When I read this headline, my reaction was: “No no no no no!”

Doctors and other providers are doubtless aware that Yelp-style reviews have arrived in the health care industry. Patients shopping for a new doctor are increasingly likely to look online for reviews and ratings before they make their selection. And providers, in turn, are starting to respond to these reviews, particularly when the reviews are negative. But responding to a Yelp review of your medical services is not the same thing as responding to a hotel review on TripAdvisor. There is, after all, that thing called HIPAA.

If you do feel compelled to respond to a negative review online, you must be very very careful not to include any confidential patient information in your response. There is no exception in HIPAA for disclosures made to defend yourself in a public forum.

Read the full article for examples of disclosures that have gotten doctors into trouble and tips for better ways to respond to reviews.

The Washington Post: “Doctors fire back at bad Yelp reviews — and reveal patients’ information online.”