"An honest critique is nothing to fear," says an MPC contributor. "The problem arises when patients perceive that they have been offended and write scathing critiques. I find this hurtful and deceitful and not at all beneficial."
Now there’s a new twist. Doctors, unable to respond to the distorted posts, sue, or get them taken down, are resorting to some creative ways to participate in the game:
A few physicians even jest about starting a Website devoted to deadbeat patients. Others prefer to stuff the online ballot boxes. Quips an allergist, "Every anonymous review I've written on myself has been glowing." An anesthesiologist recommends that physicians have their patients fill out comment cards in the office that can later be posted on physician-ratings Websites. An emergency medicine physician says, "Dilute the negative comments by encouraging your satisfied patients to post their comments." An otolaryngologist remarks that his practice has gained numerous patients from positive online reviews. "We help patients get to the sites to write their reviews." This proactive approach has netted his practice 50 positive reviews for every negative one. "The bad ones are totally ignored since they look so petty."
Some physician-advocate sites, such as Medical Justice (www.medicaljustice.com), encourage physicians to silence their patients by what amounts to a gag order.
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