Monday, June 2, 2014
It has been a while since I last posted to this blog, and to my readers I apologize. Things have been quite busy, hectic and stressful this year. As you know, we are still in a recession here in the U.S. (not officially of course) which has placed a great deal of stress on my practice. Although I have continued to answer questions that come in daily in the comment sections, posting in this blog is one of my duties that I have neglected. I'll strive to do better from here on out!
This post is a little different and a little off subject, but something important that I want to request from my readers. Yes, instead of you asking something from me, I'm asking something from you this time. As you know, the internet has become the biggest driving force for information and patients also use this to choose their doctors or clinics. This is a good thing, as anyone who has ever looked for a doctor, plumber, contractor, etc. realizes, but at the same time, the current sites that rate are flawed and often unreliable which make it a bad thing. It also can be used as a weapon against competitors. This latter point is something that I've only recently come to realize. I usually don't pay any attention to the rating sites, such as "Yelp" but just by chance, while looking for something else, I came upon it and saw some ratings of me "Edward J. Ramirez MD". My overall rating was a 2 (out of 5) based on four reviews, three of which were terrible! Interestingly, all three were within 1 week of each other so I decided to see if I could recognize who these "former patients" were and figure out why they hated me. The site had the first name and the initial of the last names listed so I thought I would look them up using that criteria. I have electronic medical records so it is not a difficult thing to do. I also had the time period (April 2014) to help with the search. Interestingly, I could not find any patients with the first names and last name initials to match these three patients. I also found the exact same texts in reviews on two other review sites! What I concluded is that these three "patients" were not actual patients but could only have been staff from a competing clinic that is trying to drive patients away from me by using these review sites. Why do I suspect a competitor? Because each of the reviews mention going to a "bigger Bay area clinic or another doctor". Of course they wouldn't state the clinic or doctor by name because that would them reveal who was placing these malicious reviews.
Many of you, my readers/followers, have never met me and don't know me personally. However, from my writing, I hope that you can see my devotion to patients and to treating them properly and respectfully. My consultations are 1+ hours long, and I don't limit the number of questions, how much time spent with the patients or tell the patient what to do. I also give my patients my email address in order to have almost immediate access to me for additional questions. I always try to make sure that the patient(s) understand everything that I have explained fully and clearly, even drawing diagrams and giving handouts regarding the topics. At the end of the consult, I give each patient a "consultation diagnosis and treatment" summary with a written explanation of their options. As you have read here in this blog, I believe that patients should be given options and should understand the pros/cons, risks/benefits, approximate costs and approximate pregnancy rates for each option; and I believe that this is a personal problem that they need to decide for themselves. Each patient has different priorities and needs and therefore, the decision will be different for each. As such I DO NOT TELL PATIENTS WHAT TO DO! I give them options. My role, as I explain to each new patient, is to be their consultant, adviser, advocate and therapist to help them reach their goal. I am here to help them to the best of my abilities via the path that they choose, even if it is against my recommended path. Some patients can't afford IVF so prefer to try IUI or prefer it because it is more natural, whereas other patients want to be pregnant immediately so want to bypass the easy treatments like ovulation induction or IUI and go straight to IVF. I believe that is THEIR choice, not mine. I'm there to help them in whichever path they choose.
So as you can see, when reviews show up that state that "I don't spend time answering questions" or "push them into IVF" or "don't explain things to them", you can bet that it is NOT a real patient writing that review, because that is exactly the opposite of what I really do.
After these many years of writing these blogs, answering questions through All Experts and responding to questions in the comments on this blog, I am asking for assistance from you, my readers and followers. The best way to overcome these false reviews is to put REAL reviews on these sites. If you have found me to be helpful to you, despite the fact that you have never seen or met me, but you feel that I've spent time on your questions, given you proper and reliable answers, given you hope, or helped you understand what you are going through, I would greatly appreciate it if you would call up one of these rating sites like YELP and put in a good word for me. Give me a rating that you feel I deserve and comments that you feel reflect what you feel about me. In this way, not only will you be helping me, but more importantly, you will be giving potential patients searching for a doctor a VALID review upon which to base their opinion and choices. I hope that you will go to a review site (type in Edward J. Ramirez MD or Fertility and Gynecology Center or Monterey Bay IVF or all three) and file a review of your experience in return for the information, response or advice that I have given you.
I would greatly appreciate your help in this matter.
Edward J. Ramirez, M.D.
Monterey Bay IVF