LA Business Journal: Social Media a Bitter Pill for Some Docs


Compliagent CEO Nick Merkin was recently featured in an article by Marni Usheroff at the Los Angeles Business Journal on social media for physicians. To read the original source article, please visit Los Angeles Business Journal. Here's an excerpt from the article:


When an unhappy customer pans a hair stylist’s work on review site Yelp, the salon can go online and try to appease the disgruntled patron. The same goes for restaurants, retail shops and other businesses. But for doctors, there’s a big hurdle in the way of confronting online criticism: If a physician comments publicly on a patient’s review, that doctor could be acknowledging the reviewer is a patient – and that runs afoul of federal privacy laws. 

Merkin, the compliance consultant, suggests doctors try to preempt negative reviews by contacting patients directly to ask how their visit went. “Reach out to those patients to see if there are any issues they have before it reaches the level of getting to a social media site,” he said. He suggested that doctors spend time thoroughly educating patients about why they did or didn’t make a specific medical recommendation or are prescribing certain drugs to help avoid the kind of confusion and frustration that leads to bad ratings. 

He also said doctors might want to encourage satisfied patients to write reviews, though the California Medical Association advised members in a note earlier this year that physicians need to be sure they aren’t coercing patients into giving them good online ratings. But if all else fails and doctors find negative online reviews of their practice, Merkin said it’s best to respond very generally. Rather than focusing on perhaps one or two extraordinarily bad reviews, the California Medical Association said doctors should focus on patterns, using the feedback to improve their practices. 

“We live in a day and age where social media is prevalent, for good and bad,” Merkin said.


Read Marni Usheroff's full article at the Los Angeles Business Journal.