/* mobile /* end mobile MEDDESKTOP: Doctors Trying To Censor Bad Patients Reveiws With "Mutual Privacy Agreement"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Doctors Trying To Censor Bad Patients Reveiws With "Mutual Privacy Agreement"

I read about this a few weeks back and wanted to write about it. While no doctor has asked me to sign one yet, if they do, I will do exactly what Timothy Lee of ArsTechnica did, walk away and ask insurance company for the next nearest doctor.
"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 (I like the stars he is getting now!) 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 just like Timothy published about the offices of Dr. Ken Cirka demanding to sign a "mutual privacy agreement", which basically asks you to sign your rights to any public commentary you make away. More and more doctors are doing this and if you do publish a negative comment, they will use the form you signed to remove it from, say a site like YELP.
Most these stupid, I meant uneducated, no I meant stupid doctors begin with a line claiming to offer stronger privacy protections than those guaranteed by HIPAA, the 1996 law that governs patient privacy in the United States. HIPPA is good enough, you do not need any more protection, and I doubt they can give any. They cannot release your information just because you did not sign an agreement to release your rights.
 "The agreement that Dr. Cirka's staff asked me to sign on that February morning began by claiming to offer stronger privacy protections than those guaranteed by HIPAA, the 1996 law that governs patient privacy in the United States. In exchange for this extra dollop of privacy, it asked me to "exclusively assign all Intellectual Property rights, including copyrights" to "any written, pictorial, and/or electronic commentary" I might make about Dr. Cirka's services, including on "web pages, blogs, and/or mass correspondence," to Dr. Cirka. It also stipulated that if Dr. Cirka were to sue me due to a breach of the agreement, the prevailing party in the litigation will pay the loser's legal fees"

More I read about it, more sick I get :) so I have picked some plump and useful sections from ArsTecnica's Timothy's article but to get a total scope of the copyright phenomena you will need to follow the link below to read his excellent article.
Timothy also spoke to people well versed in this kind of matters, like Wendy Seltzer, a fellow at Princeton's Center for Information Technology who founded the Chilling Effects clearinghouse for copyright takedown notices. She has said a medical professional seeking to use the copyright assignment to censor a review would have at least two serious legal problems. Copyright law and then the fair use.

But Timothy is not alone, the growing use of censorious copyright assignments recently caught the attention of law professors Jason Schultz and Eric Goldman, who created a site called Doctored Reviews to educate doctors and patients about the phenomenon.
In any case I am not a lawyer and this information is for informational purpose only.
ArsTechnica

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