Free Essay

Gag Order

In: Business and Management

Submitted By ssant
Words 649
Pages 3
A gag order (also known as a gagging order or suppression order) is an order, typically a legal order by a court or government, restricting information or comment from being made public, or in some cases, passed onto any unauthorized third party.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34794632/ns/health-health_care/t/docs-seek-stifle-patients-rants-web-sites/#.VHypktLF9XM

http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-room/2012/nielsen-global-consumers-trust-in-earned-advertising-grows.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath http://saleshq.monster.com/news/articles/1866-doctors-seek-gag-orders-to-stop-patients-online-reviews http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-03-05-doctor-reviews_N.htm Today’s consumer conducts a proliferation of research before buying a product or availing a service. Websites such as Amazon offers online reviews of products that provide a wealth of information for the curious consumer. The medical profession is no exception as consumer ratings services like Zagat’s and Angie’s List have expanded beyond restaurants and plumbers to medical care much to the dismay of many doctors.
Doctors are now asking patients to agree to what amounts to a “gag order”, a standardized waiver agreement that bars patients from posting negative comments about a medical visit online. They argue that these negative reviews are tantamount to tabloid journalism that that do not constructively assist the process and can unfairly ruin a good doctor’s reputation. There is credence to this argument as there is no real way of checking the validity of the reviews that are posted and online reviewers may be biased and untruthful in their posts. We note that this is different to Amazon where only verified purchasers of products are permitted to write reviews of same. Additionally, doctors are unable to defend their actions and reputation as they are bounded by the patient-confidentiality agreement. This can have severe repercussions for the medical profession and can result in doctors leaving it and deterring potential doctors from entering it to the detriment of the entire society.
Traditionally, the medical profession has been well respected even to the point of glorified. Doctors were considered an elite few and their expertise made them sought after. However, this is the information age where knowledge is power and the current consumer is educated, savvy and opinionated. The gag order gives doctors the upper hand and patients are effectively silenced and unable to voice their views and concerns which are their very right. Essentially, patients are being asked to trade in their freedom of speech for medical care. This is a backward societal step and is in direct contravention with consumers’ rights and society’s ethical expectations of freedom of expression in this modern era.
According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey (2012), online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform. Positive online reviews can be viewed as a savvy marketing tool where consumers are encouraged to go by a doctor who is reviewed favourably. Online reviews also hold the medical profession to the highest standards of service and care as doctors who are attempting to build/maintain a good reputation will be less likely to be careless in terms of diagnosis and bedside manner. This allows consumers, the medical profession and the wider society as a whole to be better off.

"They're basically forcing the patients to choose between health care and their First Amendment rights, and I really find that repulsive," Swapceinski 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

Essentially, patients are being asked to trade in their freedom of speech for medical care,” said John Swapceinski, founder of RateMDs.com, where 400 new ratings of doctors are added every day.

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