Doctors and dentists tell patients, “all your review are belong to us”

We (especially doctors themselves) like to think docs are smart. While all are very well educated in medicine, it doesn’t mean they’re actually smart at much else. Docs are well know to lose gobs of money in stupid ‘investements’ like Avacado farms and ostrich ranches (and yes, there are those with the chicken ranch problems, as well).

Here’s a dumb thing some docs are adopting I hope goes away quickly, as it’s actually not in the best interest of medicine:

When I walked into the offices of Dr. Ken Cirka, I was looking for cleaner teeth, not material for an Ars Technica story. I needed a new dentist, and Yelp says Dr. Cirka is one of the best in the Philadelphia area. The receptionist handed me a clipboard with forms to fill out. After the usual patient information form, there was a “mutual privacy agreement” that asked me to transfer ownership of any public commentary I might write in the future to Dr. Cirka. Surprised and a little outraged by this, I got into a lengthy discussion with Dr. Cirka’s office manager that ended in me refusing to sign and her showing me the door.

The agreement is based on a template supplied by an organization called Medical Justice, and similar agreements have been popping up in doctors’ offices across the country. And although Medical Justice and Dr. Cirka both claim otherwise, it seems pretty obvious that the agreements are designed to help medical professionals censor their patients’ reviews.

via Doctors and dentists tell patients, “all your review are belong to us”.

Read the article to get a good flavor of the problem, but here’s the moral objuection I think eviscerates their doing this (from the article):


When Ars asked Schultz about medical professionals who ask their patients to sign these agreements, he was scathing. “It’s completely unethical for doctors to force their patients to sign away their rights in order to get medical care,” he said. He pointed out that patients seeking treatment can be particularly vulnerable to coercion. Patients might be in acute pain or facing a life-threatening illness. Such patients are in no position to haggle over the minutia of copyright law.

Do good work, take charge of complaints, and live well.



  1. Steve Lucas says:

    There is a lot more in this post than meets the eye. I am a business person with undergraduate and graduate degrees in business with multiple majors. I am constantly shocked when meeting doctors socially that they pronounce they are small business people and that they have read a book.

    Doctors have been thrust into the role of business person, but this does not mean they are very good. Pharma, with a win at all cost, and if we do this, we can increase revenue, drives the corporate culture of medicine.

    Doctors, plural, have told me they are there to maximize my insurance. I am taking food off their children’s table. My deductable remains the same no matter how many test they run, so what is the problem, and time and time again: You have insurance.

    Not only does this drive cost, raising everyone’s premiums, this is unethical. Add to this in my community many doctors receive direct yearly payments from one hospital for all testing referrals.

    Doctors need to step back and get the proper legal, accounting, and business advice. Yes, you are smart, but you cannot know everything. Play golf, or go to the shooting range, with people who are not doctors. Like you, people do not like to give advice for free, but if you say: I have this situation, they are willing to give their opinion.

    We all deal with the same snake oil salesmen, no matter what the product. Mine just do not dress as well.

    Steve Lucas