Monday, May 02, 2005

Scaling up the doctor blog - a plea to the internet

www.dcdoctors.blogspot.com is now on the Google radar screen - yesterday there were four people who accessed the site by doing searches for specific doctor names (all happened to be good recommendations, by the way). I realize that this is rather insignificant in the order of things, but I know that it would make me feel good if, among the search results of various databases of doctor addresses, I actually found something personal, written by a well-meaning stranger, that would reassure me about the human element of the decision I was trying to make. If only this kind of website existed on a large scale, with some kind of thoroughness (and perhaps information about health care coverage) and with some kind of database organization that would make it easily searchable. Because mine, right now (and four search hits notwithstanding), is nothing more than an emotional salve for my own petty trauma.

I really think this would be a valuable nonprofit project. It would probably be pretty tech-heavy (maintaining the online searchable database) but would also have a marketing component (outreach to doctors' patients to get them to share their experiences - and to get people to use the website) - and it would have to have some pretty strong leadership to maintain scrupulous objectivity in the face of what would probably be some heavy pressure from the health care establishment. If I was a tycoon philanthropist, I would totally fund it.

The www.leapfrog.org site looks pretty good, but only rates hospitals. What I'm envisioning would be similar to the www.epinions.com website, but for doctors.

C'mon DC - you're full of overachieving world savers! Somebody should start this!

8 Comments:

Blogger P. G. said...

the litigation risk might be a bit dicey...

7:34 AM  
Blogger zzzzzoe said...

Yeah, I don't know much about the legal details. It's not slander if you tell a friend by word of mouth that a doctor is terrible, right? What about if you put it in a family newsletter? Does it get into the Napster debate of what the valid forums for "peer-to-peer" interaction is?

9:45 AM  
Blogger P. G. said...

The basic principle is if you tell it to someone else, and it's damaging, it's defamatory. If it's true, you have a defense. The forum doesn't matter:

Also -- and this is dicey (long legal story) -- there's a protection for that category of statements that might generally be called "opinion."

So "doctor X felt me up," is defamatory but the speaker can raise a truth defense. If it's not true, there's trouble.

"Doctor X is a real jerk who charges too much" is probably not defamatory.

Uh, there's a lot more to be said, but I'm going to be a little paranoid about dispensing anything like individualized legal advice over the internet. Even though I know from reading your blog that you're extremely intelligent and know not to rely on legal advice from some random person on the internet, all of the four bar associations that have authority to punish me might be populated, at least in part, with much less intelligent people.

Instead, I'll suggest you call yourself a "journalist" (hey, bloggers are journalists, right? right?) and call the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, who do this sort of thing all the time. http://www.rcfp.org/

also check out http://www.medialaw.org/

3:28 PM  
Blogger zzzzzoe said...

Thanks Paul! But, ehh... I vented my little spleen with this wee blog, but I'm so generally opposed to Western medicine that I'd prefer to spend whatever energy I have on replacing much of it with a regime of yoga and ayurvedic herbs rather than reforming it from within... it's just not my battle.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had the same idea about starting a website for doctors reviews. It really wouldn't be very difficult -- technically, at least. But the litigation stuff scares me.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a Health blog. It pretty much covers Dieting Health Fitness Exercise related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll have to keep that in mind tricep exercise

9:38 AM  

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