DoctorU Special Report: How should doctors respond to customer comments or reviews & HIPAA Patient Privacy Rules
Business, Reviews, Uncategorized

DoctorU Special Report: How should doctors respond to customer comments or reviews & HIPAA Patient Privacy Rules

How to remove Yelp Reviews?
How doctors can repond to patient comments on websites like Yelp

September 13th 2019 DoctorU Special Report – How-to respond guide on the Doctor-Patient commenting on reviews Dichotomy & HIPAA Patient Privacy Law, Rules & Guidelines – With Problems & Solutions! – By

Do-Not Respond to Patient Reviews Online:

How should Physicians respond to online patient reviews or comments? The only right answer: You don’t!”— If you do, you can quickly, easily and inadvertently reveal patient information when responding online without first consulting HIPAA patient privacy guidelines, the website terms of use policy, your lawyer and your reputation management company. In most cases, your response cannot be removed once posted. Furthering the problem for all companies with online reviews is the Google Auto-suggest generally offers the suggestion “Dr Who Reviews” or worse; pointing most visitors directly to your reviews. Google then displays your reviews with lowest rankings first; higher in the search results. The – DoctorU Computer & DoctorU Protection Plan solve this and many issues relating to your online privacy, your profiles, reviews management and digital marketing. If you consider leaving a properly written compliant response to a customer comment on the Internet, please contact us first for a free consultation.

What would be the purpose of your response? How would you know the response of the reviewer, Yelp or a Judge? This would be similar to showing a customer around your office and the customer wanting to or being forced to see your dirty laundry room. In the search results, the negatives would be above the fold, and visible in Google without even clicking on anything. A hundred percent of online customers would see the dirty laundry; unless they are blind. Nothing looks worse than a doctor arguing with a patient online. Furthermore, as soon as you respond to a comment, the website will likely consider the customer review valid; just because you replied to it. And, limit your options of the review to be taken down later.

The Dichotomy of Doctor Reviews Sites & HIPAA Patient Privacy laws:

Because of the inherent dichotomy in the Terms and Conditions of most websites and the HIPAA “guidelines”. Most reviews sites require a reviewer to be an existing customer; yet the Doctor is not allowed to confirm that it’s a real customer. Studies show that 84% of consumers turn to review sites to find a doctor. Fewer than one in five have a process for dealing with bad reviews, even though more than 80% of providers are concerned about the damage reviews can cause. Dr. Jay Calvert, the President of the Rhinoplasty Society has a blog on the issue pointing out “there is over 30 doctor reviews sites and none verify the reviewers by any certainty”.

Patient data includes anything that someone can use to identify a patient, including the individual’s bio-metrics: Name, Email address, Phone number, Birthday, Appointment dates/times, Test results, Diagnoses, Don’t acknowledge whether the reviewer has ever been a patient. Focus on general office policies. Use generic language whenever possible.

“The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives individuals important controls over whether and how their protected health information is used and disclosed for marketing purposes,” said OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels in a statement posted on the OCR website. “With limited exceptions, the Rule requires an individual’s written authorization before a use or disclosure of his or her protected health information can be made for marketing.”

Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, found more than two dozen defamation lawsuits filed by doctors against patients over online reviews in a survey covering 2003 to 2015, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. Two cases went to trial, resulting in jury verdicts for the doctors, though one was reversed on appeal, Goldman found.

Updated: HIPAA Omnibus Rule

Get VirtualU’s 3rd Party Solutions & Advice

Doctors need to be very cautious if they plan to respond to patients’ online reviews. The simple act of admitting that Ms. Jones is your patient publicly violates the HIPAA Privacy rule, and some physicians have been penalized, terminated or a lawsuit may result. VirtualU has the proven case study solutions for removing inappropriate reviews, properly responding to reviews and use of comment boxes, 3rd party verification of reviewers, 3rd party checking for legality and privacy policy of each site and our VirtualU 3rd party take down requests. Our new DoctorU Reputation Computer also comes pre-installed with a reviews management application so that customers can leave reviews for you, on the sites you want them to, right from your office.

“You own Your Data”, and Your Reputation:

Question: “Who owns Your Data?”, your “Virtual You”? Answer: “You Do!” – Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Congressional Hearings. That’s the purpose of our VirtualU Privacy-Shield Monitoring & Data Removals Service is to secure your data with the standpoint of the EU’s “right to be forgotten” laws; and civil and legal laws. At the beginning, “Your Reputation is Everything” was our tag-line. Now, to permanently secure your past, current and future reputation and success, we have invented our own DoctorU Reputation Computer we customize and send to each customer to use at their office and a yearly DoctorU Reputation Protection Plan to have a VirtualU Guru manage your reputation management, social media accounts, news distribution, search engine optimization; and support on retainer, all year. Many of our customers in our case studies have had just one negative review on Yelp and it was ruining their business into bankruptcy. One improper comment could cost you your practice. Improper responses could cost you large fines or your license. No negative or positive review is worth the chance of hurting the long term success of your business, your reputation and your data.

How to avoid a Lawsuit and reduce your Insurance Rates:

That’s the hundred percent sure way to avoid a lawsuit. Every story on how a doctor should respond to online reviews contains bad advice from industry professionals and reputation specialists and even Yelp and Google. The first thing you do, is the new review would have been picked up by our VirtualU reputation monitoring software. Then, after we research the source of the reviewer, and review the terms and conditions of each site, all we have on file, then, and only then, would you even consider directly responding to a reviewer with a reply comment. The general rule in reputation management is to leave the negative posts alone, don’t create unusual activity to that profile, and don’t exacerbate the situation unless you’ve considered the options; our “20 Ways to Remove a Yelp” and the various options you have to combat each individual situation. In a recent statistical study there is a high correlation of higher insurance rates for doctors with poor reviews appearing on the Internet.

VirtualU’s “20 Ways to Remove a Yelp” or remove data from any Website:

Also, reported by two online sources incorrectly to “Self assess your Reputation”! Do-not try to self assess your reputation any more than a patient should self assess their cancer therapy; or try to read the minds of your reviewers, Yelp, a Lawyer nor a Judge. We do have customers that have claimed they can even read the minds of other species. Don’t take their advice, but have fun with it. “Have you Googled yourself lately? If you don’t know what’s being said about you or your practice online, you need to self-assess your current reputation.” – Online Source. You are best to have gotten a free deep web analysis or have spoken to our VirtualU Guru’s, read our reputation management E-book, used our services or have completed reading this report.

Do Not Self-Assess Your Reputation – Get a Free VirtualU Analysis:

Why are all websites online when searching for “how should a doctor respond to reviews” are giving you inherently wrong and inherently negative leading advice on “how” to respond to a patient review; and not considering the dozens of other options you have beforehand?? The news reports from major media outlets, the doctor reputation management companies, and industry analysts are giving you the wrong and bad advice that could immediately turn into a lawsuit. Then, between the lawsuit appearing in Google and the 1 star Yelp, you eventually lose all your customers. VirtualU does have solutions to get you out of this online situation and get you back in business, but lets just say you may have to move to another state to start a new business. Have an experienced VirtualU guru perform a free deep web search, reputation analysis of your name or company and provide you a solution to proper reputation protection, removal options, reviews management and search engine optimization. Better yet, call another reputation management company for their advice, and then call us.

Examples of Bad Advice by Industry Observers & Reputation Companies:

Another report suggested how to respond to both positive and negative reviews. Both, are bad advice. Responding at all makes that doctor reviews site profile link more popular in the eyes of the website itself and will appear more and more popular to Google. Until… all the negative reviews sites appear directly under your website in Google, forever! From a Reputation Management prospective, those reviews sites are generally the one’s you want to diminish; or foster the placement of reviews on select sites. More of which one’s you could flag or control by the T&C of the website.

Another blog gave wrong advice “Don’t ask the patient to take their review down. Whether you ask politely, or threaten the reviewer with a $500 fine, it’s bad practice to ask the reviewer to take their comments down. Instead, focus on addressing their complaint and resolving any problems. If you’re lucky, the patient will appreciate your effort and consider changing or updating their review on their own.” There are several proper case study methods to find who the reviewer actually is, and then ask a customer to take down a review, or any other particular information. In other cases, the customer review could be incorrectly, improperly written or that the customer revealed personal information; so as to get the website to make corrections or whereas the customer may not be able to change or correct the review; and you or the customer asks the website to take it down. These legal and case study options are part of our “20 Ways to Remove a Yelp” document and tutorial.

Dealing with Reviews Websites with a Reputation Management Perspective:

When researching a company, product or a person, 90% first look you up on Google and 75% of respondents said they would not do business with someone who had negative information showing up in the search engines. From a reputation management perspective, it’s our job to control the search engines and the message. From VirtualU “Online reputation management is correctly defined as the process of taking the correct and legal steps for taking full control of the search results related to you our your company. It is accomplished by removing, replacing or diminishing unwanted information found on the internet with hundreds to thousands of new websites, new listings and positive press.” This has the effect of directing people directly to your website, your social media and to your message, instead of having Google and Healthgrades deciding about your reputation.

Reviews Management
Reviews Management

Reviews Management of Reviews Sites & Directories:

As a guideline, you want to control which reviews sites appear in Google and which sites you should foster reviews from your customers. We have various case studies and proven methods and software installed on the DoctorU Computer for your office. This can be setup properly for you with the idea of reputation protection, the first time, depending on your situation and manage the online reviews. We have current customers and current case studies where we control what links appear in the search results and we control which sites customers leave reviews on.

DoctorU will help you get more Reviews and more Referrals:

According to a 2016 survey, 70% of consumers said they’ll leave a review for a business if they’re asked to. We’ll help you find the methods to generate customer reviews that are best for you. Some other offline methods are the Yelp restaurant secret shoppers method, Comment cards, 3rd party questionnaires. It is important to note that most comment boards are not highly monitored. It is appropriate in some cases, to respond to comments with text written that is purely promotional. The best method, in our opinion, is to use the comment sections of all websites to your advantage, while also abiding by the websites terms and conditions. The comments could include information about your new coupon, text and links to your newest press release, or even links back to your social media and video’s for people to watch.

From the Terms and Conditions Perspective:

– Facebook Hearings on “your data”

– Recent changes in Laws “right to be forgotten”

– Copies of each websites T&C & privacy policy

– How to use the T&C’s to your advantage

From the Legal Perspective:

– How to sue to reveal reviewer

– How and when to sue Yelp

– Legal Reasons to remove data

– Legal Requests to remove data

– Google Legal & Take-down requests

Bonus Trade-Secret Report: 20 Ways to Remove a Yelp or from any Website”

Order our Reputation DIY: Includes the how-to video tutorials of each “20 Ways to Remove a Yelp”

-Subscribe to get the 2 Full Reports

About VirtualU:


VirtualU’s founders invented reputation management in 1996 at Art Data Interactive; comparison shopping and reviews management at in 2001, reputation management at Reputation Saviors in 2010 and on May 1st, 2018 after the Facebook congressional hearings on your private data, your “VirtualU” Privacy-Shield! VirtualU has served football players, baseball, hockey, cheerleaders, beauty contestants, entertainers in music, books, movies, professionals in the stock market, banks, doctors, dentists, attorneys, those in public office like school teachers, police officers, military, individuals, parents of children, privacy experts and media providers.

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