online healthcare reputation management services.