An article published on May 16 in Part B News, “Did your practice get burned online? Reach out — and redirect,” discussed how (or whether) professional practices should respond to negative reviews online from patients. Rivkin Radler’s Eric Fader was quoted in the article.

Eric said that he advised one of his clients a few years ago to not respond to a review in which the patient provided several treatment details because “while obviously under HIPAA a patient can disclose his own PHI, if you as the practitioner add anything at a public site that goes beyond what the patient disclosed, that’s a HIPAA violation.”

Eric also suggested that refraining from responding to a patient might be preferable to an online argument. “If you have a patient ranting and raving on the site and you responded [on the merits], even if it were not a HIPAA violation, you still wouldn’t come off looking better to an unbiased observer,” he said. At most, the practice might choose to say, “I’m sorry you feel that way, we disagree; we can’t say anything further.”

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