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WARNING: Are Online Reviews Bad for Your Health?

#sxsw #DrReview

Should you pick your doctor the same way you pick where to eat dinner? We are all consumers of health services. Our culture is exploding with information sharing and reviewing of services, and businesses are feeling anxious about the power of social media to damage their reputation. Yet the difference between which pizza to order and which plastic surgeon to trust is more than mere matter of words. Plus, as the numbers of angry and anonymous reviews grows, contentious battles are forming between healthcare providers and their patients, giving rise to an entire industry devoted to defending online reputations and fighting back against bogus posts. So what is the healthy balance? This panel will explore the legal rules at play (including copyright, free speech and patient privacy), the ethical obligations of healthcare providers (including confidentiality and the Hippocratic oath), and the innovative practices being developed in response.



Cindy Cohn Legal Dir Electronic Frontier Foundation

Cindy Cohn is the Legal Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as its General Counsel. She is responsible for overseeing the EFF's overall legal strategy and supervising EFF's ten staff attorneys and its legal fellow. Ms. Cohn first became involved with the EFF in 1995, when the EFF asked her to serve as the lead attorney in Bernstein v. Dept. of Justice, the successful First Amendment challenge to the U.S. export restrictions on cryptography. Outside the Courts, Ms. Cohn has testified before Congress, been featured in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere for her work on online issues. The National Law Journal named Ms. Cohn one of 100 most influential lawyers in America in 2006 for "rushing to the barricades wherever freedom and civil liberties are at stake online." In 2007 the Journal named her one of the 50 most influential women lawyers in America. In 2010 Intellectual Property Section of the State Bar of California awarded her its Intellectual Property Vanguard Award.

Jeffrey Segal CEO Medical Justice

I practiced as a neurosurgeon for ~ a decade. In 2000, my son became ill. With no formal training in the business/pharma world, I took a “sabbatical” co-founding a biotech company, DarPharma, to develop pharmaceuticals to help him. The company focused on first of class compounds for a range of neurological conditions - such as Parkinson’s, the tough to treat symptoms of schizophrenia, A.D.D., & substance abuse. I never went back to practicing clinical medicine. Soon thereafter, a medical device company acquired DarPharma

My son is much better.

I allowed myself to be bitten, yet again, by the entrepreneurial bug. I founded Medical Justice, an entity designed to keep doctors from being sued for frivolous reasons. Physicians in the U.S. have long felt victimized by a medico-legal system which can seem capricious and unjust. We applied game theory to level the playing field, making the system more predictable. If a medico-legal case has merit, it continues through the system, as before. To the extent a case is frivolous, it is more likely to be deterred, or dropped sooner rather than later. More recently, I have participated with a forward-thinking group to propose legislation replacing the medico-legal tort system with a straight no-fault system. Two states are picking up the baton. This would benefit both doctors and patients.

Medical Justice expanded its scope to address other emerging issues, such as online ratings of doctors. Patients want to rely on good information to make important decisions – such as who will be their doctor. Doctors want to know that they are fairly represented in online space.

Most recently, we advanced a plan to address multiple deficiencies in US healthcare (patient safety, too many uninsured, fragmented care, and an inadequate safety net for those who are injured or have progressive disease). This model could be implemented without any additional funds

Medical Justice has also developed novel macroeconomic models addressing a broad range of problems, such as cutting the prevalence of smoking and encouraging the use of fuel efficient vehicles.

While I miss the day to day drama of the operating room, I am, at heart, an entrepreneur, hoping to make a dent on solving big problems

My bio wouldn't be complete without crediting Shelley, my wife, and my twin children, Joshua and Jordan. We are not a conventional family. But, who is?

Keely Kolmes Licensed Psychologist Dr Keely Kolmes Private Psychotherapy Practice

Keely Kolmes, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in San Francisco, CA. She also serves as the Director of Digital Communications for APA Division 42, Psychologists in Independent Practice.

Dr. Kolmes writes, does research, and provides consultation and training on clinical and ethical issues related to social networking and technology. Her Private Practice Social Media Policy has been frequently cited and is a recommended Sample Social Media document for clinicians by the APA Insurance Trust.

Her Op-Ed on the challenge of consumer reviews of health care providers was published in the New York Times:

Twitter: @drkkolmes

Vince Sollitto VP, Corp Comm & Gov Affairs Yelp!

Vince joined Yelp in April 2009. He has nearly 20 years of experience in communications in the private and public sectors. Vince was vice president of communications at PayPal, from the launch of the service until its sale to eBay three years later. Most recently, he led communications efforts at search start-up Cuil. Vince has also served as a spokesman for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a U.S. Senator, a Congressman and the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee. He has a B.A. in public policy studies and political science from Duke University.

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