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Scooped by Seth Bilazarian, MD
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Doctors firing back at patients’ online critiques

Doctors firing back at patients’ online critiques | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it

The Digital Media Project at Harvard University tracks lawsuits filed against patients and others for online comments. Its website includes seven such cases filed over the past five years or so, though it’s not a comprehensive list. In some, patients took down their negative comments. In others, judges dismissed the suit, ruling that patients’ comments were protected under the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

In one 2011 case, Dr. Aaron Filler, a neurosurgeon, sued a former patient in a Los Angeles court for posting negative comments about him on rating sites such as RateMDs.com, including that he posed an unusually high risk of death to patients. A judge dismissed Filler’s suit, deciding that the patient was exercising free speech on a public issue, and ordered the doctor to pay $50,000 in legal fees.

Doctors feel they are at a disadvantage in responding to negative reviews because medical privacy laws forbid them from discussing a patient’s care in public — a limitation that hotels, restaurants, and other often-rated businesses and professionals don’t face. They also worry that their explanations could be used against them in a malpractice suit — although a new Massachusetts law protects doctors’ apologies.

Seth Bilazarian, MD's insight:

The strategy of suing patients for negative comments is generally not useful (the lawsuit raisies publicity about the negative comments) or successful.  For physicians, having an online presence (#HCSM) that is established and demonstrates earnestness, competence and goodwill is a much better approach to the problem of unfair or untrue negative comments by patients.

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Do Patients “Like” Good Care?

Do Patients “Like” Good Care? | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it

With the growth of Facebook, public health researchers are exploring the platform’s uses in health care. However, little research has examined the relationship between Facebook and traditional hospital quality measures. The authors conducted an exploratory quantitative analysis of hospitals’ Facebook pages to assess whether Facebook “Likes” were associated with hospital quality and patient satisfaction. The 30-day mortality rates and patient recommendation rates were used to quantify hospital quality and patient satisfaction; these variables were correlated with Facebook data for 40 hospitals near New York, NY. The results showed that Facebook “Likes” have a strong negative association with 30-day mortality rates and are positively associated with patient recommendation. These exploratory findings suggest that the number of Facebook “Likes” for a hospital may serve as an indicator of hospital quality and patient satisfaction. These findings have implications for researchers and hospitals looking for a quick and widely available measure of these traditional indicators.

Seth Bilazarian, MD's insight:

Will this result in bias for hospital outcomes?  Assume internet use is a proxy for wealth and education. Will internet / Facebook underuse in groups such as the poor, minorities and the elderly result in different patient populations with different health care characteristics using different.hosptials by this metric?

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