This week I am featuring several posts from my intern, Stephanie Cohen. On Monday I published a special tribute post to Stephanie. You can find that post at http://tinyurl.com/6392eyn. She has been a remarkable intern and has contributed frequently to this blog. Here’s one of the last posts she wrote before graduating last weekend from the University of North Carolina. This post is particularly relevant given @MedMarketing COR‘s (Simon Sikorski, M.D.) recent rant against content farms that are stealing content from healthcare marketing bloggers and appropriating it for their own use. Here’s a link to a blog post by Simon that details OrganizedWisdom’s copyright violations and plagiarism, among other things. But in this post Stephanie focuses on the cluttered world of physician review sites. Please read on.
The online space is all about freedom. Freedom to browse, freedom to shop and freedom to post. This freedom, however, can be detrimental to physicians. Doctor review sites are often published without doctors’ knowledge by individuals who are not their patients. Furthermore, these sites, which can have a negative impact on a physician’s practice, are saturating search engines, thus hurting access to information of a physician’s own website. Consequently, patients are complaining about poor access to health information online.
Dr. Simon Sikorski suggests that physicians consider legal action against the companies creating these review sites. Yet, this is not to say that all review sites are unhelpful, as they can be an excellent way to find out information about physicians if the reviews are written by actual patients. Doctors must be able to verify their patients in order for these sites to be truthful. Dr. Sikorski suggests that doctors only need one listing on the Web, and it should be of their own website. Anonymous reviews can be posted on a physician’s website rather than freely on the web. I think this is a smart move, as it would give doctor’s more control of what is being said about him or her. What do you think about doctor review sites? Do you trust them?
Here’s a telling quote from Dr. Sikorski’s post:
“The worst possible scenario is already here: hundreds of copies of Vitals and Healthgrades are now in circulation. In many cases if you google a doctor’s name you will receive at least 10 pages of random review sites. Most of the time, these listings are hurting access to information that is on the doctor’s own websites. As more and more patients complain about poor access to information, healthcare regulatory bodies should be seriously considering getting involved in controlling the spam that exists in this space.”
For more on healthcare social media pitfalls, read Dr. Sikorski’s post here: http://www.healthcaremarketingcoe.com/healthcare-medical-internet-marketing/doctor_review_sites_health_care_social_media_pitfalls.php
Post by Stephanie Cohen, UNC-Chapel Hill Student and Jennings Intern