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Doctors Silencing Patients: Is This A Disturbing New Trend?

Websites like Angie’s List offer online reviews on all types of service providers, including doctors.  It is undeniable that the internet provides a broad forum for public discussion, good and bad, that is very powerful.  If a search engine like Google gets a hold of negative information, even if it is untrue, it is next to impossible to have that information removed from the internet.  Nevertheless, the internet has made individual consumers a powerful force in the marketplace, through the power of the keyboard and mouse.

Doctors, concerned about the adverse effect of negative online publicity, have now taken to the practice of requiring patients to sign agreements not to post online performance reviews of their physicians.  An online company owned by physicians is charging doctors $1500 to learn how to implement this strategy into their practice.

Why the Taliban-style approach to information management?  Doctors are panicked by the prosepect of litigation.  Are these Draconian attempts to stifle free speech even enforceable?  Doubtful, but still unresolved.  Luckily, we still have the something called the First Ammendment. 

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