Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I've been looking for a medical specialist recently, and I've been disappointed at how little information is available about specific medical doctors. I asked our insurance company representatives for some guidance, and all they could/would do is direct me to the online directory of network providers. I looked for reviews online of several names that I've come across but came up with little information. Luckily for me, I know a physician's assistant and a nurse at a nearby hospital, so I at least was able to get a few referrals from people who know what I look for in a doctor. But what about people who just moved in to the area? Are they stuck with rolling the dice on a most personal issue--who's going to be examining them?

I found this article entitled "Doctors try to silence negative reviews from patients" interesting. Apparently, some doctors feel that their patients should not be allowed to post a negative review of them online, and so they are asking their patients to sign agreements stating they won't post online comments about the doctors. (They don't think their patients will say anything positive about them? Uh-oh.) Physician rating sites fight attempts to enforce these agreements:

For their part, some sites that allow patients to review doctors are refusing to be bullied into taking down reviews, even if the reviewer in question has signed a waiver. "They're basically forcing the patients to choose between health care and their First Amendment rights, and I really find that repulsive," RateMD's cofounder John Swapceinsk told the AP. In fact, Swapceinsk is taking things a step further by putting up a Wall of Shame list of doctors who use patient waivers so that everyone can know who is engaging in these tactics.

The article ends by saying:

Review sites will only continue to increase in popularity—though potential customers should always take what they read online with a grain of salt. Instead of fighting the trend, doctors need to embrace the new reality and maybe even use the reviews as an opportunity to improve themselves.

Amen to that. There are occasionally arrogant, unpleasant doctors out there, and they deserve to be avoided by patients who would prefer not to be subjected to such treatment. Fun as House is to watch, I would not want him touching me.

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