- Tuesday.October 22. 2019
“The suggestion that many complaints ‘may not be real’ reflects the rising incidence of cyberbullying of businesses across the professional and commercial world. My valued colleagues point out that along with established procedures for helping patients with all concerns, we must also follow up all complaints posted online to see if they are real.” – Dr Jennifer Martinick, MBBS, FISHRS
Dr Martinick says, “As an enthusiastic advocate for greater consumer awareness about hair loss I welcome all developments for continued transparency and accountability in the profession of hair restoration.”
“Physicians practising gold standard hair restoration have built their practices around the principles of the Hippocratic Oath as well as accountability and transparency. But, this does not mean I blindly believe all hair restoration physicians practice gold standard surgery,” she says.
Hair restoration can be viewed as a lucrative field to enter and some physicians do not engage in the level of ongoing education needed to consistently deliver gold standard hair restoration.
Practising gold standard surgery requires a heavy investment of financial resources as well as time in selecting and training a first-class surgical support team.
“Quality driven physicians will always strive to do their best work; however, it is naive and even arrogant to assume there won’t be complaints,” Dr Martinick says.
There are established procedures for dealing with complaints to ensure every person is heard and a fair solution is reached.
“It is a sign of the times that some of my valued colleagues point out that along with established procedures for helping patients with all concerns, we must also follow up all complaints posted online to see if they are real,” says Dr Martinick.
“This suggestion that many complaints ‘may not be real’ reflects the rising incidence of cyberbullying of businesses across the professional and commercial world.”
Business owners are often approached by reputation management companies, many of them reputable – some of them not so reputable – who offer protection against negative posts on the internet. Caution is needed.
There are many reports of online postings against physicians which cannot be matched in any way with cases or patients treated in their practices.
The consensus is that the not-so reputable ‘reputation management’ company has planted the post.
Rising anecdotal reports also suggest many business owners, including hair restoration physicians, face cyberbullying from consumers who are trying to avoid their financial obligations.
These consumers intimate – or can even be quite explicit – that ‘their silence on the internet’ cannot be guaranteed if they are pursued for payment. Sometimes these patients demand free follow up surgery.
In other cases, the consumer indicates they don’t plan to honour the terms of the generous payment arrangement granted to them.
Delivering quality hair transplant surgery in a hygienic, comfortable and caring environment is dependent on a commercially successful practice – something which cannot be underpinned based on giveaways.
Commercial viability enables physicians to help those whose lives will greatly benefit from hair transplantation, yet cannot afford it. These include former cancer patients, burns victims, child accident victims or even men and women whose genuine circumstances prevent them from finding an upfront payment.
Dr Martinick says, “It would be tragic if, a side effect of cyberbullying were to make physicians hyper-vigilant about the patient selection, that worthy cases miss out on assistance.”
“But awareness can be a great equaliser against any injustice.”
“An increasingly information savvy and discerning patient is far more likely to question these suspicious online posts and discuss their veracity with their chosen physician.”
“Perhaps, the truth will triumph after all,” says Dr Martinick.