patient engagement

How to Combat Negativity on Social Media

You may dread negative comments, posts, and general ire for your practice being spread online. Fears about violating HIPAA may stop you from handling touchy situations, but you still want to defend your practice and patients. Social media is an invaluable marketing tool for your pediatric practice, but you’ll need to know how to address these common digital media storms:

  • Upset customers When families are upset, they may post online about it either to your page or with your practice tagged, which can damage your credibility and reputation.
  • Arguments The anonymity and safety of the internet make it a place where disagreements can blossom into full out storms of activity. 
  • Differences of belief Whether people differ in age, religion, practices, or customs, these are hot spots that can make public posts heated or negative.
  • Dr. Google Researching symptoms and illnesses online can create an environment of fear and anxiety, especially when patients and parents ask for online help instead of calling their physician. 

How Pediatricians Can Respond to Negative Online Reviews

Questions to Consider: Tools You Need to Combat Negativity

Do you Need Professional Help?

Your reputation and brand are something you want to protect. When you’re unsure how to address negative social media comments or reviews, it’s time to consult an expert.

Shireen Hart of Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC is one of those experts. Shireen has more than 19 years of experience providing legal counsel to hospitals, long-term care facilities, community mental health agencies, pharmacies, laboratories, individual providers, and healthcare-related vendors on a broad range of topics.

PCC sat down with Shireen to ask her advice on the legality of addressing online reviews, including remaining HIPAA-compliant and protecting your reputation. Her advice is candid and clear. Before checking out her talk, here are three questions to consider:

How Can I Prepare for Negative Comments and Reviews?

Shireen reviews strategies for preparing for negativity online so that your practice can offer an agreed-upon response.

Should I Respond?

Like many storms, left alone, most social squabbles can easily blow themselves out. With social media a landscape of constant change, Shireen details how your best action may be nonaction. You may even benefit from doing nothing, as other patients may come to your defense.

How Can I Respond Without Compromising Patients’ PHI?

When online comments or posts are hurtful, unjust, or plain rude, it’s natural to want to come to the defense of your business. However, your primary concern should instead be the protection of your patients’ data. In her talk, Shireen explains how practices can respond to both positive and negative posts while protecting patients’ privacy.

So, which posts are okay to respond to? How are patients and HIPAA regulations protected online? Shireen Hart details these questions in her talk with PCC. Access the PDF of Shireen’s interview below.

See the Interview

Allie Squires

Allie Squires is PCC's Marketing Content Writer and editor of The Independent Pediatrician. She holds a master's in Professional Writing from NYU.