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Online doctor reviews – some health care institutions actually think more is better

Posted Monday, November 20, 2017 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

Technology marches on. The ways in which we get health care changes. Hopefully, marketplaces are created that allow health care consumers to pick and choose which providers they want to see.

In these scenarios, it is no wonder that patients take their impressions of the providers they see to the Internet. Websites, including Yelp, Healthgrades, Ratemds, and others have for some time published the reviews of doctors posted by patients. Most of these reviews are either favorable, or at least respectful in their criticism. Rarely, the review is of a kind that prompts the reviewed doctor to contemplate legal action, including hiring an attorney to sue the reviewer for defamation.

While legal action may be the right avenue for some doctors, other health care institutions are thinking about it a little differently, actually calling for more reviews, and posting them all (for the most part) on their websites. University of Utah was the first hospital to begin posting such comments on their website in 2012, and since then a number of other hospitals have followed suit.

Supporters of this transparency say that it forces some providers who get negative reviews to think about changing behavior and improving the relationship they have with their patients. Further, posting unedited comments (and not just cleaned up favorable reviews) allows for consumers to feel like they are getting better information from which to make decisions about which doctor to see.

Certainly there are bad apples in every bunch, and comments may be unfair. Hospitals often allow doctors to review the comments and appeal to an internal committee if the doctor can show that a particular review is unfair or untrue. And there will still be places like Yelp where patients can and will post negative reviews, and if the post is particularly unfair, untrue, and damaging to a doctor’s business, the reviewer may be subject to legal action. But it is the hope of many hospitals that greater transparency will be a net benefit.

You can read more about this here:

Some solicit, others sue: Doctors take various tacks to respond to online reviews

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