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How to handle negative press
Dr KK Aggarwal,  12 April 2018
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No marketing strategy works as best as ‘word of mouth’ in the health sector, even in this digital age. Patients still rely on recommendations from friends and relatives when choosing a doctor or hospital. While you may enjoy a stellar reputation, negative or unfavorable publicity is to be expected from time to time. It’s not all rosy all the time. However, a negative word of mouth or a negative story in the press can be nightmarish for the doctor and the healthcare establishment as it can destroy their credibility.

This crisis too can be managed…negative press can be dealt with and the damage minimized.

  1. If there is bad press, don’t hide or ignore it, instead confront it. While “silence is golden”, remaining silent may be interpreted as admission of guilt.
  2. Don’t panic; keep a cool head. Don’t react, but respond.
  3. Present your version of the story rationally, supported by facts, to the newspaper or the media, which has carried the story. You have a right to reply if you think that the story reported is biased or factually inaccurate.
  4. Never talk ‘off the record’.
  5. Take help from your legal team and PR professionals.
  6. The welfare of patients is the foremost for doctors. A negative story would bring forth several queries not only from other interested journalists/press but also patients and their families, perhaps even your employees. They need assurance. Try to anticipate questions and be ready with clear and concise answers… “No comment” may not be the right response as it may give the impression that you are being defensive.
  7. Be empathetic.
  8. A lawsuit should be the last resort.
  9. The usual approach in case of a negative story is to deny and defend. Instead, introspect if there could be some truth in it. This could be just the impetus to shake off complacency and turn it into an opportunity for improvement.
  10. If you have made a mistake, then admit it and apologize. You should not only say sorry, but you should also mean it. It may help restore the goodwill and trust that has been lost. An insincere apology may only complicate matters further.
  11. Above all, pre-empt a potential crisis and take timely steps to prevent it.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri AwardeeVice President CMAAOGroup Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA


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  • Dr Dr.ashwin Naik 13 April - 21:29 hrs

    Useful,sir

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  • Dr Rajesh Navangul 13 April - 07:14 hrs

    But if doctor reacts and go to the press to put what was real fact And very next day if anyone of patient relatives go and put the Fact exactly opposite to that of doctor ,then even if doctor has Documentary evidences of facts then also media will have publish Their side without adequate proofs , ultimately subject in press Will lead to fuel in fire ........That is the reason why professional Like doctors keep press away from them .............. And keep silence .......... But I think upto major extent i agree with Dr K Agrawal sir

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  • Dr Anupam Sahni 12 April - 20:02 hrs

    What if the purpose of the press is only to blackmail you.They are not going to publish your version until you pay them . Best policy is to ignore.

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  • Dr Manivannun Kalyanasundaram 12 April - 18:39 hrs

    Well said It is a very challenging situation and I have gone through this with the same tone as described above. I would recommend this Every doctor should reinforce these points on and off 👍

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  • Dr B.C. Gupta 12 April - 17:35 hrs

    Good Post

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  • Dr DR ARUN KUMAR JADHAV 12 April - 16:52 hrs

    Nice strategy but requires lot of courage. Generally in such situations we feel panicky and ensuing confusion lands us in trouble.

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  • Dr DR ARUN KUMAR JADHAV 12 April - 16:51 hrs

    Nice strategy but requires lot of courage. Generally in such situations we feel panicky and ensuing confusion lands us in trouble.

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  • Dr Abhyuday Verma 12 April - 15:25 hrs

    Well said and nicely explained

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  • Dr Dr Neelima Shilotri 12 April - 13:56 hrs

    Nice article. Helpful.

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  • Dr Dr Neelima Shilotri 12 April - 13:56 hrs

    Nice article. Helpful.

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  • Dr Ajay Kumar Garg 12 April - 13:13 hrs

    Best advice specially for young professionals.

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  • Dr rajendraprasad chokhani 12 April - 13:12 hrs

    Wow - Great Advice..

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  • Dr Gurcharan Singh 12 April - 12:50 hrs

    Dr Aggarwal sir Hats Off to you for giving such wonderful and meaningful advice to doctors community.We should follow the advice for running the practice ethically and with honesty.This is 100% success basics

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  • Dr Sanjiv Gupta 12 April - 12:18 hrs

    Very informative article. Actually, these topics should be in our curriculum.

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  • Dr Pasha Latif 12 April - 10:43 hrs

    100% Obliged

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  • Dr Hari Kumar Sreesailam 12 April - 09:16 hrs

    🙏

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  • Dr Raj Mehta 12 April - 09:01 hrs

    Thanks a lot for addressing this topic.

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  • Dr Dr. Alka kumar 12 April - 08:18 hrs

    Very well said Sir ,

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  • Dr Radheshyam Sharma 12 April - 08:18 hrs

    Very very timely advisory.Thanks a lot.

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  • Dr Radheshyam Sharma 12 April - 08:18 hrs

    Very very timely advisory.Thanks a lot.

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