Medical Justice Clarifies Doctor-Patient Agreements Regarding Online Reviews
GREENSBORO, N.C., April 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – Medical Justice, a membership-based organization dedicated to protecting physicians from meritless litigation, today issued a statement clarifying its doctor-patient agreements referencing online reviews. The agreements explicitly state that online feedback is not only reasonable, it is encouraged. The document’s exact language is: “Nothing in this Agreement prevents a patient from posting commentary about the Physician – his/her practice, expertise, and/or treatment – on web pages, blogs, and/or mass correspondence.” The agreements are only legally relevant if and when a fictional or fraudulent review is posted. It is not intended for use with every negative post.
“I want to be clear that we encourage honest online feedback. We tell our members that feedback is the best way to get continual improvement in practice performance. In addition, we strongly believe patients have a right to ‘shop’ for a good physician and know what others think of that practitioner,” says Jeff Segal, MD, JD, FACS and CEO of Medical Justice.
But as the system stands now, a doctor is legally forbidden to respond to fictitious or egregious on-line comments. They cannot even disclose that they actually treated a patient. “Half a conversation does not inform and is unfair to the consumer reading it. If a patient says that two days after surgery his wound opened, you might think the doctor made an error. But, if you learn the doctor instructed the patient to avoid heavy lifting for six weeks, and the patient went back to construction work on post-op day number two, the conclusion would be different,” said Segal.
Medical Justice is working with some reputable rating sites to develop industry standards that would help give patients a clearer, more accurate picture of a given physician’s performance. “Choosing a doctor on a rating site, where on average one-third of doctors have negative ratings, seems misleading. Are 33 percent of doctors bad? Of course not. In addition, doctors have on average only one to three ratings on any given rating site, yet they see between 1,000 and 3,000 patients a year. Patients deserve to know and understand this information, giving them a fair picture,” said Segal.
About Medical Justice
Run by physicians for physicians, Medical Justice, headquartered in Greensboro, NC, is a membership-based organization that offers proven services and proprietary methods to protect physicians’ most valuable assets – their practice and reputation. The company offers proactive services to deter frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits and provide reputation management services for physicians and dentists. Medical Justice works as a supplement to conventional professional liability insurance. The frequency of frivolous suits is dramatically reduced for its plan members. For more information, visit our website at www.medicaljustice.com or call 877-MED-JUST (1-877-633-5878).
SOURCE Medical Justice