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Sadly, dealing with negative online reviews is a part of the world we live in. But it doesn’t need to derail you, or even cause much of an impact if handled the right way.

Here are a few steps for doctors dealing with a negative online review.

Try to Get Google to Remove It

My first step is to try and have the review removed by Google. But to set proper expectations, this only works about 10% of the time. However, I always feel that it’s worth a shot.

Report Through Google My Business

To do this, you’ll want to go into your Google MyBusiness account and go to Manage Reviews.

manage google reviews

From there, you can flag a review as inappropriate and follow Google’s steps.

flag google reviews
report google review

Keep in mind they have a pretty set review policy, but it’s worth trying this route.

Report From A Personal Google Account

Another option is to use a different personal Google account and report the review as inappropriate.

To do this, search for your Google MyBusiness profile in Google, go to Reviews, and flag the negative one.

flag bad google review as reader

Respond to the Negative Review

If attempting to remove the review through Google doesn’t work you can reply to the review through your Google MyBusiness page, again by going to Manage Reviews** and hitting Reply.

reply to bad google review

Your response may sound something like this:

We’re so sorry to hear there was a problem, and we would like to do our best to make it right. Could you please go to {web address} to share more with us, and we can then get in touch? Thanks!”


Make sure not to violate HIPAA in your response. Chances are, you’ll know who the person is posting the review, but don’t mention their name or any specifics in your response.


By responding and offering to go deeper to make it right, you’re showing other people who read the reviews that you don’t simply ignore the bad experiences. This will give people more confidence when they see a proactive response to a bad Google review.

Tip: You’ll want to have a form on your website that you can direct people to get in touch.

Attempt to Bury the Review

Another way to help boost your review ranking is to do what’s known as “burying” the review.

You can ask your most loyal patients to go onto Google and submit a review. The more positive Google reviews are in place, the more the negative ones look like an outlier.


Even if you are the very best physician and excel at creating an excellent experience for your patients, it’s pretty much inevitable that someone will find a problem and post it.

But having an action plan can minimize any negative impacts, as well as provide you with peace of mind.