... About online reviews.
Please, Dont believe everything you read when it comes to online reviews and internet forums since anyone can post anything about anyone anywhere on the Web.
Since the first day, at MakeoverTravel we have made it our goal to provide the best care for every patient every day and our philosophy has always been Our patients always come first.
We have been recognized nationally and internationally for providing higher quality, patient-centred care leading to optimal outcomes and patient satisfaction since opening in 2001.
Our patients come from all over the world; and since 2001 more than 3000 patients have enjoyed the dedicated care they receive at MakeoverTravel from their care coordinators as well as the highest quality of plastic surgery care at an affordable price.
...Obviously 'word of mouth' is the best recommendation anyone can offer
Our medical group has grown an excellent reputation with our patients who refer their families, friends and colleagues to us, which has also given our organization a good relationship with international insurance companies that also refer their patients to us for treatments (such as reconstructive plastic surgery after accidents or special reconstructive face and body treatments for burned patients etc.) in an attempt to rein in exploding medical costs in their country.
Despite our best efforts and our professionalism, we are today faced with a serious problem. Internet!
One of the highest profile professions in the world is that of a doctor. Working directly with the public with the most precious possession people have, their health, makes what doctors do very special. It also makes our liability higher than any other profession.
Lets face it, working with people is a tough job. Many of you do it, but you certainly dont work with people in the way that doctors do. Plastic surgeons work directly with people in regard to their health and beauty, which are often the most important things to our patients, and if its not done exactly as the patient wants, even if its done correctly, they will often lash out.
So where do they lash out? Online of course!
Why? If a disgruntled patient is looking for an outlet, she/he doesnt need to look very far. Doctor review websites are everywhere, and its very easy for a patient to ruin a doctor reputation online with a few well placed reviews of the service the patient was provided.
The problem is that reviews can be posted by anyone: Competitors, disgruntled ex-employees, or an ex-patient who just decide to ruin doctor' reputation online because he refuses to do or redo an intervention for free.
In some case, that reviews are posted by people trying to extort money from plastic surgeons.
Yes it sounds crazy! but it is unfortunately real, and these practices have become more and more common.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons over 60% of plastic surgeons have been victim of extortion by patients who threaten them to ruin their reputation online if they do not accept to do what the patient wants.
Victim of an extortion
On January 2010 we have been victim of an extortion scam in which an ex patient threatened to post negative comments and ratings about our doctors and their practices on social websites to ruin our reputation if we did not refund her money (once her procedure was completed).
Although the surgery was perfectly done, this patient said she was unsatisfied with her outcomes. We still dont know if the patient had unrealistic expectations or if it was just a pretext to justify a common extortion.
We refused to refund her money because her surgery was perfect, but as a consequence of our reaction in no time dozens of negative posts against MakeoverTravel were scattered throughout the Internet in different social websites (such as: messageboards.makemeheal.com).
She was using many different user names and portraying herself as different people (sometimes to respond to her own posts, and in other cases to create new threads as if she were another unsatisfied patient).
From January 2010, she continues to post the same type of messages which reveal she is in fact just one person. Her messages are easy to recognize since they all start by expressions such as Please dont go there, Run! or be aware with MakeoverTravel.
Thus resulting in potential patients -who were not aware of this type of deception- seeing and believing the postings and then canceling their procedures.
These scam artists know these facts and use it to their advantage.
For all readers out there, it is important to understand that as wonderful as the internet can be, it can also be dangerous. Anyone can make a claim without the need to validate their claim. The best way to evaluate a physician is through state licensing sites that control, and authenticate their contents.
Thank God, our first extortion case happened almost 10 years after our company was established and after more than 3000 satisfied patients have had their surgery done with MakeoverTravel in Brazil, Bolivia, Israel or Mexico.
But unfortunately online extortion has become an important expenditure for many plastic surgeons all over the world.
These con persons target top plastic surgeons or important medical group to better ensure their paybacks. Many assume that plastic surgeons and organizations like our make enough money so who cares.
But in reality, once these unnecessary expenses occur, plastic surgeons have more difficulty easening up on their fees to try to help their patients in this tough economy. So once again, ultimately, the honest people are the one who get hurt, patient and their doctor alike.
Many say that a tough economy brings out the worst in people, but in terms of plastic surgery offices its bringing the worst people IN.
To make matters worse, some websites are taking part in this online fraud themselves and requesting exuberant amounts of money from plastic surgeons or medical organization to remove these fake posts.
Many websites invite negative comments and block positive ones to force plastic surgeons in to paying them kickbacks.
As we all know the Internet is not always the most trustworthy place to gain information. Doctors constantly express how they dont advise people to get medical advice from the web, and now even more so with this epidemic of online swindling.
So, please! next time you head to review sites to read what patients have to say about a doctor, a clinic, or a medical organization; take into consideration the fact that not all these reviews may be in good faith. We all know choosing a doctor is an important decision and being cautious is wise, just be wise enough to know not to believe everything you hear or read.