Many prospective patients turn to online reviews to help them evaluate potential dentists. In fact, 84% of the public trust online reviews to help them make decisions. With a majority of people turning to the internet to find a dentist, it is more important than ever for dental practices to maintain and respond to online reviews professionally and promptly – while ensuring they maintain HIPAA compliance. Data revealed that 88% of dentists reported receiving online patient reviews, yet 39% of them felt they were unable to respond to reviews due to HIPAA regulations, according to a December 2022 survey by the ADA Health Policy Institute. While dental practices can be fined thousands of dollars for responding to online reviews with sensitive information, such as a patient’s name, insurance information, treatment plan, and/or cost information, they might also violate HIPAA for simply acknowledging a patient was at their practice. Remember this: Just because a patient identifies themselves in a review, they have NOT waived their HIPAA protection—patient confidentiality must always be maintained! Dental practices should consistently monitor their presences on major review sites to be aware of what’s been posted, whether positive or negative. To equip dentists with resources to help manage comments left on their social media accounts, review sites, or other platforms, the ADA has created a toolkit with information about navigating online reputation in a digital age.
This new resource discusses critical questions for dental practices, including:
• How should I monitor my online reputation?
• How does HIPAA apply to online reviews?
• How should I respond to negative reviews?
To learn more about online reputation management and see sample responses to positive and negative reviews, visit:
ADA Online Review Tool Kit