Blog
Blog
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Blog
IDOC actively shares industry-focused articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos and other thought leadership with our members and other optometric practitioners. Below, you will find links to our growing library of educational materials and multi-media assets written and created by IDOC's team of seasoned industry experts.
Maddie Langston | 8/13/2020
ONLINE REVIEWS, SOCIAL MEDIA & HIPAA COMPLIANCE FOR OPTOMETRISTS

Let’s say one day after an exam and a visit in your optical, a patient reviews their experience on your Google business listing and Yelp.

The review includes many details which makes it clear to anyone reading that they visited the practice, had an exam, and worked with an optician. It’s mostly a positive review, but the patient mentions they were confused and frustrated about the out of pocket expense when checking out – they thought the entire visit and the order placed for glasses would be covered by their insurance, and insinuate that the practice is somehow in the wrong.

When you read the review, you decide to educate not only the patient but others who may read your response about vision plans, medical insurance, and co-pays. You address the patient directly, so that anyone reading the response understands that this person is indeed your patient.

After all, this is a public forum. It’s the internet. Surely the patient gave up the right to privacy by sharing all that detail about their visit on the internet, and you don’t want to see your practice portrayed in a negative light on Google and Yelp. You have good intentions! You want anyone reading that review to understand your side of the situation.

Despite the good intentions you have, when a patient shares a first-hand account of their experience with you on a public review site or on social media, this does not give you permission to publicly acknowledge that this person is a patient.

According to Abyde, a strategic partner to IDOC which provides HIPAA compliance software and education to optometry practices, patients are not held to the same restrictions as the practice and may post about visiting you at the office (on the internet) – but even if the patient posts, no practice employee is permitted to acknowledge or respond to their post or comment – even if tagged – in any way that acknowledges the patient came to the practice.

So how should you respond to an online review or social media comment?

The appropriate, HIPAA-compliant method for responding to online reviews and comments on social media is to write a generic response which doesn’t directly acknowledge the patient. Here is an example of how you could respond to the patient’s review that they were frustrated at the out of pocket expense:

"Thank you. Our mission at the practice is to provide excellent eye care and customer service. Please call or email our practice with any questions or concerns."

This response does not directly address the details of the experience and encourages the patient to contact the practice offline. It is also friendly and demonstrates that the practice cares about patient feedback.

I acknowledge the challenge you have as a practice owner or manager when it comes to interacting with patients on review sites and social media because of HIPAA, but you can be HIPAA-compliant and present a responsive, professional and friendly tone in all of your public responses which will serve your brand well.

Maddie Langston
Associate Director, Marketing Services
Maddie Langston brings extensive experience in marketing and sales administration and has developed strategies and platforms to drive sales for organizations in the fitness and business services industries. Most recently, Maddie developed marketing programs for a national network of independently owned auto repair service centers. This is where she developed her passion for partnering with small business owners to help them compete with franchises and big box retail chains. Maddie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Liberty University. She is excited to be a part of the IDOC team, and to help you utilize marketing to brand your practice, retain patients, and drive new patients to you.
 LinkedIn
Trending Blogs
 
 

9/9/2022 | Author: Maddie Langston

 

If you are looking to increase the number of new patients at your practice, then your marketing strategy should include working on how to get noticed in local online search results. One powerful way to increase your visibility in local search is to optimize and maintain the... Read more


8/22/2022 | Author: Kelsey Garcia

So you created a Facebook and Instagram account for your practice, but now what? Coming up with post ideas can be overwhelming and can quickly leave your creative “well” feeling dry. By categorizing your posts into three main buckets, you can easily streamline the brainstorming... Read more


8/5/2022 | Author: Dr. Steve Vargo

As I type this, the news is dominated by concerns over the economy, including unease around inflation and a looming recession. This has practice owners understandably concerned and asking, “What should I expect, and how can I prepare?”

I’m not an economist, and I... Read more


7/22/2022 | Author: Nathan Hayes

Do you worry that your staff aren’t consistently doing the little things in your practice? Do you lose sleep because you just ‘don’t know’ what’s happening outside your lane?  Do you struggle to find the time to oversee things?

Let me suggest that... Read more


7/15/2022 | Author: Amy Alvarez

I think I would be hard pressed to find an independent practice owner who doesn’t understand the power that marketing has on their ability to attract patients to their practice. Keeping patients, new and existing, visiting the practice is an important part of a successful... Read more


7/8/2022 | Author: Lana Greene

I have never spoken to a practice with a zero patient-owned-frame (POF) percentage. I encourage practices to strive for less than 25% POF percentage at a minimum, and less than 15% for the best-in-class. You may see a slight increase year-over-year, which will happen when you sell quality... Read more


5/19/2022 | Author: Dr. Steve Vargo

As research for launching a new service called IDOC Specialty Services, I interviewed several industry experts of various specialties. At the end of each call, I asked everyone the same question: “What prevents more ODs from succeeding with a specialty?”

Their answers were insightful.... Read more


5/3/2022 | Author: Amy Alvarez

The pandemic has caused many changes in private practice, affecting everything from the way we see our patients to what we expect from our employees. Although some of these changes serve us well, others may feel like a barrier. While attendance issues are not new... Read more


4/15/2022 | Author: Lana Greene

Do you ever wonder if the same amount of effort goes into selling eyeglass frames vs. selling lenses and treatment options? I certainly do. Speaking from experience as an optician, I remember always being so excited when new lens technology was released. I couldn’t wait to fit our... Read more


4/8/2022 | Author: Steven Festa

Alright, I will come clean on something very few people knew about outside my family.  I’m OK with sharing this with the world now as it helps prove a point about the importance of being present in local searches.

Ever since COVID started, my wonderful wife had started... Read more

© 2022 IDOC. All Rights Reserved