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Can online reviews help counter negligent doctors?

It is a fact of life. If a customer has a bad experience in an interaction with your organization chances are better than even that a comment about it will make its way onto the Internet. Doctors are not immune from this reality, but for some reason they seem to have tended to be slow to recognize it.

If a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is any indication, though, the many good doctors that are out there probably can't afford to waste any more time playing catch-up. 

That's the view of Dr. Gus Geraci, chief medical officer for the Pennsylvania Medical Society. He suggests that doctors who fail to manage how they are being talked about online could find themselves losing business. Or, in a world in which more doctors are employees, they could find themselves out of a job.

On one hand, the development of the Internet and its ability to spread word-of-mouth reviews has been a boon for society. One might argue that since the Web came along, more patients have been saved from the

of negligent and reckless doctors than in the past.

That does not mean that mistakes don't still happen. They do, and when they occur, the victims of that malpractice have a right to seek compensation for the pain and suffering they've endured. 

As Dr. Geraci's sees it, if doctors ignore what's being said about them online, one bad review could overshadow all the positive things they have done in their careers. So his prescription is for doctors to be more proactive about capturing patient (customer) opinions through regular surveys and then posting the results.

Of course, some experts might argue that all this might be unnecessary if consumers could have confidence that doctor groups and medical boards were doing a better job of policing the industry.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "

Online reviews prompt doctors to be proactive

," Steve Twedt, Feb. 23, 2014

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