Bedside manner matters … a lot.

This is the main takeaway from new research published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Bedside manner is the most important make-or-break factor in both positive and negative online reviews of facial plastic surgeons, according to the new research.

Of 200 reviews, the most common reason for a 5-star review was bedside manner, composing 40 of 152 comments (26.3 percent). Furthermore, 33 of 152 comments (21.7 percent) accompanied 5-star reviews based on how honest the physician seemed to be, and 17 percent of the 5-star reviews focused on how much the patient liked their results.

“Patient satisfaction with results with superior physician bedside manner yields the best reviews,” write Nima L. Shemirani, MD, a facial plastic surgeon at Eos Rejuvenation in Beverly Hills, Calif. and Jeffrey Castrillon, MS, BA of Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif, 

For 1-star reviews, the second most common complaint is the feeling of being pressured or being lied to by a dishonest doctor. Another common complaint was rude office staff, the study found.

Other practical pearls that can be gleaned from the study include not pressuring patients to book and making sure staff is respectful. “If a review or comment mentions a staff member is impolite, it would be a great time to acknowledge this to the staff member,” the authors write.

The authors point out that one limitation of this study is that it looks at reviews of 5 large cities and may just reflect the attitudes of urban consumers. In addition, the qualitative nature of the study makes further analysis difficult.