How Responding to a Yelp Review Cost a Dental Practice $10,000
Responding to a patient’s review on Yelp triggered an Office of Civil Rights (OCR) investigation of a small Texas dental practice recently which resulted in a $10,000 settlement payment to OCR and a two-year monitored corrective action plan. The patient filed the OCR complaint when the practice revealed her protected health information, including her last name and details of her health condition, in their response to her review.
In a recent article on saxtonstump.com, Darlene King, Esq. explains that “medical practices that choose to react to reviews from patients on social media platforms such as Yelp and Facebook risk impermissibly disclosing patient information merely by acknowledging that the reviewer is a patient.” While social media may seem to be an exciting new opportunity to engage with patients, it is essential that healthcare providers proceed with caution, and ensure that their practice follows HIPAA-compliant policies and procedures with respect to their patients’ protected health information in social media all aspects of their practice.