One way patients are now increasingly venting their anger over wait times or other practices that they have been subject to as well as handing out compliments to their doctors, is to rate their physicians and the hospitals that they frequent.  The most popular sites are:

  • ZocDoc
  • Healthgrades
  • RateMDs

While many doctors have been oblivious to their ratings, not showing much interest in them, patients do.  Often these ratings are checked before a prospective patient will schedule an appointment. There was a time, when doctors would sulk and brood about it privately, but now they are more frequently speaking out and fighting their reputations with lawsuits filed against the patients and families according to a Boston Globe article. Citing defamation of character, doctors are responding to negative comments in blogs, rating sites and social media.

According to Harvard University’s Digital Media Project, the results have vacillated:

“In some cases the doctors win, and the patients pull the negative post from the internet. In other cases, the court has dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that the negative post is free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

Dr. Kevin Pho, a physician blogger who has written a book about this,advises doctors in his Huffington Post interview, to check their reputation and comments about them on a weekly basis as well as filling out profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook to establish a presence online.

It seems to me that when lawsuits are filed about character defamation, they are often made public and more people who might not have been privy to the initial criticism, then become aware of it.  Wouldn’t it have been better to flood the websites and social media with good comments, superior ratings and glowing reports to counteract and dilute the  initial report?  Case studies and published articles also go along way to strengthening credit.

What do you think?  Share your opinion in the comment box below.