What to Do When You Get a Bad Physician Review
Bad physician reviews happen, even to the best of doctors. Someone on the office staff may have a bad day, miscommunications are real and people are human. When patients have a bad experience, they often use sites like Vitals, RateMDs or Yelp to vent (which is one of the reasons we recommend patient satisfaction surveys. It gives patients the opportunity to be heard before broadcasting online). Unfortunately, these venting reviews can do some significant harm to a practice (see how much doctor reviews affect your bottom line).
So what do you do when you inevitably receive a negative review?
- Don’t panic, don’t fight back. One of the first instincts is to challenge the reviewer. Trust us, this is not a direction you want to go. Confrontation only makes you look bad and has the potential to escalate the situation. While the review may be unfair, there are other ways to deal with it that wind up placing you in a better light.
- Act reasonably quickly. While you don’t have to respond the minute there’s a bad review, you don’t want to let it linger either. Responding in a timely manner shows that you’re actively listening to your patients, which can go a long way. If a future patient is looking at your reviews online and sees that there was a response to a complaint within a day, it indicates that you care and that’s highly important to patients. Think of it as an online bedside manner. Now, because we know that healthcare professionals are very busy and do not usually have the time to actively monitor online review sites, we have also put together 5Star-MD as a free service in order to create one place for physicians to monitor their online presence and receive text/SMS or email updates when new reviews come up. This will help you manage your online bedside manner.
- Dispute the review if it is not legitimate. This step will vary from review site to review site. Some sites have relatively simple processes for disputing reviews while others are very complicated. In most cases, there are ways to have a review removed if it is not valid (e.g., meant for another practice, has incorrect information, is written as slanderous instead of a valid review, not a valid patient, etc.). Realize that the number of reviews you can remove will be limited in most cases, so this cannot be the core of your strategy. However, it can be highly effective in removing some damaging content. Also note that while text reviews can be disputed, in many cases the “star” rating associated with the review will not be removed. Note: Matt Rasmusson just wrote an excellent site by site guide to getting reviews removed that is worth checking out if you want to dispute a review.
- If the review is legitimate, write an honest response. If there is a negative review that you can not or have decided not to remove, respond to it. Stay away from any negative and/or attacking phrases and focus on the patient’s concerns. Apologize for a negative experience, explain how you strive to create a positive experience for patients and then focus on what you’re doing to either investigate the problem and/or ensure it doesn’t happen again (if applicable). What you’re doing here is letting the patient know that he/she has been heard and that you are concerned about the negative experience. This is your opportunity to explain where the breakdown happened (e.g., We have a new patient scheduling system that had a bug on the first day, which has been addressed. We are terribly sorry for the inconvenience). However, make sure you do not come across defensive or inadvertently disclose any information that would be in violation of HIPAA. Keep it short, sweet and sincere.
- Work to bring in more positive reviews. One of the best defenses against a negative review is a stream of positive reviews. A negative review stands out by itself, but a negative review in-between 10 positive reviews falls in the shadows. Unfortunately, it’s usually a disproportionate number of people with bad experiences that leave a review. This means that you have to use a little elbow grease and work to have positive reviews come in – verbally encourage your patients, send a follow-up email after an appointment, have a flyer/handout in your office. Whatever you do, don’t collect and upload reviews yourself – this is a policy violation on almost every review site.
- Learn from what patients are saying. The worst thing you can do is simply ignore what patients are saying. Negative online reviews do provide beneficial information about what patients are truly thinking. Use this as a learning session. Do people perceive the doctor as cold and uncaring? It may be totally unintentional, but now you know to make a concerted effort to make patients feel more at ease. Is there an issue with the office staff’s efficiency? You may never have known otherwise, but now you can take a look at process improvements for your practice. Don’t simply respond to patients and forget what was said – see what you can truly learn about their collective experiences.
Negative reviews are a reality for all medical practices at some point. That’s why it’s so important to monitor what people are saying about you and preparing to deal with negative posts when they come. Of course, if you need additional help managing your reputation, give us a call. We’d be happy to help you put your best foot forward and grow your practice.
Instituting Cycle Billing
Are you sending all of your bills once a month and getting a rush of questions and calls? Have you considered Cycle Billing?
Cycle billing is – a method of billing customers at monthly intervals in which statements are prepared on each working day of the month and mailed to a designated fraction of the total number of customers.
Get Paid Faster
By breaking up your bills and sending them out in cycles each week or even every other week, you can get paid faster and you can reduce the rush of calls to the office after big batches are sent. By getting your bills out fast you get paid fast. This is especially true for self-pay accounts. The quicker you get the bill out the greater chances you have to collect that balance.
Cycle billing also allows you to give more attention to specific bills. You can break down the large batches to manageable sizes and give each patient account the attention it may need. This will help to reduce the number of unnecessary statements and allow you time to add notes or color to the needed statements.
With BillFlash you can send statement batches as often as you would like. With the Review function, you can add notes, delete statements from the batch, change the statement color and even choose delivery method of mail, eBill or both.
Make It Easier
By incorporating the BillFlash Pay Services you can also reduce this stress on your office by allowing patients to manage statements and pay online.
Whether you use cycle billing or not. The full BillFlash suite offers you the tools you need to collect payments and reduce the stress of a monthly activity burst.
- Professionally printed statements
- HIPAA compliant email notifications
- Online payment portal
- Payments Anywhere, Anytime
- Online 24/7
- Over the phone
- Mailed payments
- Stored payment methods
- Payment plans
Contact MediPro, Inc. at 1.800.759.1321 opt 2 to set up your BillFlash suite of services.
Bill Flash tips provided by:
Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing | NexTrust
*BillFlash is a product of NexTrust
Plans for the Quality Payment Program in 2017: Pick Your Pace
As published on the CMS Blog 9/8/16
By Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator of CMS
As the baby boom generation ages, 10,000 people enter the Medicare program each day. Facing that demand, it is essential that Medicare continues to support physicians in delivering high-quality patient care. This includes increasing its focus on patient outcomes and reducing the obstacles that make it harder for physicians to practice good care.
The bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) offers the opportunity to advance these goals and put Medicare on surer footing. Among other policies, it repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and its annual payment cliffs, streamlines the existing patchwork of Medicare reporting programs, and provides opportunities for physicians and other clinicians to earn more by focusing on quality patient care. We are referring to these provisions of MACRA collectively as the Quality Payment Program.
We received feedback on our April proposal for implementing the Quality Payment Program, both in writing and as we talked to thousands of physicians and other clinicians across the country. Universally, the clinician community wants a system that begins and ends with what’s right for the patient. We heard from physicians and other clinicians on how technology can help with patient care and how excessive reporting can distract from patient care; how new programs like medical homes can be encouraged; and the unique issues facing small and rural non-hospital-based physicians. We will address these areas and the many other comments we received when we release the final rule by November 1, 2016.
But, with the Quality Payment Program set to begin on January 1, 2017, we wanted to share our plans for the timing of reporting for the first year of the program. In recognition of the wide diversity of physician practices, we intend for the Quality Payment Program to allow physicians to pick their pace of participation for the first performance period that begins January 1, 2017. During 2017, eligible physicians and other clinicians will have multiple options for participation. Choosing one of these options would ensure you do not receive a negative payment adjustment in 2019. These options and other supporting details will be described fully in the final rule.
First Option: Test the Quality Payment Program.
With this option, as long as you submit some data to the Quality Payment Program, including data from after January 1, 2017, you will avoid a negative payment adjustment. This first option is designed to ensure that your system is working and that you are prepared for broader participation in 2018 and 2019 as you learn more.
Second Option: Participate for part of the calendar year.
You may choose to submit Quality Payment Program information for a reduced number of days. This means your first performance period could begin later than January 1, 2017 and your practice could still qualify for a small positive payment adjustment. For example, if you submit information for part of the calendar year for quality measures, how your practice uses technology, and what improvement activities your practice is undertaking, you could qualify for a small positive payment adjustment. You could select from the list of quality measures and improvement activities available under the Quality Payment Program.
Third Option: Participate for the full calendar year.
For practices that are ready to go on January 1, 2017, you may choose to submit Quality Payment Program information for a full calendar year. This means your first performance period would begin on January 1, 2017. For example, if you submit information for the entire year on quality measures, how your practice uses technology, and what improvement activities your practice is undertaking, you could qualify for a modest positive payment adjustment. We’ve seen physician practices of all sizes successfully submit a full year’s quality data, and expect many will be ready to do so.
Fourth Option: Participate in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model in 2017.
Instead of reporting quality data and other information, the law allows you to participate in the Quality Payment Program by joining an Advanced Alternative Payment Model, such as Medicare Shared Savings Track 2 or 3 in 2017. If you receive enough of your Medicare payments or see enough of your Medicare patients through the Advanced Alternative Payment Model in 2017, then you would qualify for a 5 percent incentive payment in 2019.
However you choose to participate in 2017, we will have resources available to assist you and walk you through what needs to be done. And however you choose to participate, your feedback will be invaluable to building this program for the long term to achieve outcomes that matter to your patients.
We appreciate the sincere and constructive participation in the feedback process to date and look forward to advancing step-by-step in that same spirit. We look forward to releasing the final details about the program this fall. Most importantly, we look forward to further engagement with physicians and other clinicians toward our shared goal of the highest quality of care and best outcomes for patients.
For More Information
Surescripts: E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances Jumps 600 Percent
The number of transactions over the Surescripts network increased by 48 percent in 2015, according to the company’s 2015 National Progress Report.
Surescripts performed 9.7 billion secure health data transactions in 2015, including 1.4 billion electronic prescriptions, 1.05 billion medication histories and 15.3 million clinical messages.
Last year, after processing 6.5 billion transactions, it reported its volume surpassed that of American Express (6 billion) and PayPal (4.2 billion). Its numbers top the daily number of Amazon packages shipped (1.4 million) and Uber rides (2 million), according to an announcement.
What’s more, Surescripts says, 77 percent of prescriptions were submitted digitally in 2015, compared with 67 percent in 2014, and 58 percent in 2013.
The number of providers who now can prescribe controlled substances digitally also increased 359 percent in 2015, resulting in a more than 600 percent jump in orders for such drugs. Painkillers such as morphine and oxycodone made up 32 percent of all controlled substance e-prescriptions in December 2015.
Devon Herrik, Ph.D., a senior fellow for the National Center for Policy Analysis, recently urged making e-prescribing mandatory for controlled substances as a means to address the opioid crisis.
New York has done so as part of a larger law called the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act of 2012 (I-STOP), intended to reduce drug diversion and doctor shopping. It has the highest rate of e-prescribing for controlled substances, according to Surescripts data.
Maine, following New York’s lead, in April became the second state to enact the requirement.
SOURCE: Susan D. Hall | August 17, 2016 | FierceHealthcare
NOTE: The CureMD software has Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) with Surescripts readily available to add to a physician’s work flow. Please contact us at 1.800.759.1321 opt 2 to learn more.
Like a GPS for your Medical Practice
One of the first things you see when sliding into the driver’s seat of an automobile is the illustrious dashboard. It is typically loaded with lights, a speedometer, a tachometer, gauges, and warning icons. This ornate tool can be one of the first items we like or dislike about a vehicle. Soft colors and various shapes play a big role on my visual preference list.
With some similarities to an automobile dashboard, there are Practice Management & Electronic Health Records (PM/EHR) software programs that have dashboards with the intended goal of viewing a glimpse of practice operations whether it be Clinical or Billing centric. How many medical software systems put a great deal of thought into placement, user flexibility, immediate data availability, and real-time interaction in their often underdeveloped dashboard? Probably not many.
I actually had the pleasure of designing my own PM/EHR dashboard in one of the cloud-based software programs we offer. Do I consider myself a software developer? No, but what I have found is this ultimate user experience resonates throughout the software. I can select key performance indicators like the top 10 diagnoses in my practice with graphical presentation, easily address all of my internal electronic messages from fellow staff members, and quickly access any unsigned notes that need to be finished. It’s no problem juggling the enormity of lab orders and results which are nicely organized, efficiently address eRX refill requests with time to spare, see statuses on government incentive programs, and review what is happening in Accounts Receivable land. One could consider this multi-purpose dashboard as a Global Positioning System (GPS) for a busy practice.
My mother always told me to “appreciate the little things” of which I still do to this day. It is these little things that can thrust a medical software user into euphoria or a dismal day if not thoughtfully designed and flexible. If you have an underperforming, underwhelming Practice Management and or Electronic Health Records program, I encourage you to give us a call to see where our GPS can take your medical practice.
Dana Deardorff is the Office Administrator at MediPro, Inc. She is working toward her 13th year in the medical software industry and specializes in the many challenges independent physicians face in today’s healthcare marketplace.