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Now more than ever, word-of-mouth reviews play a major role in building healthcare brands, as patients often consider success stories and online reviews before choosing their primary care facility. On social media, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and other social platforms provide a great opportunity for healthcare providers to reach patients and create a conversation around their brands. When a negative review appears or a social media conversation turns sour, the right points of action will not only reverse the situation, but also boost your brand’s clout. But how do you prepare for a critical comment on social media or a negative review from a patient in a way that adheres to patient privacy and compliance sensitivities?

1. Engage with your base. Whether a comment is positive, negative or neutral, responding to social media posts is a crucial way to demonstrate your brand’s dedication to patient experience. Designating a social media auditor in charge of monitoring and responding to comments will ensure comments are quickly evaluated and addressed.

2. Communicate the issue internally. Before responding to an issue, receive guidance from your facility’s decision-makers, communications team and legal representation, if necessary. When crafting a response, be sure the messaging aligns with your brand’s vision and mission. If you have a question about privacy or the legality of responding to a healthcare complaint, don’t hesitate to consult a patient experience advocate or legal professional. As healthcare is one of the most privacy-sensitive industries, be sure to keep all personal details offline. Instead, make yourself available for a phone call if the patient wants to delve into specifics about his or her condition.

3. Respond with compassion and intelligence. If a comment or review is positive, take the time to extend gratitude; if the comment or review is negative, craft a solution-based response that both validates the patient’s experience and expresses a willingness to improve. Acknowledging the sentiments of your client base publicly through social media channels will bolster your brand’s reputation for engaged and efficient patient experience.

4. Develop a protocol. After addressing the situation, gather your internal team to discuss how the team can apply best practices going forward as the new standard. Approaching reputation management from a strategic perspective will better prepare your team for highly efficient patient engagement in the future.

As social media platforms and online review websites continue to grow in popularity, they become exponentially important tools for reputation management. While the conversation is taking place on an online platform, it is still a reflection of the in-person experience, and requires the same level of care. Taking steps to routinely monitor and navigate these conversations in a thoughtful and compassionate way will strengthen your brand and improve the quality of your patients’ overall experience.

Orange Social is a social media strategy program developed by Orange Label. Offering a two-pronged approach that addresses both social media strategy and implementation, Orange Social is designed to keep brands at the forefront of social media innovation. To learn more about Orange Social, visit

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