Fertility Reviews

28 Scathing Words for REs Across Fertility Center Reviews

By Griffin Jones

If you are a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), you don't have an easy job. I don't mention this to state the obvious, nor flatter you, nor am I referring to surgical talent, study, or training.

It's heir-apparent that one of the most difficult aspects of the role of an RE is serving a population under enormous emotional and mental stress, who are often financially burdened, subject to unfair social pressure, all within great deal of outcome-uncertainty.

I chose to make the wordcloud from the 28 most common negative adjectives used, those that were each used in five or more reviews.

I chose to make the wordcloud from the 28 most common negative adjectives used, those that were each used in five or more reviews.

When the fragility of this accord is overwhelmed, the RE's public image often suffers in the form of negative online reviews. I'm not referring to recurring themes across several reviews that really help us understand the personality of a doctor before meeting him or her. If twelve different reviewers use the word "arrogant" to describe you, then you're arrogant. If it's common enough, then it's true that perception is reality.

I'm concerned when an RE's message is interpreted in a completely different way than it was intended. It's bad for the practice, and above all, so many of you have told me how it really upsets you. I have begun a project to comprehensively analyze RE and fertility clinic reviews, to establish a resource of actions that lead to the highest possible level of patient satisfaction.

This second phase of this project is an in-depth analysis I did of 130 RE reviews on ratemds.com. I formed several key anecdotal observations, but I was most interested in aggregating a set of data for you.  So I focused only on the negative adjectives used to describe REs and their staff. I skipped over those reviews where no adjectives were used. Each adjective counted only once per review, regardless of how many times it was used. The final tally included:

  • 130 REs 
  • 349 reviews
  • 119 different adjectives

As you can see from the word cloud above, the word "rude" was the most common adjective used. In fact, it appeared in 91 different reviews. The data is important because it frames how certain experiences are later recounted to a much broader audience on the web. Understanding the language of dissatisfied patients provides insight to the interactions that lead to their expression of frustration.

Equally, analyzing the language of positive reviews is just as important. Will those words be the exact opposites of the most common negative adjectives, or will others be used? More importantly, the feedback of delighted patients is the compass for the growth of the practice. Comparing the languages of delighted patients and of aggrieved patients will help us form a support-guide for maximizing patient delight and improving staff and physician morale. I expect to have the positive review word cloud done for you by Thanksgiving (2015).

If you would like the raw data from this report, I will be happy to send you the spreadsheet. Just e-mail me at griffin@fertilitybridge.com or leave a comment below.

If you'd like a little further explanation of the data, you can watch my video post here:

4 Reliable Guidelines for Responding to Positive Fertility Clinic Reviews

By Griffin Jones

Fertility centers and reproductive endocrinologists are often instructed to respond to negative reviews. Yet we hear a lot less about responding to positive reviews. It is every bit as important to respond to positive reviews as it is to respond to negative reviews.

An example of a positive fertility clinic review on Facebook with no response.

An example of a positive fertility clinic review on Facebook with no response.

These are the patients that bring us the most “word of mouth” referrals. They have spent a wealth of money, time, and emotional energy with your practice. Acknowledging and thanking them is part of the patient experience. Responding to happy patients shows tremendous dedication and good character.

Here are my guidelines for responding to positive RE reviews: 
1.    Match the tone, length, and enthusiasm of the commenter.
2.    Be human: Comment on how cute the photo of their child is, use emojis if they’ve used emojis, etc.
3.    Tell them you will pass on their compliment to the person they referenced.
4.    Do not add any context beyond what is revealed in their comment. You want to be social and authentic, just be careful not to include any new information. That could be PHI.

This is how I would respond to a real life RE review:

Review: “Dr. T and his staff are awesome. My wife and I had been to 2 other fertility doctors before seeing Dr. T and he is by far better. He is caring, knowledgeable, honest and patient. We highly recommend Dr. T and his staff”.

My ideal response: "Thank you so much for your incredible words, Kyle. We are honored to hear that you think both Dr. T and our staff are awesome and we will definitely let them know. We are so grateful that you would take the time out of your day to make us feel good". 

Want extra credit? The response will always carry more value if it comes from the physician herself. 

6 Critical Rules for Responding to Negative RE Reviews

By Griffin Jones

Here is the most important thing for reproductive endocrinologist and infertility (REI) specialists to keep in mind when responding to reviews: the reviewer is not the only person to whom you are responding. The reviewer has an audience. That audience is comprised of the people who are using these reviews to decide if they should become your patient. This is why Google ranks these sites on the first page of a search for your fertility center or physician name. 

These are my rules for responding to negative reviews:
1.    Address the commenter by his or her first name (if given).
2.    Acknowledge their right to their feeling of concern or frustration.
3.    Respond as quickly as possible.
4.    Do not respond to “vindictive” reviews. Vindictive reviews (example below) can be characterized by the presence of name calling, vulgarity, and/or lack of reference to a particular problem. Instead of reaching a solution, a response is more likely to invite further insult. 
5.    Never combat, discredit, or insult the reviewer. 
6.    Do not attempt to explain away the situation. Often, when I see physicians do this online, they invite a HIPAA risk. Ex: “Well Sandra, that day when you were in the office...” can be argued as adding protected health information (PHI). Don’t do it. 

It is okay to ignore vindictive reviews like these: 
"Save yourself from this place. horrible. horrible.horrible. unprofessional worker with no medical background”.

This is an example of how I would respond to a real life negative review:

Excerpt from review: “I went to Dr B's office about 5 times over a 2 month period. I never saw Dr B until the 5th time and it was only for about 2 minutes.”

Example response: "Trish, while we can't comment on any specific case, we’re very sorry when someone doesn't get the one on one time with Dr. B that they were looking forward to. We truly believe in our whole team and their ability to provide excellent care, but when someone wants the opportunity to have a conversation with your physician, they certainly deserve it. Please send us a direct message and we can direct this conversation to the appropriate channels. Hope you had a great weekend- Dr. B’s office".

From my experience, it’s not terribly likely that Trish will take the practice up on their offer. Whether she does or not, the objective is that:
1.    The patient is acknowledged and valued.
2.    She may even revise her review to a higher rating. 
3.    The prospective patient sees that the practice will address her own concerns and take measures to ensure the satisfaction of her care.

Have you ever been able to resolve a negative review by responding?

4 Powerful Facts About Fertility Center Reviews to Improve Your Practice

By Griffin Jones

Online reviews are your practice’s public image to everyone who has not been inside your clinic and interacted with your staff. Your most common ratings are what patients see when they type your practice name into a Google search. Your online reputation correlates to patient experience.  If your patient experience is critically flawed, no amount of internet marketing will save your online reputation. Equally, many practices do an excellent job of caring for their patients, yet that remarkable care is invisible to the rest of the world.

Providing an outstanding patient experience both impacts and extends to online interaction. In other words, how you interact with your patient community online is part of their overall experience with your practice.  

Practices sometimes view online review sites as a reputation liability, yet this very thought is the true liability. It is perilous to cling to control of public opinion in the age of ubiquitous transparency. Patients use online reviews to select their fertility centers, and the number is only increasing. Rapidly. Here is a look at the data:

1). The number of patients using online reviews jumped 68 percent from 2013 to 2014.  
2). Among those who sought online physician ratings in the past year, 35 percent reported selecting a physician based on good ratings and 37 percent had avoided a physician with bad ratings
3). The three most trusted review sites for healthcare professionals are Yelp, Healthgrades, and RateMDs. 
4). Three and a half stars is the median rating for an RE on ratemds.com. Depending on the city where your practice is located, certain review sites are more relevant than others. 
Online review sites are a tremendous improvement tool for your practice. Executing on the feedback from a range of reviewers puts your practice in a position to increase business rapidly. For example, if you have twenty seven reviews on yelp.com, and six of them say that a particular nurse made them feel outstanding, then you have a data source to make more educated personnel decisions. If your website is set up to convert new patients, you will be able to measure the success of the changes that you apply. 


What Makes Online Reviews Different For Fertility Centers

By Griffin Jones

I shot this video post back in June after the 2015 Midwest Reproductive Symposium. The way infertility patients use online reviews for their Reproductive Endocrinologists and their practices is vastly different from most other categories. Facebook is by far the most positive review source for fertility centers. Yelp is certainly the most negative. Other sites, such as RateMDs, ZocDoc, HealthGrades, and Fertility Authority tend to fall in between the two ends. 

I explain how reviews from your practice and other healthcare categories, how they differ for each platform, and what that means.