Freckles and Lawsuits

Virtually every physician knows that patient privacy is sacred. One needs a patient’s affirmative consent to disclose what is known as protected health information. This is covered by state and federal (HIPAA) privacy laws. If a doctor posts the medical record, that is disclosure of protected health information. If a doctor acknowledges a particular patient is indeed a patient [...]

By |June 20th, 2017|Categories: Compliance|2 Comments

How Facebook Saved My Patient’s Life 

Sometimes you need a nugget of medical information – pronto. If your patient has been in a hospital, you likely have access to reams of data. Finding your nugget may take seconds, minutes, or hours. You may never find it.   A number of years ago, Dr. Kamal Thapar, a Wisconsin neurosurgeon, gave a talk on how Facebook provided the nugget [...]

By |June 6th, 2017|Categories: Compliance, Frontpage Article, News|0 Comments

Upside-Down World – A Patient Sues You to Keep Taking Care of Them

Normally, when a patient sues a doctor, he is unhappy with the care. He wants money for damages the doctor allegedly caused. Most rational people do not continue to see the same doctor if they believe that doctor negligently harmed them  As Einstein once said: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different [...]

By |May 30th, 2017|Categories: Compliance, News|2 Comments

How Doctors Can Avoid Getting Slammed by the FTC and TCPA – Diffusing Marketing Landmines – Part V

Maintaining compliance with HIPAA, TCPA, the FTC, and the host of other regulatory boards is complicated. An inadvertent error can result in massive fines, but there is much to be gained from a smart online strategy if you avoid the minefield of potential violations. For the next five weeks, we’re breaking down five marketing landmines that risk HIPAA and regulatory [...]

By |May 23rd, 2017|Categories: Compliance, Marketing, Online reviews, Practice management|1 Comment

Why Your Marketing Vendor May Be a HIPAA Landmine in Disguise – Diffusing Marketing Landmines – Part IV

Maintaining compliance with HIPAA, TCPA, the FTC, and the host of other regulatory boards is complicated. An inadvertent error can result in massive fines, but there is much to be gained from a smart online strategy if you avoid the minefield of potential violations. For the next five weeks, we’re breaking down five marketing landmines that risk HIPAA and regulatory [...]

By |May 16th, 2017|Categories: Compliance, Marketing, Practice management|6 Comments

Pass Your HIPAA Audits with Flying Colors – Diffusing Marketing Landmines – Part III

Maintaining compliance with HIPAA, TCPA, the FTC, and the host of other regulatory boards is complicated. An inadvertent error can result in massive fines, but there is much to be gained from a smart online strategy if you avoid the minefield of potential violations. For the next five weeks, we're breaking down five marketing landmines that risk HIPAA and regulatory [...]

By |May 12th, 2017|Categories: Compliance, Marketing, Practice management|0 Comments

Why Filtering Reviews is a Marketing Landmine – Part II

Maintaining compliance with HIPAA, TCPA, the FTC, and the host of other regulatory boards is complicated. An inadvertent error can result in massive fines, but there is much to be gained from a smart online strategy if you avoid the minefield of potential violations. For the next five weeks, we're breaking down five marketing landmines that risk HIPAA and regulatory [...]

By |May 5th, 2017|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|1 Comment

Beware of Responding to Online Reviews – Diffusing HIPAA Landmines – Part I

Maintaining compliance with HIPAA, TCPA, the FTC, and the host of other regulatory boards is complicated. An inadvertent error can result in massive fines, but there is much to be gained from a smart online strategy if you avoid the minefield of potential violations. For the next five weeks, we're breaking down five marketing landmines that risk HIPAA and regulatory [...]

By |April 28th, 2017|Categories: Compliance, Marketing, Online reputation, Online reviews|0 Comments

Jewelry Store Owner’s Son has to Pay Competitor Because of Fake Review

The jury has spoken. Stephen Blumberg owns Stephen Leigh Jewelers in Massachusetts. Toodie’s Fine Jewelry is a competitor. Allegedly, Adam Jacobs, a Toodie’s employee, wrote a multi-paragraph negative Yelp review about Stephen Leigh Jewelers. The review said he was looking for a 1.5 karat engagement ring and he had a negative experience. He then advised people similarly situated to [...]

By |April 20th, 2017|Categories: Compliance, Marketing, Online reviews|2 Comments

The Tax Man and Med-Mal Settlements

First, the obvious. This is not to be construed as tax advice. Now for some interesting nuggets. When people sue one another (or even threaten litigation) and money changes hands, there are tax implications. A recent article by Robert Wood dives deeper. A) Settlements and judgments are taxed similarly. Whether you come to a meetings of the minds on the [...]

By |April 12th, 2017|Categories: Compliance, Practice management|0 Comments

Preventing a Lawsuit – Always Seek Consent Before Searching a Patient’s Anus: Part 2

Here’s follow-up from a blog we posted in 2013. It was titled “Preventing a Lawsuit - Always Seek Consent Before Searching a Patient’s Anus”. Now we know its full title should have included “Part 1.” Two doctors were among many defendants sued by the American Civil Liberties Union. To recap this madness, see below. The outcome follows... Drs. Michael [...]

By |April 7th, 2017|Categories: Compliance, News|3 Comments

What NOT to do…

A Texas physician who performs aesthetic treatments recently agreed to disciplinary action by the Board of Medicine. In 2015, a patient underwent a series of non-invasive laser treatments with Dr. Tinuade Olugesugun-Gbadeham. Around May 27, 2015, the patient made a video testimonial on the results of these procedures. The patient gave consent to have photos and videos taken – [...]

By |March 31st, 2017|Categories: Compliance, Online reputation, Online reviews, Practice management|8 Comments

Damn, that’s awkward…

Ars Technica and the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported that Mayo Clinic is considering prioritizing patient care with private insurance over those with Medicare and Medicaid. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (which oversees Minnesota Medicaid), stated: “Fundamentally, it’s our expectation at DHS that Mayo Clinic will serve our enrollees in public programs on an equal standing with any other [...]

By |March 23rd, 2017|Categories: Frontpage Article, News, Practice management|4 Comments

These Docs Behaved Badly, but Should They Have Been Sued?

Jeffrey Segal, MD, JD Published in Medscape: May 20, 2015 (reprinted with permission) Three Highly Unusual Lawsuits If you practice medicine, odds are that eventually you will be sued, face a medical board complaint, or experience some other legal headache. If you practice in a high-risk specialty such as neurosurgery, the likelihood that you will be sued at least once by [...]

By |March 17th, 2017|Categories: News, Practice management|6 Comments

Thorny Vignettes and Patient Abandonment

Most doctors understand that once you have agreed to treat a patient, and you are in the middle of a treatment plan, you must either complete the treatment or find an acceptable alternative to the patient. The reason is to avoid a charge of patient abandonment. Vignette #1: Doctor receives a consult from the emergency room for a patient with [...]

By |March 10th, 2017|Categories: Compliance, Frontpage Article, News, Practice management|3 Comments

Political Correctness Over-reach in the Exam Room

A general surgeon in Florida evaluated a patient for hernia repair. The patient confided he was HIV positive. The surgeon asked about the patient’s medication regimen. The patient explained that on the medication his viral titers were non-detectable. The surgeon stated that that was good for both of them. For the patient, of course. And for the doctor, should he [...]

By |March 3rd, 2017|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews, Practice management|17 Comments

When Your Competitors Will Not Cross Cover for You

A neurosurgeon based in a large metro area in California used to be part of a large group. For a variety of reasons, he’s in solo practice now. He’s still busy. Doctors refer to him. Patients seek him out. He has a strong online presence. And he’s escaped petty intra-group politics. One problem, though. He occasionally needs a break. [...]

By |February 24th, 2017|Categories: News, Online reputation, Online reviews|3 Comments

Medicolegal Issues in Dealing with Aging Physicians

We continue with our series of general educational articles penned by one attorney, an MD, JD, giving you a view of the world through a malpractice plaintiff attorney’s eyes. This attorney is a seasoned veteran.  The series includes a number of pearls on how to stay out of harm’s way. While I do not necessarily agree with 100% of the [...]

By |February 17th, 2017|Categories: News|5 Comments

Why No Med-Mal Defendant Wants His Defense to Boil Down to “S**t Happens”

Dr. Jha is a radiologist who also blogs. Virtually every one of his posts hit the mark on multiple levels. Plus, he’s a brilliant writer. He gave me permission to re-publish the following blog he posted on on January 3rd.  Happy reading. Does lead-time bias have a place in court? SAURABH JHA|PHYSICIAN | JANUARY 3, 2017   In 2014, a jury [...]

By |February 9th, 2017|Categories: News|5 Comments

How Language in an Operating Report Can Lead to a Trip to the Courtroom.

Sometimes, the specific language in an op-report can lead to misunderstanding and litigation. I’m not talking about using words like “suddenly” or “to my unexpected surprise” in the document. I’m talking about how you label anatomic structures. Surgeons start with a clinical diagnosis. This diagnosis is often reinforced or guided by an imaging study. Then, the imaging study is used [...]

By |February 3rd, 2017|Categories: Compliance, News|6 Comments

Preparing for a Rotten Day – or Year – at Peer Review

Guest Post by Dr. Michael Rosenblatt For many doctors, they will experience peer review as a benign process. Cases are presented. Lessons learned. The beat goes on. Some "unlucky" physicians experience a different reality. Over the years we have been "trained" to try to avoid malpractice suits. But “peer review emergencies” are no less dangerous because they can result in [...]

By |January 27th, 2017|Categories: News|3 Comments

Paid Reviews Cost Companies $175,000 Enforcement Action

Two companies have settled with the New York Attorney General’s Office after being accused of paying consumers for positive reviews by agreeing to increase their transparency and pay a total of $175,000. MedRite Care, LLC, a medical emergency care service, paid thousands of dollars to Internet advertising companies and freelance writers over a two-year period for posting positive reviews of [...]

By |January 20th, 2017|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|0 Comments

How to Keep Lawyers from Circling Your Practice: Lessons for New Doctors

I am frequently invited to speak to medical students and residents. I’m often the first person to introduce them to the wonderful world of medico-legal headaches. It’s a topic they typically don’t think about while they’re studying and training. Why? It’s hard enough learning the Kreb’s cycle, the anatomy of the brachial plexus, and how to dissect tissue, stop bleeding, [...]

By |January 13th, 2017|Categories: News, Online reputation, Online reviews, Practice management|7 Comments

N=1. Congress Takes Action. Consumer Review Freedom Act

If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of Progress? Congress. It’s an old joke, but, what exactly did Congress just do? By unanimous consent, it passed the Consumer Review Freedom Act (H.R. 5111). As of this writing at year end, it still needs to be signed by the President. But, there’s every indication President Obama will [...]

By |January 5th, 2017|Categories: News, Online reputation, Online reviews|2 Comments

Law Firm Sues Nursing Student for Bad Online Review – And Loses to the Tune of $27,000

Here’s Exhibit A for why it’s generally a bad idea to sue someone for an online review. “They need to think before they post. She needs to learn — people need to learn that there are consequences for their actions.”  Attorney Keith Nguyen shared this statement with a reporter when asked if he felt guilty about suing a young nursing [...]

By |December 23rd, 2016|Categories: News, Online reputation, Online reviews|6 Comments

Playing Chicken with Deposits for Surgery

I know people have strong opinions on the topic of cash deposits to schedule a surgery date. My opinion on this has evolved. The issues are: Are deposits even needed? If so, are they refundable? If so, how long before surgery must the date be cancelled to qualify for a refund? The typical rationale for a deposit is that it [...]

By |December 9th, 2016|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|3 Comments

A Healthy Obsession with Chasing Tail

I’m frequently asked whether tail coverage for professional liability should be purchased. The doctor may be retiring. May be moving from state to another. Or just changing carriers. The first question is whether tail coverage even applies. If you have what is known as an “occurrence” policy, tail coverage is already bundled in. In an occurrence policy, you are covered [...]

By |November 4th, 2016|Categories: News|9 Comments

Capturing Patient Reviews and Navigating Pesky Regulatory Details (Part 3)

In my last post, we discussed how HIPAA impacts rules and regulations related to capturing reviews for posting online. We limited the discussion to working with vendors to help you capture and post online reviews. Such vendors must be HIPAA Business Associates. And if Protected Health Information is posted online, you need a formal HIPAA authorization to do so. Onward [...]

By |October 7th, 2016|Categories: Frontpage Article, Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|1 Comment

Capturing Patient Reviews and Navigating Pesky Regulatory Details (Part 2)

In my last post, we discussed how the Federal Trade Commission impacts rules and regulations related to capturing reviews for posting online. To recap, the guiding principle is not to pay for reviews. No money, no gift cards, no discounts on future goods or services. If you do offer such perks, you must disclose that in the review. Otherwise both [...]

By |September 30th, 2016|Categories: Frontpage Article, Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|0 Comments

Capturing Patient Reviews and Navigating Pesky Regulatory Details (Part 1)

A Marketing Department’s mission often collides with the Legal and Regulatory Compliance Department. In spite of the natural conflict, coexistence is possible. Online reviews have changed the consumer landscape in influencing buying decisions. Healthcare is affected by the same dynamic. Healthcare marketing departments have embraced online patient reviews as the next new thing. Such reviews provide valuable information for quality [...]

By |September 23rd, 2016|Categories: Frontpage Article, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|5 Comments

Why We Don’t Filter Reviews

If you practice medicine or dentistry, you WILL get a negative review. If I hear a doctor tell me they have never had a negative review, I conclude one of the following. The doctor is just starting practice; he never looked; or is a liar. It’s similar to practicing medicine and hoping you’ll never get a complication. Welcome to the [...]

By |August 19th, 2016|Categories: Frontpage Article, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|6 Comments

How To Reverse a Negative Patient Review [VIDEO]

[We care about your privacy. This embed serves content from youtube-nocookie.] Video transcript: While many of the reviews that you receive are positive, occasionally they will be negative. How do you handle a negative review? Well, if you know who the patient is, you can reach out to him or her and try and solve their [...]

By |July 15th, 2016|Categories: Frontpage Article, Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|0 Comments

Restaurant Owner Responds to Pissed Off Yelper Accusing Her of Fecal Incontinence

I’ll start with the advice. Be careful about responding to angry reviews. Now for what happened. Here’s the review of Nick’s Riverside Grill. Not flattering. But, not a business killer. “NEVER GO AGAIN!WORST SERVICE!I went there for happy hour and they hold my card at the bar. Charged me two drinks and more while I only ordered one hh drink. [...]

By |July 15th, 2016|Categories: Frontpage Article, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|6 Comments

Online Reviews and Picking Stocks, Leading Indicator for Financial Success

Hedge funds use all types of information to “beat the market.” Some use satellite data of how many cars are parked in lots in front of department stores to predict sales figures. An empty lot bodes poorly for quarterly returns. Some look at satellite data of corn fields to predict commodity prices. A recent draft paper looked at a more [...]

By |July 8th, 2016|Categories: News, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Point-of-Service Reviews. Are They Tainted by “Undue Influence?”

I recently presented at a conference. I was making the case for gathering patient feedback at the point-of-service. The benefit is that information captured at the point-of-service is not dated. It’s not stale. It’s timely and relevant. It makes no sense for patients to identify problems that presented days or weeks ago. Memories fade. I can’t even remember what I [...]

By |July 1st, 2016|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|8 Comments

How EMRs Can Make Physicians Look Dumb

Two examples were presented at a recent conference. One was a cut and paste propagation of a minor problem. The other was an EMR problem related to templates. In the history, some doctor at some point wrote “patient deeniied abdominal pain…” That misspelling was likely related to heavy fingers on select vowels. This misspelled phrase found itself transmitted on multiple [...]

By |June 24th, 2016|Categories: News, Uncategorized|7 Comments

Texting and HIPAA

I received a text this morning reminding me of a dental appointment in two weeks. I appreciate the reminder. Still, I don’t remember ever providing authorization to text me. For many items related to my healthcare, I certainly prefer a quick text (or email) over the secure platforms that require signing up for an account and logging in. Patients are [...]

By |June 17th, 2016|Categories: Compliance, Cybersecurity, News, Practice management|5 Comments

What Are HIPAA Audits – eMerit Founder & CEO, Jeff Segal Explains [VIDEO]

[We care about your privacy. This embed serves content from youtube-nocookie.] Video transcript: What are HIPAA audits? What has changed with HIPAA is that the government entity that overseas HIPAA is unhappy. They're unhappy with how people have taken HIPAA seriously or lack thereof. Before, HIPAA used to be complaint driven. To the extent, someone believed [...]

By |May 27th, 2016|Categories: Cybersecurity, Frontpage Article, News, Practice management, Videos|0 Comments

Your Practice Have a Website? Don’t Make These Mistakes.

Of course your practice has a website. Maybe it’s old. Maybe it’s being updated. But, the following lessons apply to almost anyone and everyone in healthcare. In no particular order, here are some tips: Make sure YOU own your content.I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard from a doctor who had an untoward outcome after working with [...]

By |May 27th, 2016|Categories: Cybersecurity, Frontpage Article, News, Online reputation, Practice management|4 Comments

Online Reviews and Quality. Do They Even Correlate?

In college, I devoured a book called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Who didn’t? I know I’m dating myself here. But, the book reappears on college campuses every decade. The book delves into what defines quality. The protagonist’s philosophical investigations drove him insane, and he was ultimately treated with electroconvulsive therapy, which permanently changed his personality. Still, the [...]

By |May 20th, 2016|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews, SEO|2 Comments

What Donald Trump and Yelp Have in Common

Elite Yelpers write lots of reviews. I don’t want to tar all Elite Yelpers with the same brush. I’m sure some, perhaps many, are wonderful human beings. But, based on feedback from select surgeons who have encountered Elite Yelpers, here are some of their observations. They play by their own rules. They let businesses know that they are Elite Yelpers [...]

By |February 12th, 2016|Categories: News, Online reputation|21 Comments

Online Reputation: The Difference Between Success & Bankruptcy [VIDEO] We're excited to announce a FREE live webinar in partnership with the Mayo Clinic Social Media Health Network. Join us on Thursday, February 18th from 1-2pm EST Register Now   Our founder and CEO, Jeff Segal, M. D. will discuss: The impact of doctor review sites on reputation Remedies available to address a reputational assault Strategies and tactics for promoting positive reputation [...]

By |February 8th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tesla Bans Sale of New Car to Someone Who Complained Online

Doctors are learning how to navigate the online space. The old paternalistic model is giving way to a more patient-centric model. Old habits die hard. But many doctors ARE thriving in this new environment. Still, many businesses feel that the customer is in the driver’s seat and they have little control over their online reputation. Tesla just flipped that trend [...]

By |February 5th, 2016|Categories: News|9 Comments

Manipulating Public Opinion for Profit?

by Ben Bailess - eMerit The default response from website owners when taken to court over user-submitted content is generally “bring your checkbook with you, because you’ll be paying our attorneys to defend us”, which is actually on the FAQ page for RateMDs [1]. Whoa. Why so brazen? Because of a highly-contested, lesser-known piece of legislation commonly referred to as [...]

By |November 20th, 2015|Categories: Frontpage Article, News, Online reputation|1 Comment

Rent-A-Reputation: Licensing Your Life

by Ben Bailess - eMerit Do you own your cell phone? How about your website? Your online reputation? Bad news. You ticked the box that reads “I agree to the Terms of Use”, so now you never actually owned any of it. You also just gave your eldest child to Europol [1]. The devil is in the details, and in [...]

By |November 6th, 2015|Categories: Frontpage Article, Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews, SEO|0 Comments

Online Review Syndication – a Better Approach

What are syndicated reviews? These are single reviews that end up on many places. If you are so inclined, an expedient way to drag down your search ranking is filling your online presence with duplicate content. Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” Duplicate [...]

By |October 30th, 2015|Categories: Frontpage Article, Marketing, Online reputation, Online reviews, SEO|2 Comments

The Case for Paper Records

One Medical Justice member practices surgery on the west coast. A sign is posted on his wall stating “For your privacy protection, we use paper records.” His practice is cash-pay and he does not need to upload medical records to large insurance companies to get paid. And, he uses computers for many different things. He is not a Luddite.   [...]

By |October 23rd, 2015|Categories: Compliance, Cybersecurity, Frontpage Article, Practice management|6 Comments

Why Patients Use Reviews – It’s All About the Big “O”

O-other people's opinions, that is. Strangers. Patients' healthcare decisions are typically influenced by three things: Their (P)rior experiences, (M)arketing information, and input from (O)ther patients and online reviews. And it's typically a zero-sum game - the greater the reliance on one source, the lower the need for the others. Doctors at a crossroads of (M) and (O) must decide how [...]

By |September 25th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Collecting & Posting Patient Reviews is EASY…

More and more people use the Internet each year to search for a doctor (or business) online.   In 2010, 22% of patients, now euphemistically called “consumers” said they never use the Internet to evaluate a doctor (or business). In 2015, that number was down to 9%. [1] The vast majority of Americans are online. And they are using the [...]

By |September 24th, 2015|Categories: Frontpage Article, Marketing, Online reputation, Online reviews|3 Comments

Are Patient Reviews Reliable? The Mystery of Crowdsourcing

[We care about your privacy. This embed serves content from youtube-nocookie.] Are patient reviews reliable? Most doctors fear reviews paint a false picture online...but in fact, when a doctor has enough reviews, patients paint a more reliable picture than one would think. It called crowdsourcing- there are extremes on each side of the spectrum but [...]

By |September 18th, 2015|Categories: Marketing, Online reviews, Videos|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The Potential Consequences of Astroturfing (Fake Reviews)

[We care about your privacy. This embed serves content from youtube-nocookie.] In our last video we shared three reasons to never post fake reviews. Today we will go into more detail about why this is important. But if you don't have time to watch the video, remember this important message - don't pay for or [...]

Three Reasons to Never Astroturf (Post Fake Reviews)

[We care about your privacy. This embed serves content from youtube-nocookie.] Asking patients for online reviews can feel daunting. What if you just used your staff and family to post reviews based on what they say? That would be easy and achieve the same goal, right? Wrong. Fake reviews, also known as astroturfing is asking [...]

Responding a Negative Online Review

[We care about your privacy. This embed serves content from youtube-nocookie.] For most doctors who see one to three thousand patients a year, a negative review is inevitable.  How one responds to this negative online review is what separates great doctors from the inexperienced.  In this short video, Founder and CEO, Jeff Segal, MD, JD, [...]

Two Reasons a Negative Online Review Is Paradoxically a Good Thing

[We care about your privacy. This embed serves content from youtube-nocookie.] The last thing a physician or dentist wants is a negative online review.  But what if we could turn a negative review into a positive?  eMerit's Founder and CEO Dr. Jeff Segal talks about the unexpected value of a negative review and two ways to turn [...]

When Social Media Decrees Your Practice Must Die

I pity one poor doctor. Dr. Walter Palmer. He’s been in the media recently related to his hunting expedition this year. Dr. Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, stands accused of killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. The story was picked up by social media and gathered steam – lots of steam. At the time of this writing, Dr. Palmer has “disappeared” [...]

By |August 7th, 2015|Categories: Frontpage Article, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|5 Comments

What’s in a Name? A Call for Anonymous Reviews

Sure, you can tell the difference between Anonymous and Mark Glenn, but can you tell a fake name from a real one? Let’s say, you’re presented with two names: Name 1: Judy Alfonso Name 2: Connie Jackson Can you tell the real from the fake? In fact, both names are fake, generated randomly from So is “Mark Glenn” from [...]

By |July 10th, 2015|Categories: Online reviews, Trends|1 Comment

Correcting Misconceptions: “Online Doctor Ratings Are Garbage”

A recent post on the U.S. News & World Report blog "Policy Dose" skewered the rising popularity of online reviews in the healthcare sector. The author argued they’re worthless: The argument is misguided. I know. I used to feel the way he did. Then, we analyzed the data. We’re now reformed skeptics. First, some background. The “healthcare is not a [...]

By |July 3rd, 2015|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews, Research, Trends|9 Comments

The Woes of Free Email

Earlier this week, we received a question from a physician member regarding using a free email account for his practice. The doctor’s question was “Is it OK to list a free email on the website as a point of contact, or should I use a domain email?” By “free email account”, he meant something like Gmail, Yahoo, or even the [...]

By |April 3rd, 2015|Categories: Compliance, Cybersecurity, Online reputation|0 Comments

Lying Yelper Exposed on Video

Wonderful is a San Francisco Bay Area Chinese restaurant.   Dan W. delivered a one star review on Yelp. He claimed to have received terrible service.   I was flying solo that night, after a particularly challenging day. The waiter came up and asked how many. I said one, I had planned to sit at the bar or get the [...]

By |April 3rd, 2015|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|4 Comments

Google Mobile Usability Penalty Coming April 21

Last week during SMX Munich (Search Marketing Expo), Google Webmaster Trends analyst Zineb Ait Bahajji said that Google's upcoming “mobile-friendly” algorithm update on April 21st will have more of an impact than both Panda and Penguin [1]. Considering the huge impact of Panda and Penguin, this is a big deal. Here are some common mobile missteps that can negatively affect [...]

By |March 27th, 2015|Categories: Marketing, News, SEO|2 Comments

The SEO Black Box

We get questions about SEO fairly often. Generally related to the “value” of SEO. And, frankly, to most people, it’s a “black box” – they put money in, and they - ideally - get more money out, but they have no idea what happens in between or why it’s a favorable marketing strategy.   But before we can come to [...]

By |March 20th, 2015|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Practice management|1 Comment

Gaming the System

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “astroturfing”, join the club. It’s hardly a household term, but it defines our trust in earned media; specifically reviews and testimonials in unseen yet powerful ways. Which is precisely why it’s regulated with heavy fine imposed by the FTC [1], up to $16,000 a day. Astroturfing, in broad strokes, is the use of any [...]

By |March 13th, 2015|Categories: Compliance, Marketing, Online reputation, Online reviews|3 Comments

Doctors are in the digital fast lane. Steps to take now – Part 2

“Strychnine is a grand tonic, Kemp, to take the flabbiness out of a man.” ― H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man In part 1 we characterized and suggested solutions for Bankruptcy stage. But what if you Google your name and get Nada. You see nothing! Seems like an OK spot, right?…Out of sight, out of mind and nothing bad about me? [...]

By |February 26th, 2015|Categories: Research|0 Comments

Still using Windows XP? If so, update before HIPAA police darken your doorstep.

A couple of months ago, I was getting on an airplane. At the end of the sky-bridge, a desktop terminal detailed a bunch of metrics important to keep on schedule. The log-in screen was Windows XP. I wondered how much of the airline industry is still on an operating system that was released for distribution early in 2002. Earlier this [...]

By |November 26th, 2014|Categories: Compliance, Cybersecurity, News|0 Comments

Some good news – patients hold their doctor in high regard.

Sometimes it seems as if every patient has a complaint. Not their chief presenting complaint – but a complaint about you or your practice. Well some good news. This year, a Harris Poll queried over 2,000 adults. The question was simple: Based on recent experience with treatment by healthcare professional, in terms of quality of care, how would you rate [...]

By |November 7th, 2014|Categories: Online reputation|0 Comments

California restaurant encourages rotten reviews; the more the better. Business thrives.

Botto Bistro, an Italian restaurant in the Bay area, is on a mission to be the worst-rated restaurant on Yelp. To reach this milestone, they offer deals for customers leaving a one-star review. The deals: 25% off any pizza and a chance to win a cooking class. Chefs and co-owners Davide Cerretini and Michele Massimo are confident. They believe their [...]

By |October 31st, 2014|Categories: Online reviews|3 Comments

Post-op Patient Considers Suicide. Writes About It Online.

A physician called about his post-op patient. She had revision plastic surgery. Revisions are always difficult. This one was no exception. The patient understood the challenges, risks, and options, and elected to proceed. (The original surgery was performed by another surgeon). Post-op, the patient was coming along as expected. She had some swelling; again not unexpected. Otherwise, there were no [...]

By |October 24th, 2014|Categories: Compliance, News, Online reviews|2 Comments

Leveraging the Internet to Work For You

It’s a no-brainer – marketing and promoting your practice’s brand online is one of the most effective ways to reach prospective patients. Most marketing professionals (Social, SEO, PR, etc.) will tell you that what they’re offering you are tools to keep your practice’s lights on. And they wouldn’t be wrong. Your web team is integral to assisting you in attracting [...]

By |October 17th, 2014|Categories: News, Online reputation, Online reviews|0 Comments

The World As Seen Through the Eyes of an “Elite” Yelper

My moment of glory has finally arrived. I put in an endless amount of effort of sharing my valid borderline narcissistic opinions with the world. Just heard I was awarded the honor of Elite Yelper for the next calendar year. Let me tell you - I am so excited I can barely keep it all in. I have been trying [...]

By |October 9th, 2014|Categories: News, Online reputation, Online reviews|0 Comments

Would You Hire A Hacker?

Make no mistake, everyday people are all at war. Not with guns or bombs, but with keyboards and mice. Servers and personal computers. Smartphones and iDevices. And when it’s practically impossible to go 24 hours without hearing about another major data breach or virus running rampant, one has to wonder – can the good guys win? Coincidentally, that was the [...]

By |October 9th, 2014|Categories: Cybersecurity, News|0 Comments

Happy Patients = More Revenue

By Arthur Stuart - eMerit Remember the old customer service adage, “every unhappy customer will tell 10 others”? Those days have changed. Forever. Patients aren’t just telling their neighbors and friends about their encounters with doctors. They’re going to the Internet - in droves - to tell their stories. A significant minority of doctors still do not believe that patients’ [...]

By |October 3rd, 2014|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews, Practice management|0 Comments

Electronic Medical Records. Well Intended Boondoggle

by Ben Bailess - eMerit Knowing that your patients’ records are assuredly private allows you to sleep better. Except when it doesn’t. In the software world, there are thousands of ways to skin the proverbial cat. Put 100 developers in a room and ask them to solve a problem, and you’ll get 100 different solutions. Some might seem similar, but [...]

By |October 3rd, 2014|Categories: News, Practice management|5 Comments

For The Love Of The Game

“Obviously, you’re known for what you do. But you still want to be known as a good person. You’re a person a lot longer before and after you’re a professional athlete.” - Derek Jeter Do you remember when you decided you wanted to be a doctor? Do you recall what made you say to yourself that you planned to practice [...]

By |September 26th, 2014|Categories: News, Online reputation|0 Comments

HCAHPS Surveys: Teaching to the Test?

By: Arthur Stuart - eMerit When I was an undergrad, I engaged in a an unhealthy amount of cramming for exams. Typically, these exams were for elective classes that I needed to stay on pace to graduate. I didn’t really care about the information being taught, I wanted to do just enough to get an “A” in the course to [...]

By |September 26th, 2014|Categories: Compliance, News|1 Comment

Don’t bore me with the details. But, it better damn well work.

When you’re making an investment or a significant buying decision, what do you really want from a salesperson? Disingenuous compliments? Bad jokes? Of course not. You want to know the real value of the offering, and how it directly affects your personal interest. Right? We’ve all suffered from the unpleasant experience associated with overbearing, pushy salespeople. (“Will that be Mastercard [...]

By |September 19th, 2014|Categories: News, Online reputation|0 Comments

Online Reviews – The New Normal For Patients

It’s no longer a secret. The way patients make decisions has changed. And, it’s not going back to the old way. Not too long ago, patient word of mouth, phone book ads, and referrals comprised the sum total of most doctors’ marketing programs. With the explosion of the Internet, the average patient can directly access exponentially more information than patients [...]

By |September 19th, 2014|Categories: News, Online reputation, Online reviews|0 Comments

Why Should I Trust You?

“Do they trust me enough to believe my promises?” - Seth Godin Trust is about the most overused word in the English language. That word gets tossed around, just as much as dough at your local pizzeria (assuming the pizza is made from scratch and not thawed from a freezer). I’m guessing if you asked any sane person whether you [...]

By |September 11th, 2014|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Online reviews, Practice management|0 Comments

3 Lessons Doctors Can Learn From The NFL

The NFL is in the middle of a major controversy, after TMZ released the full surveillance video of now-former Baltimore Raven All-Pro Running Back, Ray Rice, on Monday. The video graphically revealed Rice punching his then-fiancée unconscious; then dragging her out of the elevator. The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell announced this summer that Rice’s penalty for this “gaffe” was suspension [...]

By |September 9th, 2014|Categories: News, Online reputation, Practice management|0 Comments

Maintenance of Certification… Is it DOA?

Do you remember the Wendy’s commercial, when they cleverly parodied how most fast food restaurants where providing all bread and no meat? This is the same feeling doctors possess about Maintenance of Certification. According to the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), the purpose of Maintenance of Certification (MOC), is to "promote lifelong learning and the enhancement of the clinical [...]

By |September 4th, 2014|Categories: News, Trends|3 Comments

Don’t Want To Adapt to New Environment? Darwin Weighs In.

“The effects of being reactive versus being proactive can be devastating” - Ed Catmull President of Pixar Animation Studios In his highly acclaimed book, Ed Catmull constantly warns of the dangers of being comfortable with things as you know them to be. Today, information moves faster than any other moment in time, and settling into a “business as usual” mindset [...]

By |August 29th, 2014|Categories: Marketing, News, Online reputation, Practice management|0 Comments

How to Catch Pigeons and Build Patient Trust

Anyone pondered why the web community calls Google’s latest algorithm “Pigeon”? Does the superior vision of birds’ avian eye describe Google’s new focus on being local? Why a pigeon? Why not an apex predator like a hawk? A hawk would certainly be more intimidating. I grew up in lower Manhattan where pigeons were ubiquitous. Pigeon could be derived from its [...]

By |August 28th, 2014|Categories: News, Online reputation, Online reviews|0 Comments

Give Gifts for Referrals? How About Gifts for Reviews?

by Jeff Segal, MD JD FACS Several Medical Justice and Dental Justice members recently asked us about various expressions of gratitude to patients. They want to thank patients for referring their friends and loved ones. What simpler way than sending a card saying “Thanks so much for the referral. As a token of our gratitude in your faith in our [...]

By |August 26th, 2014|Categories: Compliance, News, Online reviews|0 Comments

Yelp May Soon Retire its Marketing Puffery – “the Most Trusted Reviews”

There aren’t many business owners who are fans of Yelp’s filtering algorithm. They gripe that the good reviews are hidden behind a filter, making it hard for anyone to find them. And, bad reviews remain for all to see, front and center. We’ve written repeatedly that review platforms such as Yelp are immune from being sued for defamation. The reason: [...]

By |August 15th, 2014|Categories: Frontpage Article, News, Online reputation, Online reviews|2 Comments

A doctor’s feedback loop, the patient’s feedback loop.

There’s an ongoing thread about getting rid of bad patients (Get Rid Of Bad Patients (5 reasons), LinkedIn [1]). It’s stimulating material. The comments are lively without anyone yielding middle ground. Of course, no doctor is perfect. But they are expected to be perfect most of the time. Patients are not perfect either. It’s acceptable to terminate the doctor-patient relationship [...]

By |August 8th, 2014|Categories: News, Online reputation, Online reviews|0 Comments

Please feel free to terminate your Social Media manager now.

Or better yet, refocus their efforts building online patient reviews. In a recent Gallup poll Tweets, Likes, and Shares had little effect on consumers choosing you. Only 5% of those surveyed said social media had a great deal of influence.

By |July 18th, 2014|Categories: News, Online reputation|0 Comments

25% of Patients Now Learn of and Choose Their Doctor Online.

Patients are looking for the best doctors who provide the best value. And more and more patients are using the Internet to make this decision. Patients want 3 things from doctors: (1) don’t kill me (also known as “patient safety”) (2) make me better (also known as “clinical outcomes”); and (3) don’t empty my wallet in the process. Patients searching [...]

By |May 9th, 2014|Categories: News|1 Comment

How to Leverage Online Patient Reviews.

A high-performing doctor/practice can be distinguished online by proactively asking his/her patients for feedback. If you have a great patient safety record, positive clinical outcomes, and great “customer service”, your online reputation should mirror your actual reputation. Leverage the Internet by considering the following: Gathering reviews in your office, Point-of-Service, is dramatically more effective than relying on email to patients [...]

By |April 25th, 2014|Categories: Research|0 Comments

Doctors are in the digital fast lane. Steps to take now.

In a recent poll of drivers, their No.1 complaint was… slow drivers in the fast lane. In this never-ending “turn it up one more notch” world, the fast lane is for passing other cars, not passing the time. Doctors are now in their own digital fast lane. In a recent article published by Journal of the America Medical Association, your [...]

By |March 21st, 2014|Categories: News|1 Comment

Brand Recovery 101: How You Can Regain Control

So you’ve got a bum brand? Perhaps your business or your name has lots of bad reviews or a page full of negative links when you Google yourself. Whatever your situation, you need to regain control. Here are some basic steps. 1. Size up your competition. What does page one Google search of you look like? Is it populated by [...]

By |March 21st, 2014|Categories: News|0 Comments

Changes to the Google Plus Rating System

You may have noticed that some Google + Local business ratings have experienced a sudden drop in the last few days. Google generally does not announce its changes, and this was no exception. You may or may not have noticed the impact of this update yet, but chances are that you will see some sweeping changes to Google’s rating system [...]

By |December 16th, 2013|Categories: News|1 Comment

Credibility: Hundreds of Reviews on One Site, or Scores of Reviews Across Many Sites?

We are often asked whether it is more effective to have patients posts hundreds of reviews on a single site – or whether it is better to have those reviews distributed across many sites. This can only be answered in context. Effective or better for what? Patients are looking for balanced information about a practice. They are seeking authentic information [...]

By |October 25th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized|3 Comments

Is There an ROI on Asking Patients for Reviews?

Yes. OK. So there’s more to it than that... Some healthcare providers view reputation management as an expense designed to neutralize a negative post. In that context, it’s damage control. While valid, that’s not the point I want to make. So, in that context, it’s an expense. In 2013, patients are going to the Internet to (a) find a doctor [...]

By |October 18th, 2013|Categories: News|1 Comment

So. You Received a Rotten Review.

“Dr. Smith was arrogant, insensitive, and ran late. The diagnosis he gave me was wrong. And for that, I had to dish out $50 co-pay. Stay away.” Most doctors go into medicine to help patients. Some doctors do provide better care than others. But, most are conscientious and wake up every day intending to do the best possible job for [...]

By |October 11th, 2013|Categories: News|1 Comment

We Are Entering a New Era of Healthcare. Serving Patients at the Highest Possible Level.

I recently returned from the Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Conference. The common theme was how the healthcare system is trying to make it easier to be a patient. Beyond HCAHPS scores. The CEO of the UCLA Hospital System gave one of the more memorable lines. He noted their high HCAHPS scores did little more than identify “ [they] [...]

By |October 4th, 2013|Categories: News|1 Comment

Walking the Walk: Exemplars of Spectacular Service in Healthcare

I’ve never met Dr. Neil Baum. He’s a urologist in Louisiana. I don’t (currently) have a urological problem. Having just glanced at his web site, if the need arose, I would consider becoming his patient (if only he practiced closer geographically). Here’s why. He is not shy about articulating his patient care philosophy on his web site, front and center. [...]

By |September 27th, 2013|Categories: News|3 Comments

What Pisses Off Patients?

Most patients actually like their doctors – a lot. But, some things cause smoke to emerge from their ears. The two most common issues are (a) running late; and (b) undecipherable bills. Running late: The world has changed. Gone are the days when a patient would wait dutifully for an hour in a chair surrounded by crusty copies of Field [...]

By |September 20th, 2013|Categories: News|3 Comments

Do Patients Even Read Reviews?

Count me as an early skeptic on the value of patient reviews. Why? I believed that patients were interested, in order, safety, clinical outcomes, and then the experience. What good is it to be treated with kindness and compassion, only to die? So, we set out to research this topic early in 2011. Our working hypothesis was that there’s no [...]

By |September 13th, 2013|Categories: News|2 Comments

The Rising Influence of Patient Reviews

Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan asked a national sample of parents what factors were important in selecting their doctor. The title of the survey was “How to Select a Child’s Doctor? Parents prefer Grapevine to Online.” The survey concluded: “Currently, doctor rating websites are not perceived to be as important as other types of information as parents make decisions for [...]

By |March 15th, 2013|Categories: News|0 Comments

A Mistake of Epic Proportions: Turning a Negative into a Positive

Not too long ago, I learned of a surgeon who did the wrong surgical procedure on a patient. It wasn’t as if the procedure was entirely “unnecessary.” But, it was a different cosmetic procedure than the patient was expecting. A tummy tuck instead of a liposuction. It was still the wrong procedure – with greater risk and longer recovery period. [...]

By |March 11th, 2013|Categories: News|0 Comments

The Shortest Social Media Policy Ever Created

Dr. Farris Timimi prescribes a 12 word social media policy for doctors. It bears repeating. Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal Don’t lie: Needs no further explanation. Don’t pry: Don’t seek out protected health information within social media platform. Don’t cheat: If you make a mistake – as we all do – step up [...]

By |February 19th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments