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Identifying keywords from about 35,000 Google+ reviews of physicians that were most commonly associated with the rating levels given, a marketing and public relations firm for specialty medical practices, conducted a study of patient complaints regarding physician offices. Published in the Journal of Medical Practice Management, the study reveals that the majority of patient complaints are about customer service at the physician’s office.

Patients rated their doctors highly with 61% giving five-star reviews as against 23% who gave one-star. Out of the negative comments left online, a mere 4% were related to medical treatment or health outcome. 96% of the complaints were on issues like inadequate communications, disorganized operations and excessive delays and waiting time. While 1 in 20 complaints cited unsatisfactory healthcare treatment or outcome, 19 out of 20 patients were unhappy with the service.

As per the study, patients who rated the physicians practice with low-star ratings also wrote more content. The most common issues among the negative comments were:

  • Communication 53%
  • Long waiting time 35%
  • Practice staff 12%
  • Billing 02%

The most common complaints amongst those who gave five-star reviews were:

  • Bedside manner 40%
  • Practice staff 28%
  • Communication 24%

The good news is that the absence of dissatisfaction with physician skills means practices should be able to improve online reviews comparatively easily.

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