Perhaps in no other area of medicine today are reviews more important and relevant than in plastic surgery. The advent of internet review sites has allowed consumers to have a newfound insight into the practice of a plastic surgeon and the outcomes from a patient’s perspective on a widespread level that was never before possible. Previously, plastic surgeons may have gotten new referrals from the friends and family of happy patients, but for those consumers who don’t have any family or friends who have been through the process, choosing a plastic surgeon in Sacramento can be a daunting or even overwhelming experience.
It is always important to ask about the training and background of your surgeon during the consultation process. An informed consumer has every right to ask about board certification status, training background, licensure status of the provider, accreditation of the operating facility, and history of disciplinary action or legal actions brought against the provider. Many websites are available to disseminate or confirm this type of information. Beyond that, many consumers or prospective patients will find it helpful to review a provider’s reviews on the internet. It is important to understand what a review might potentially mean.
Any provider is bound to have an unhappy patient who has left a negative review. Human nature is such that unhappy people are far more willing to share their experience than a happy consumer, especially when someone feels they have been particularly wronged. It is important to realize that patient privacy protection laws make it difficult or even impossible for a provider to respond to a negative review with any facts associated with the review that would potentially expose the reviewer’s identity. As such, many surgeons elect not to respond to reviews, even if the information provided in the review is not entirely accurate; there is always more than one side to a story. An educated consumer will often have to ask themselves if the reviewer actually had a treatment or surgery by the provider or if the negative experience even had anything to do with the provider. Multiple reviews that contradict a single negative review may appropriately draw skepticism about the negative review.
Likewise, a positive review is only worthwhile if the patient can relate their personal experience. Perhaps the most revealing type of review is one in which the patient can relate their experience from beginning to end, and while he or she may have glowing things to say about the surgeon or the staff, telling a story of the experience, including the trepidation going into the procedure or relating the provider’s response to complications can be very enlightening to other potential patients. Additionally, no provider has 100% happy patients, so if a provider has all positive reviews with nothing negative whatsoever, one has to be careful in placing absolute trust in the reviews posted.
There is no perfect formula for picking a plastic surgeon. Having a good fit and feeling with the surgeon during the consultation is perhaps one of the most important aspects of the process, but referrals from friends and family, a thorough check of the provider’s background, and researching a surgeon’s reviews can complete the decision-making process and make a prospective patient more comfortable with their decision to move forward with a particular surgeon or office. Additionally, review websites that specialize in the medical field, especially plastic surgery, can be especially helpful. And remember, regardless of your experience (hopefully it was positive), it is helpful to others if you can share your own experience and leave a review. If a surgeon’s reviews are mostly positive, likely there are many times that number of patients who were also happy but didn’t take the time to leave a review.