Tag Archives: reviews

New funding will allow HealthNewsReview.org to resume, expand

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Gary Schwitzer

Gary Schwitzer

AHCJ member Gary Schwitzer has announced that the website he publishes, HealthNewsReview.org, has received a two-year grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

The site, known for its systematic reviews and ratings of news stories about health care, had been funded since 2005 by the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation but lost its funding July 1, 2013. Continue reading

Doctors rebel against online patient reviews

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Associated Press Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner reports that almost 2,000 doctors have signed up for a service providing waivers barring patients who sign them from posting on online doctor-rating sites like Angie’s List and RateMDs.com.

North Carolina neurosurgeon Dr. Jeffrey Segal’s firm, Medical Justice, gives paying doctors waiver forms to give patients and alerts them when a review appears online. Medical Justice allows doctors to use signed waiver forms to then have the offending comments removed, which he said had been done in “several instances.”

Some sites “are little more than tabloid journalism without much interest in constructively improving practices,” and their sniping comments can unfairly ruin a doctor’s reputation, Segal said.
Segal said such postings say nothing about what should really matter to patients — a doctor’s medical skills — and privacy laws and medical ethics prevent leave doctors powerless to do anything it.

According to Tanner, the co-founder of RateMDs.com said he refuses to take comments down when confronted with a signed waiver. Northwestern University Internet law specialist and attorney Jim Speta questioned the effectiveness of such waivers, Tanner said.

“Courts might say the balance of power between doctors and patients is very uneven” and that patients should be able to give feedback on their doctors’ performance, Speta said.