Doctors are preoccupied with physician review sites and the potential for bad press. Often the first impulse is to put the law on your side. Consider, for example, Dr. Kimberly Henry, cosmetic surgeon who last year initiated legal action against at least 12 reviewers from sites such as Yelp.com and DoctorScorecard.com.
While she may feel some sense of satisfaction in her quest for justice, I’m guessing many read the reviews to see what the fuss is all about.
Actions like these reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of modern reputation management. Physicians who react against patient dialog should understand the Streisand Effect. The Streisand Effect is an online phenomenon in which the attempt to remove or hide information is met with the unintended consequence of greater attention.
Instead of a prohibitive, reactive position against patient comments and review sites, doctors should consider a preemptive, proactive approach to dialog. Andy Sernovitz had it right when he suggested, ‘the solution to pollution is dilution.’ Work for good ink. It’s hard to get worked up about 10 poor reviews when you have 350 great reviews.
When physicians take action against patient reviews or even work to prevent reviews they raise a glaring red flag. We’re unlikely to win the battle against public dialog.