In March 2009 I wrote a blog post titled “Doctors Block Critical Comments by Patients.” yes, that was a very long time ago. The post was about the extreme steps some physicians were/are taking to keep their dissatisfied patients from writing about them online – in blogs, social communities or through established outlets like RateMDs.com. These physicians were having patients sign ‘mutual privacy agreements’ where the patient signs away his or her right to say anything critical about the physician in online venues. They were doing this on the advice of one prominent consulting firm: Medical Justice Services.
Today these medical gag orders are still in the news. Last week I saw an article in Fierce Practice Management suggesting that Michigan is considering legislation that would prevent physicians from requiring patients to sign these gag orders as a prerequisite to providing medical service. Congratulations to Michigan for taking the lead on this issue and for advocating on behalf of patients’ rights!