Sometimes you can hear a “yelp” even before you enter a room.  You can hear them a few rooms away.  It may be kidney stones, a slipped disc or the gout.  This was the yelping I was ready for when I entered medical school.  Bringing a calm presence to the room so that I can evaluate and develop a plan.  Making sure that patients know we will have a plan to help decrease the acute pain that is providing a “yelp.”

But this is not the yelp that physicians now deal with.  Yelp is a public business founded in 2004 that publishes crowd-sourced reviews about businesses.  This has led to many different companies developing websites where patients can go to document both the good and bad about their physician experiences.  You can go to Health Grades or Vitals and basically write whatever you would like about your experience.

Who uses these apps?  Mostly 2 types of people.  Those that are appreciative of the care or super critical.  It seems that some people as a hobby enjoy pointing out everything that went wrong.  I feel worse for restaurants and hotels, but they are not quite as personal.  If you ever are feeling great about yourself take some time and google your name.  Every displeased patient has put to keyboard your deficiencies.  I use this as a time to fight back.

This is my time to push back on the things that are written about myself and others on the internet.  I am absolutely trying to improve as a physician. And I need constructive criticism but the amount of yelping is getting out of control.  Especially if you use this time to comment on physician’s physical appearance.  Yes.  I realize that since the pandemic started that I have not gotten a haircut.  And yes, I realize that I have a ponytail at this time but that does not affect the care given.  Please stop discussing my hair on the internet. 

Pain medicine.  There are debates about chronic pain medicine.  Currently my office has decided to not treat chronic pain with opiates.  There are pain management doctors that we can help with trying to control chronic pain.  Yet the most common complaint being yelped about is that the doctor allowed me to be in pain.  I first always try to acknowledge the experience pain patients are in and come up with a plan to try and overall reduce pain and functioning.  But it is time to stop yelping about doctors not giving the controlled medicines you ask for.

Wait times.  I get to work early.  Every physician is only one patient away from being behind.  Many patients come in with lists and then wonder why their appointment is not happening right on time.  Just an FYI for patients.  I got here early.  All of you are the reason that then I am running late.  I rarely turn away a patient for being late and it is time to stop posting about how long you waited to see me.

The honest truth is that most patients are writing very nice things on the internet.  But human nature makes us focus on the few negative things written.  I really try not to read all of them but I am human.  I have googled myself and my reviews.  I encourage the rest of you to try your best to avoid reading the reviews sent our way.  Also, I wish my mother and my aunt would stop googling my reviews.  My mom loves to tell me she read about how great my bedside manner is on the internet.  Also she asks me what my plan is to stay on time throughout the day.  After reading the internet my aunt and mother had been discussing ideas on how I could better stay on time.  Thanks yelp.  Thanks for nothing. 

The Doc is In

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