May 28, 2016

If you post a negative review of you doctor/dentist on Yelp, he might defend himself by revealing information about your case.

"One Washington state dentist turned the tables on a patient who blamed him for the loss of a molar: 'Due to your clenching and grinding habit, this is not the first molar tooth you have lost due to a fractured root,' he wrote. 'This tooth is no different.'"

WaPo reports.
Yelp has given ProPublica unprecedented access to its trove of public reviews -- more than 1.7 million in all -- allowing us to search them by keyword. Using a tool developed by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, we identified more than 3,500 one-star reviews (the lowest) in which patients mention privacy or HIPAA. In dozens of instances, responses to complaints about medical care turned into disputes over patient privacy....

Deven McGraw, the...  deputy director of health information privacy [in the Office for Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services], said health professionals responding to online reviews can speak generally about the way they treat patients but must have permission to discuss individual cases. Just because patients have rated their health provider publicly doesn’t give their health provider permission to rate them in return....

9 comments:

Lance said...

1.7 million reviews, but only "a few dozen" possible disclosure violations? Tempest in a teapot.

traditionalguy said...

Self defense is good. If a Professional can't defend himself, it will be abused.

Free Counter-punching Speech is good.

Clark said...

A lawyer is permitted to break confidentiality "to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary . . . to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and the client." Do the doctors/dentists have a similar rule?

Michael K said...

Malpractice suits used to be a good indicator of how well doctor and patients got along.

Yelp reviews are even cheaper, especially if you can't find a lawyer who will take your case on contingency.

I am so glad I'm retired.

Mary Beth said...

If a person is complaining about wait time and the doctor's office responds with information about their treatment, something not relevant to the complaint, then that would be a problem. If they are complaining about the treatment for their illness or whatever reason they came to the doctor for, it would seem to me that they've already made the choice to make the medical information public and the doctor should be able to respond.

mikee said...

I thought Yelp was nothing but a shakedown organization that blackmailed businesses by their "pay to play" policy? Or has that changed?

I recall, on opening day of a new hotel owned by a friend of mine, going to Yelp to make a positive comment, only to see the company already had a review stating that two weeks earlier (impossible, as the hotel wasn't open yet) the reviewer had his luggage opened and stuff stolen by maids there.

And my friend, when informed of this, said he'd been contacted by Yelp before opening, notifying him of the negative review and asking if he'd like to buy the required membership to allow a response to that review.

Has that policy changed at Yelp? This was about 3 years ago.

SOJO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim maguire said...

Patients shouldn't have to give up their medical privacy just to complain about a bad doctor experience. People understand that things go wrong, that even the best businesses will sometimes have an unhappy customer--most people don't even read the reviews, they just look at the percentages of good and bad. Unfortunately, some businesses don't realize that or are run by hotheads and who fight back in ways that make them look worse.

mikeyes said...

HIPPA is a federal law, not a standard of care or a rule or a guideline, with criminal consequences if violated. While there are exceptions as to who has access to your medical record, you have to give written permission before that information (or even the fact that you are under care) can be revealed. There is no assumptive release of information based on a review of the doctor.

On the other hand, if there is a law suit involved, That information can become public upon trial