Stung by Yelp Reviews, Health Providers Spill Patient Secrets

by Larry Emmott on March 16, 2017

in Security,Social Media

From ProPublica:

Burned by negative reviews, some health providers are casting their patients’ privacy aside and sharing intimate details online as they try to rebut criticism. In the course of these arguments — which have spilled out publicly on ratings sites like Yelp — doctors, dentists, chiropractors and massage therapists, among others, have divulged details of patients’ diagnoses, treatments and idiosyncrasies.

Source: Stung by Yelp Reviews, Health Providers Spill Patient Secrets – ProPublica

The article states they found 3500 one star reviews in which patients mention privacy or HIPAA.

It also gives several examples of actual doctor patient interaction on sites like Yelp in which the doctor responded by revealing PHI. For example;

And a California dentist scolded a patient who accused him of misdiagnosing her. “I looked very closely at your radiographs and it was obvious that you have cavities and gum disease that your other dentist has overlooked. … You can live in a world of denial and simply believe what you want to hear from your other dentist or make an educated and informed decision.”

That is a clear violation. You cannot divulge patient conditions ,diagnostic findings or treatments. You cannot even divulge a name and that the person is a patient.

You can respond with generic information or better yet not at all. The best approach is to overwhelm a negative review with many positive ones. As an aside, if you are consistently getting negative reviews you may in fact be messing up. Don’t hide from the issue fix it.

The comments are interesting. For the most part they are pro doctor and anti review sites.

Thanks to Amy Wood Pres. of ACS Technologies for alerting me to this article.

Learn more about HIPAA and data safety at “Technology on the Rocks”

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