Online Review Survival Checklist

Doctors and office managers alike cringe at the thought of a negative review sprouting up about their practice. When it comes to online reputation, social media is NOT a set it and forget tool. Creating and managing an online reputation takes continued time, effort and energy. Many practices regularly encourage positive reviews as a way of establishing an amazing online reputation for their practice – which is a great strategy and highly recommended.

Unfortunately, practices are susceptible to negative reviews as well. Thankfully, Off the Cusp has your back! Over the years, several Off the Cusp contributors have shared tips and guidelines to help grow and protect your online reputation. Below is a checklist and links to past articles that you can reference again and again. Just bookmark this link and the guidance will be here waiting for you.


Monitor what is being said about you. Search Google, Yahoo and Bing on a quarterly basis, use Google Alerts, or apps like Mention.

Response Options

Know what your options are when it comes to responding to reviews – without violating HIPAA. See HIPAA advisor Linda Harvey’s recommendation here:

Linda Harvey, RDH, MS, LHRM, advice on responding to reviews:

“When responding to a patient’s review or comment on social media it’s not a HIPAA violation if you do not divulge any protected health information (PHI). Assuming the comment or review was positive, I would limit your response by either giving them a like, a smiley face, or simply saying ‘thank you’. This prevents the office from divulging any potentially sensitive information on social media without the patient’s prior authorization.”

Rehearse and Plan

Rehearse potential negative review situations and plan how you can respond. Learn how large companies are investing in “war room” workshops to prepare for potential PR blunders.

Establish Your Presence

Have an established social media presence and abundance of positive reviews to help minimize any negativity.


Keep a list of advisors handy. Who is the first person you are going to contact in case of an online reputation emergency?

Stay Calm

Cool off. It’s never a good idea to post a response when emotions are heated. Contact your advisor and give your perspective a chance to refocus.

Lastly, know your core values. As Roy E. Disney said, “It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your core values are.” The same holds true for everything you post and say on social media. The more confident you are about your core values, the easier it is to respond in challenging situations. Learn more about core values and creating a winning brand on social media here:

What is your online review and reputation plan? Are you and your team using a multi-pronged approach to invite reviews from patients? Are you established in social media? Do you know how to easily access your social media accounts? What is your deadline to get your reviews and reputation plan of action in place?