I was sent this petition on change.org and I thought it was worth passing along to our readers:
Remove Online Reviews of Doctors
“Doctors and other healthcare providers are reviewed on online review sites, similar to other businesses. We, however, are not like those other businesses. These online reviews are an open forum to the public written by patients, who are allowed to share their stories and photos explaining their experiences that they had with their doctor. Often these reviews are negative and accuse the doctors of complications or mismanagement from medical visits, treatments and procedures that they have had. Unlike other businesses, we, the doctors, are not allowed to respond back, to defend our case or share any facts or photos to the public because of HIPAA and medical privacy laws. We, the doctors, find this extremely unfair and unjust. If patients are allowed to review us, then we should be able to defend the review and be able to state publicly our side of the story.
This is a clear cut prohibition and violation of our rights to defend ourselves and to protect our names and reputations. These reviews that are often one sided, impact our livelihood and medical practices. They also cause emotional distress to the doctors, who cannot explain their side of the story that is out in the public forum for others to read and believe. Also, many doctors fearing poor reviews will overprescribe and overtest just to “satisfy” patients. We, the doctors, should not be pressured to do things to get good reviews. We want to provide medical care not customer care. This effects the care to our patients and society as a whole.
We ask for immediate withdrawal of ALL doctors and providers, who are affected by HIPAA and medical privacy laws, from being reviewed on these online review sites. Until we can defend ourselves, a review should not be posted to which we cannot respond.
This petition will be delivered to:
United States Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. House of Representatives
The Doctor’s Perspective
It’s an interesting petition. I don’t know the legal limits of passing a law to force a particular review site (Yelp) to disallow reviews for a particular group (doctors). However, the petition makes two interesting points. First, that doctors feel they can’t always respond to a review because it may violate the patient’s privacy rights (HIPAA). Secondly, doctors feel pressure to overprescribe or over-treat to satisfy patients, a topic I’ve addressed here.
Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, please leave constructive comments below.