Finding a Good Doctor Just Got Harder Than Ever

Jacqueline Burt Cote
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doctor handThere's nothing like a couple of excruciating hours spent in a dentist's chair to make somebody write a less-than-complimentary online review: Zero stars! Go to this butcher at your own risk!

But what if a dentist or doctor asked you to sign a form that would give him the right to delete anything negative you posted online about your experience? These gag orders are called mutual privacy agreements, and they're popping up in doctors' waiting rooms all over the place. I get that medical professionals are a little nervous about the ease with which any disgruntled patient can publicly slam their skills, but this is way too control freak-y for my taste.

More and more doctors are adding this form to their mandatory patient paperwork, which means more and more people are signing away their right to voice an opinion without even realizing it. (How many of us read every single page of that massive bundle of papers the receptionist hands to us when we arrive for an appointment? I just look for the blank lines with the "X" marks next to them and scribble out my signature.) How scary is that?

You can't really blame the health care providers, though. At the center of this trend is an organization called Medical Justice -- they're the ones selling docs and dentists on the mutual privacy agreement idea, catering to fears they have about their reputations getting trashed and banking on the chance that most doctors are too busy to find out whether or not these agreements hold any water legally ... because, guess what? They don't. Yelp says they don't even entertain requests to delete comments from orgs like Medical Justice.

But what if they did? The thought is as creepy as an episode of The Twilight Zone. I don't want my opinions edited, especially when they're about something that happened to my body!

Have you ever been asked to sign a mutual privacy agreement?

 

Image via Truthout.org/Flickr

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