Risk Management

2018 October Bulletin: Social Media

October 2018 Risk Management Bulletin

Responding to Reviews on Social Media
Our Risk Management Hotline routinely receives calls from insureds asking how they should respond to reviews on social media and physician rating sites. Whether the reviews are positive or negative it is important to have a planned approach for responding.

A primary concern with responding through these sites is maintaining privacy. A practice can be subject to a HIPAA violation if it responds to a reviewer, and in the process, Protected Health Information (PHI) is shared. Even acknowledging that the reviewer is a patient can trigger an unauthorized HIPAA breach.

OMIC recommends the following steps be taken in responding to reviews:

  • Investigate what happened. Conduct an internal review.
  • Thank the reviewer for the feedback online. Underscore the importance of feedback and your commitment to quality care. Invite the reviewer to contact your office to discuss the matter privately due to HIPAA privacy concerns. Here is an example response:
    Thank you for your feedback. I take patient satisfaction seriously. In order to protect a patient’s privacy, we prefer to handle a situation like this offline. Please contact our office (phone).
  • Reach out to the reviewer privately. Listen first and formulate a plan to respond. Consult with Risk Management for help.
  • Appeal to the publisher of the site. Does reviewer’s comments violate the site’s policies? If so, request the review be removed.

Develop a written social media policy for your practice so there is a consistent process for responding to reviews. Here are additional resources to help you:

Visit OMIC’s website:
OMIC Social Media Guidelines

The following organizations offer additional guidelines on responding to social media reviews. Click on these links:

American Medical Association

Mayo Clinic

Federation of State Medical Boards (FASB)

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