In response to the Modern Physician reader poll: Should physician practices require patients to sign agreements of mutual privacy that bar patients from posting comments or ratings of the practices online?":
The issue has nothing to do with mutual privacy. As a patient, I am legally protected against the unauthorized release of my medical records. The privacy issue applies to my specific medical condition(s), and the degree to which I'm willing to allow that information to be shared with others.
It's a unilateral agreement. There's no mutuality involved.
On the other hand, physicians (as with other service providers) should be held accountable for their performance.
Now, a physician certainly can require a patient not to post his/her opinions, just as a physician can require payment in cash or can set specific office hours and see patients only during those hours. Those are all legitimate business decisions. But a patient's commenting on a physician's performance (or lack thereof) has little to do with privacy, and absolutely nothing to do with mutual privacy.
Don TepperFairfax, Va. To submit a letter to the Modern Physician Reader Blog, click here. Please include your name, title, company and hometown. Modern Physician reserves the right to edit all submissions.