Patients With Nothing Nice To Say...

   By drodriguez  Apr 19, 2011

A good doctor just got a little harder to find.  Many people on the lookout for a new doctor will often turn to online reviews as a way to weed out the ones that have a lot of negative reviews posted about their services.  Doctors are now figuring out a way to put an end to this practice by having their patients sign away their rights to post unflattering online reviews.

A recent report from Time’s Techland section discusses the new way doctors are keeping their patients from giving them bad online reviews.  About 3,000 U.S. doctors are currently paying a company called Medical Justice to protect them from medical malpractice suits as well as equip them with contracts for patients to sign away their right to post unflattering reviews of the service they receive from the doctor.  If a bad review does get posted, the doctor can demand it be taken down by calling it copyright infringement.

Law professors, Eric Goldman and Jason Schultz recently launched a website called  On the website the law professors explain why they believe it is wrong to censor negative doctor reviews.  They say, “Imagine if other companies used similar contracts.  Before you get a haircut, before you buy a six-pack of soda at the local grocery store or before you order a meal at a restaurant, imagine you were required to keep quiet and never post your opinion online about the product or service you purchased.”

What do you think of the contracts some doctors are requiring their patients to sign in an effort to censor any unflattering online reviews?

Would you you stay with your doctor if you were required to sign a contract like this?

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mmi284 by mmi284 | NEW BRIGHTON, PA
Apr 25, 2011

most people will go out of their way to tear someone down, and not build them up. On line reviews of Dr's are nto a good source of info for me. Most just reek of people griping on how they didn't get their way. Word of mout and your own dr's reffereal are the best bet. There fore if I went to a new office that had been highly reccommened and did not have a bad expeirence I would not have an issue signing anything.

kimvoloshin by kimvoloshin | PALMER TWP, PA
Apr 22, 2011

I can see both sides but from the side of the doctor is not legal. From the side of patient be careful not to be slammed with a slander lawsuit. Be truthful and wait a month before posting it will clear your head.

animalgal by animalgal | kenosha, WI
Apr 22, 2011

Oh hell no! I would not sign it! And I would call out the doctor wanting me to sign such a thing! Then I would call the newspaper... this would make me very upset, and wonder what the doctor is trying to hide!!! Doctors are people, and they make mistakes like everyone, and people should know both the good & the bad so they can make an informed decision.

star4ever16 by star4ever16 | LONG BEACH, CA
Apr 22, 2011

i would not want to sign away my right to post what i believe is the truth of a particular doctor. i have used one site that allows people to review doctors and give them "stars" based on how well each reviewer viewed him/her. i first went through and gave positive comments to my favorite doctors. I then went through and gave extremely negative reviews to those doctors that deserved them for being so completely incompetent that they made major/life changing errors!!!!!

amy9359 by amy9359 | Westchester, IL
Apr 21, 2011

I would not sign such an agreement. It feels like an infringement on my right to freedom of speech and the doctors who are doing this must be feeling threatened by the power of the internet and its ability to "spread the word" faster than ever before. Word-of-mouth has always been the most powerful form of advertising, whether positive or not. Doctors aren't gods no matter how much they wish they were. They make mistakes, they sometimes behave improperly or do not show proper respect for their patients. If they're guilty of any of those things, they need to step off the pedestal and admit it! Mistakes are the only way people learn and doctors are people...

docmp78 by docmp78 | Fridley, MN
Apr 21, 2011

like in any proffession.there could be some miscommunications ,n the patient might write a bad review,but i think its always better to be able to review drs ,n may the best ones benefit frm it.

docmp78 by docmp78 | Fridley, MN
Apr 21, 2011

i m a dr... n i think everyone shld be able to write a review about a dr. i m not worried tht anyone will write negative about me...y r drs scared of this!?!

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Apr 20, 2011

While I probably wouldn't read online doctor reviews, I wouldn't sign anything like this. It's just wrong! I think people have the right to see other's opinions. If the doctor was good, he shouldn't be worried.

wvmommyX by wvmommyX | Huntington, WV
Apr 19, 2011

It wouldn't bother me to sign it. I don't read online doctors reviews, I would rather get my info from someone I know directly that has had an experience with the doctor in question. Online reviews are often swayed negative, because a bad experience is more likely to drive someone to complain than a positive experience causing someone to give accolades.

cardreader by cardreader | Dudley, MA
Apr 19, 2011

wrong! Patients need to know the risks and reputation of doctors.

frogqueen75 by frogqueen75 | Berea, KY
Apr 19, 2011

I can actually see both side of this, since I worked in several different areas of the medical field before staying home with my kids-and regularly dealt with patients who were rude, obnoxious, insistent and if you didn't do what they wanted RIGHT when they wanted it (even if it was the absolute wrong course of action for their health issue) well, you were the one in the wrong, and by golly, they were going to report everyone in the office to the BBB, the AMA, they were going to sue, see where I'm going with this. However, I also have several moderate-to-severe health issues, and have dealt with some people in the medical field who were pretty terrible, and I have told other people in my local area NOT to ever go to those doctors/clinics.

brimom by brimom | MALAKOFF, TX
Apr 19, 2011

I have left a bad review for a doctor and hope that others will read it. I felt the information and the way I was treated needed to be known to others so they don't have the same experience I did.

Maureenbme by Maureenbme | DOWNERS GROVE, IL
Apr 19, 2011

Not on my life ! I would never sign such a waiver for anything it almost seems unconstitutional. I feel it is my right and responsibility to report a doctor that is unprofessional in any way. However it does explain the why it is so hard to find a good doctor.

mommyplesa by mommyplesa | Springboro, OH
Apr 19, 2011

I would like to know how they are calling it copyright infringement and how that would hold up in court. My understanding of copyright is that it is this "unauthorized or prohibited use of works". A doctor can't copyright a patient's opinion and/or experience and as far as I know, they can't copyright their name, either.

taysia38 by taysia38 | TEMPLE, TX
Apr 19, 2011

No way would I stay, it would make me think he is getting bad reviews.