Patients' online reviews have docs very concerned

November 1, 2005

Physicians aren't safe from patient scrutiny—especially on the Internet. Increasingly, patients are posting reviews of their physicians online.

Physicians aren't safe from patient scrutiny-especially on the Internet. Increasingly, patients are posting reviews of their physicians online. The practice was examined by The Wall Street Journal recently and has raised concerns among medical providers, according to a synopsis of the article in the electronic newsletter American Health Line (9/14/05). Several Web sites-including http://www.nddb.net/ and http://www.ratemds.com/ -allow patients to post or read reviews of physicians, and some patients have launched sites criticizing specific doctors.

The online reviews have prompted some physicians to file lawsuits against patients and Web site operators. While physicians want to protect their reputations, patients claim that they have a First Amendment right to describe their experiences with their physicians.