Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Some Doctors Seek to Prevent Patients from Posting Negative Comments Online

The AP reports that some physicians are "asking patients to agree to what amounts to a gag order that bars them from posting negative comments online." The AP highlights one company that "provides doctors with a standardized waiver agreement. Patients who sign agree not to post online comments or ratings about the doctor, 'his expertise and/or treatment.'" The "company advises doctors to have all patients sign the agreements" and physicians "are notified when a negative rating appears on a website, and, if the author's name is known, physicians can use the signed waivers to get the sites to remove offending opinion." But, John Swapceinski, co-founder of, said, "They're basically forcing the patients to choose between healthcare and their First Amendment rights." According to AMA President Dr. Nancy Nielsen, "online doctor reviews 'should be taken with a grain of salt, and should certainly not be a patient's sole source of information when looking for a new physician.'"

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