In our day and age, word of mouth has immeasurable reach. This is because
news, reviews, and criticism never just pass from our mouths but also
through our fingers as we text, post, and review to our friends and to
strangers on public websites.
Yelp is just one of the critic forums on which a city’s restaurants,
bars, public spaces, and doctor’s offices are constantly reviewed
by patrons or aspiring food critics. Because our cities can be vast, looking
for a service or a place to patronize can be difficult at times, especially
when we do not have trustworthy guidance from friends and family.
Use of Yelp to Review Doctors, Dentists, and Other Medical Professionals
Finding reputable businesses and service providers becomes more difficult
when it is not just your night at stake, but also your health. Many turn
to the review websites in order to determine who would be the best doctor,
dentist, or ophthalmologist in their proximity and price range. We judge
based on the reviews and stars, and the more positive reviews and five-star
ratings, the more likely we are to visit that doctor. However, the more
negative reviews there are for a practice, the more that practice is likely
to suffer. This gives major incentive for owners of these practices to
debunk bad reviews and give their sides of a lopsided negative review.
However, in doing so, especially when the medical practice does not have
a PR practice associated with it,
patient confidentiality can become compromised, leaving doctors opened up to lawsuits.
Doctor-Patient Confidentiality: HIPAA and Maryland State Law
Doctor-patient confidentiality is protected by federal and state laws.
The federal law is known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act (known as HIPAA), and makes it illegal for doctors to disclose any
patient’s health record without permission.
Maryland has its own doctor-patient confidentiality law that requires doctors to
maintain health records as confidential records.
Maryland’s Confidentiality Laws: When a Patient Gives Authorization
The person of interest within the medical health records may give permission
to the doctor to disclose his or her information as well as the length
of time and the limitations for such disclosure. Disclosure can also be
limited to just the relevant medical information that is within the records.
For example, if a patient’s medical history surrounding a physiological
order is pertinent to a lawsuit, the patient’s mental health record
may be shielded from this disclosure, especially when it is unrelated
to the lawsuit itself.
Maryland’s Confidentiality Laws: Where Disclosure is Permitted Without
In addition, there may be some circumstances in which disclosure is permitted
when the person of interest does not give authorization for disclosure.
For example, this may be necessary when there is an emergency situation
and the patient may need to be treated by someone outside of his or her
authorized disclosure network, or when the information may help to save
the patient or limit harm to others. Also, disclosure without permission
may take place when a child has been neglected or abused, and that information
may be needed by the State when assessing the fitness of a parent or the
environment the child is living in. Finally, medical professionals may
be able to disclose to close family members and other close relations
the status of a patient who may be hospitalized due to illness or injury.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
Doctor-patient confidentiality is at the center of trust between a doctor
and patient. Disclosures of your medical records without your authorization
are a violation of federal and state law, and you should consult with
an attorney regarding your patient rights. Please call the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.