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

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.
Trending Blogs

11/19/2021 | Author: Geronda Wollack

I was on the couch with my wife during our daily “be present and reset” routine which includes reminiscing about our day, watching our favorite shows, and just being present with one another. Out of nowhere, she asked me a question that I wasn’t expecting- “Oh wait, what happened with the paid... Read more

10/26/2021 | Author: Steven Festa

Perhaps you're a recent graduate from Optometry School, or maybe you have spent time working in a corporate optometry practice, or even as an associate OD at an independent practice, and you have decided to go out on your own and open your own optometry... Read more

10/5/2021 | Author: Ximara Vega

How often do you think about your experiences as a consumer? What comes to mind when you reflect on positive interactions? How about negative? I don’t know about you, but for me the negative experiences are much more vivid. Many of those interactions occurred with someone who was well... Read more

9/30/2021 | Author: Amy Alvarez

When I was a retail manager, this would happen to me often. An employee would tell me they didn’t complete an important assigned task, or they would call out for their shift. And I could see it from both sides. They had a lot of conflicting responsibilities that day and yet, this task would... Read more

6/23/2021 | Author: Ximara Vega

School has ended and most of the world has opened back up. Many people I know have multiple weekend getaways, road trips and vacations scheduled because they are making up for lost time. You know what that means? We are surrounded by opportunities to sell sun!!!! The only problem is not... Read more

6/14/2021 | Author: Amy Alvarez

If you are recruiting staff for your practice, you are probably experiencing hiring woes. Some are new - it is a tight job market. Not everyone is able to go back to work depending on their individual circumstances and some employers need more employees than before to meet their current... Read more

5/5/2021 | Author: Nathan Hayes

With the spike in patient demand following the COVID-19 Pandemic, many owners are actively recruiting associate ODs to help carry their increased demand. And any owner looking to hire an associate right now knows that the market is tight.

My feeling is we have an outright shortage of... Read more

3/30/2021 | Author: Geronda Wollack

Managing your staff can be challenging! Am I right? Or am I right? Now, managing your staff and feeling confident with whether you are being compliant poses a different level of challenges. I will share a story to illustrate this challenge.

I had a consult with an Office Manager who... Read more

3/30/2021 | Author: Amy Alvarez

Signed into law on March 11th, 2021, The American Rescue Plan Act offers an extension to Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This provision added additional reasons the leave can be used as well as increasing the cap on eligible compensation for a tax credit.

FFCRA... Read more

3/12/2021 | Author: Ximara Vega

What should a practice do when they have lingering product? Well, 1st we have to identify what lingering product is. In my world, lingering product includes all frames that have been sitting on the shelf for a minimum of 6 months. I like to evaluate product every quarter to identify... Read more

© 2021 IDOC. All Rights Reserved