Online communication is definitely changing the ways patients spread the word about a plastic surgeon, but sometimes these changes aren’t exactly beneficial. I’ve heard of a few cases where surgeons are having patients sign “no review” contracts prior to surgery to prevent them from posting feedback about their surgical experience to online review sites. I don”t require these agreements of my patients, and here”s my take on this practice:
Who Do These Agreements Really Protect?
I think patients may see these agreements as an uncomfortable start to the patient-surgeon relationship. Also, a “no review” contract could change how much the surgeon is “invested” in the outcome or be an attempt to “cover up” a lack of skill. Clearly, if your surgeon has a pattern of malpractice lawsuits or poor relations with state medical boards, you need to look elsewhere.
Having said all this, I want to be fair and point out that many highly skilled and experienced surgeons can get frustrated by how difficult it can be to defend against false claims being made by patients online. While patients have full freedom to talk about their results, patient-surgeon confidentiality makes it very challenging for a surgeon to address online feedback publicly, so one unhappy patient can do a great deal of damage that may or may not be deserved.
My Perspective: Prevent, Don”t Avoid the Problem
Despite the “advantages” of “no review” contracts, I don”t require my cosmetic surgery patients in Boston to sign one. By being selective about who I operate on, maintaining clear avenues for communication, and keeping “tabs” on my patients” recovery, I am doing more to help avoid the kinds of misunderstandings that tend to create conflicts and disappointment in the first place.