In this age where social media holds much power and seems like online reviews are more feared than welcomed I think it’s about time that we adapt a culture of learning to listen and respond appropriately to these feedback. As aptly said by a good colleague and friend, Dr. Rasu Shrestha – “Handling negative feedback is part and parcel of today’s work environment; and today especially, these come via various media.”

Human nature dictates that it’s no joke to get negative feedback, most especially when you feel it was “unjustly” made and at the same time it gets very tempting to react immediately in defense of one’s self so the question is – How do we respond to negative feedback in the healthcare industry where we are perceived to be an industry that involves no mistakes at all?

At its best feedback is a powerful tool, stimulating honest self-reflection, insight and improvement.
At its best feedback is a powerful tool, stimulating honest self-reflection, insight and improvement.

Here are some thoughts –

1- Avoid evasiveness. Confront the issue after gathering facts. Be confident yet humble. Polite and diplomatic. It won’t make you any less of a human to admit to a mistake if the need arises. Clarify if needed. Express gratitude even amidst negativity because this is where we learn.

2- It always pays to respond to the feedback immediately. Face it with courage and read between the lines. Even if you think the other party has had their own share in the complaint, respect is key. Think before you ink or speak, acting in a defensive way will not help at all. Bear in mind that there’s no need to promise to provide for a solution at once but you should at the least acknowledge that the matter shall be acted upon immediately, there’s a difference on this. On this aspect never erase or ignore negative comments.

3- Take the conversation offline. There is danger in discussing everything online since breach in medical confidentiality may happen so respond politely to the feedback online and request if he or she may be contacted offline so you may further collaboratively discuss and find resolution to the said feedback. Do not deny nor admit on a public online trail. Genuinely offer to discuss and resolve the issues at hand with an open mind and again, apologize if needed, clarify the issue or issues at hand.

4- Read the fine lines of the feedback, it is often in this act of scrutiny where we can truly dissect the root of the issue and therefore respond appropriately. Listen to criticism. The most difficult aspect of being an individual is to face reality but there’s such a thing as positive criticism too, learn to distinguish.

As I mentioned in a previous post I think it’s high time we embrace a culture of feedback, both the good and bad ones. It’s about time that we welcome it, no matter how difficult it may seem to be, that’s the reality we face and social media is here to stay so let’s learn to use it responsibly aiming for solutions instead of the opposite. And be quick to affirm too, after all there’s always a balance of everything in any aspect in the world we live in.