How Patient Reviews Impact Your Public Perception

In the plastic surgery industry, patient reviews have become the cornerstone for shaping public perception and influencing potential patients’ decisions. However, as crucial as these reviews are, they come with their own set of complexities and biases. For aesthetic practices, there are five key points that plastic surgeons need to keep in mind to make the most of their online public perception.

1. Types and Tone of Reviews

Patient reviews are critical to building social proof. While they offer insights into a patient’s experience, they can also be biased and sometimes even manipulated. Plastic surgery patients need to evaluate each review and understand that post-procedure solicitations may lead to skewed positive feedback. Additionally, some review management companies selectively publish positive reviews, which can distort the true patient satisfaction level. An unbiased view is essential in evaluating the authenticity and relevance of each review.

Balanced Approach to Reviews

It’s important to maintain a natural and balanced perspective when acquiring patient reviews. Extreme opinions, whether overly negative or excessively positive, should be taken with a grain of salt. Reviews that detail specific experiences and outcomes are more valuable, as they provide a clearer picture of the surgeon’s skill and the patient’s surgical journey. Aesthetic providers should focus on these nuanced reviews to gain a more accurate understanding of patient satisfaction and areas for improvement.

Overly Negative or Excessively Positive Reviews

  1. Overly Negative Review: “This was the worst experience of my life! The surgeon was completely incompetent, and the staff was rude. I would never recommend this place to anyone. Stay away!”
  2. Excessively Positive Review: “Absolutely amazing! The best surgeon in the world! The results were perfect, and the service was outstanding. I couldn’t be happier. Highly recommend this office to everyone!”

A  More Valuable Type of Review

  • Detail-Specific Review: “I had a rhinoplasty with Dr. Smith three months ago. The process was well-explained during my consultation, and the staff was attentive throughout. Post-surgery, I experienced minimal discomfort, and the follow-up care was thorough. The surgery corrected the slight bump on my nose, just as I wanted. I’m pleased with the natural-looking results.”

What is the difference?

  1. Specificity: Unlike the overly negative or positive reviews, this one provides specific details about the procedure (rhinoplasty), the recovery experience (minimal discomfort, thorough follow-up care), and the outcome (correction of a bump, natural-looking results).
  2. Balanced Tone: This review avoids extreme language. It’s informative and focuses on the actual experience rather than just expressing strong emotions.
  3. Credibility: The inclusion of specific aspects like the type of surgery, recovery process, and results adds credibility. It sounds like a genuine account from a patient, rather than a vague or exaggerated claim.

2. Verification of Credentials

While patient reviews are informative, they are not the sole indicator of a plastic surgeon’s expertise. Verifying a plastic surgeon’s credentials, such as board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery, is crucial. This not only ensures the surgeon’s qualifications but also builds trust and credibility among potential patients. Surgeons should highlight these credentials in their marketing materials to reassure clients of the surgeon’s professional standing.

3. Value of Word-of-Mouth and Professional Recommendations

Traditional word-of-mouth remains a valuable tool in the aesthetics industry. Recommendations from other medical professionals and the hospital community can provide deeper insights into a surgeon’s reputation and expertise. These peer-reviewed endorsements are often perceived as more reliable than patient reviews and should be a key component of a plastic surgeon’s marketing messaging. An example would be a peer-nominated award like the Castle Connelly Top Doctors.

4. Inside The Digital Landscape of Patient Reviews

The digital era has made patient reviews more accessible but also more susceptible to misinformation. Aesthetic surgeons and marketers must be adept at navigating this landscape, understanding the nuances of online reviews. They should employ strategies to encourage genuine reviews and respond appropriately to feedback, both positive and negative. This approach not only enhances the surgeon’s reputation but also demonstrates a commitment to patient satisfaction and continuous improvement.

Platforms for Checking Plastic Surgery Reviews

The most visited platforms for checking plastic surgery reviews are somewhat specialized compared to general business review sites. They include:

  1. Google My Business: While not specific to plastic surgery, this is by far the most influential platform for patient reviews to assess the reputation of surgeons and their practices.
  2. RealSelf: Specifically tailored for cosmetic procedures, RealSelf is a popular platform where patients share experiences and rate plastic surgeons.
  3. Healthgrades: This site provides ratings and reviews for doctors, including plastic surgeons, and includes information about their credentials and patient satisfaction scores.
  4. RateMDs: Similar to Healthgrades, RateMDs offers reviews and ratings specifically for doctors, including plastic surgeons.
  5. Vitals: This platform provides patient reviews and ratings on doctors, with a focus on their skills, bedside manner, and overall patient experiences.
  6. Facebook: These reviews are often extremely valuable and can spark community discussion that can increase the value of the review sustainability.
  7. Yelp: Although broader in scope, Yelp is also used by patients to review and read about experiences with plastic surgeons.

5. Tools and Strategies

For surgeons looking to gather patient reviews, several tools and strategies are available:

  1. Automated Email Follow-Ups: Post-appointment email systems can prompt patients to leave a review, making it convenient for them to share their experiences.
  2. Review Management Software: Tools like Podium, BirdEye, or help healthcare providers manage their online reputation and streamline the process of collecting and responding to reviews.
  3. Patient Satisfaction Surveys: Conducting surveys through platforms like SurveyMonkey or using custom survey tools integrated into patient management systems can provide valuable feedback.
  4. Social Media Engagement: Actively engaging with patients on platforms like Facebook or Instagram and encouraging them to share their experiences can lead to organic reviews.
  5. QR Codes in Clinics: Displaying QR codes in the clinic that link directly to review platforms can make it easier for patients to leave reviews immediately after their consultation or procedure.
  6. In-Office Tablets or Kiosks: Some practices provide tablets or kiosks where patients can quickly leave reviews while they are in the office.
  7. Ethical Incentives: Offering small tokens of appreciation, like discounts on future consultations or skincare products, for leaving a review can be effective, but it’s important to ensure this is done ethically and in compliance with platform guidelines.

Marketing Technology for Reviews

For aesthetics surgeons looking to generate patient reviews, there are several software tools designed to streamline this process while adhering to privacy and ethical guidelines. Some of the notable ones include:

  1. RealPatientRatings™: This platform is specifically designed for medical practices, including plastic surgeons. It collects and publishes patient reviews, ensuring authenticity as the feedback is from verified patients.
  2. Solutionreach: This tool focuses on patient relationship management. It offers features like automated appointment reminders and follow-ups, which can include prompts for patients to leave reviews.
  3. BirdEye: A comprehensive platform that helps in collecting, monitoring, and marketing patient reviews. BirdEye also provides tools for managing online reputation and interacting with patients through various channels.
  4. Podium: This tool is effective for managing online reviews and interactions. Podium allows practices to send review invitations via text message, making it easy for patients to leave feedback.
  5. ReviewTrackers: This app offers features for monitoring reviews across various platforms, analyzing patient feedback, and generating reports to understand patient satisfaction trends.
  6. Weave: A unique tool that combines patient communication with review management. It allows practices to automate review requests via text messages and emails.
  7. Demandforce: An automated marketing and communications software that helps practices build a better online reputation and increase patient engagement.

When choosing a tool, or a strategy for collecting patient reviews, it’s important to consider factors like ease of use, integration with an existing practice management systems, compliance with healthcare privacy laws, and the ability to respond to reviews in a HIPAA-compliant manner.

A Critical and Balanced Perspective

Patient reviews are a vital part of the plastic surgery industry, influencing both reputation and patient decisions. However, aesthetic surgeons and patients must approach these reviews with a critical and balanced perspective, understanding their limitations and potential biases. By combining patient feedback with verified credentials, professional endorsements, and a savvy digital strategy, surgeons can build a trustworthy and respected practice that resonates with both existing and potential clients.

If you have any questions about enhancing your online reception, or if you are interested in acting on any of our suggestions above, MD Internet Marketing Media is here to help. Please contact us today, and one of our plastic surgery marketing experts will be happy to assist you in any way we can.


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