This is the way it should be considered:
Once a patient posts a review of a physician on the Internet, they are in effect giving up their ‘HIPAA’ rights to privacy, because they are publicly acknowledging and sharing private information with the public.
It is total bullshit that this article is trying to argue that physicians commenting in response to negative reviews on yelp are a violation of HIPAA, because reviews online are an incredibly powerful tool–as we all know, happy customers rarely take the time to say ‘I’m happy’, but negative people seem to find no end to the ways they can bitch about things…
I see this as becoming (maybe it is?) an issue in the courts, and physician advocacy groups need to step up now, *before* it becomes status quo that doctors aren’t allowed to speak back online–which looks may be in the works now–
Medical practiced are often built on word of mouth, and in the Internet age a few bad apples can really spoil a barrel…
To ask physicians — or in fact, anyone — to take a negative review without giving them a chance to respond is not only undemocratic, it’s inhumane.
If a patient doesn’t want their medical information plastered all over the Internet, fine, don’t write a negative review of a doctor. But if you do right a negative review of a doctor, you have to give the physician the opportunity to defend him or herself–including the opportunity to reveal the facts (ie–patient medical information–), where necessary.