Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.

January  31, 2019



Hi Jennifer,

Can I ask patients to write me an online review?  What about having a third party manage?

What do you think?  

Thanks, Dr. I


First question:  No and Yes.  Technically under NYS Education Law s. 6530 medical practitioners are not authorized to use testimonials.  Other disciplines, for instance, dentists, CAN use testimonials.  Now, despite the restriction, many of your colleagues collect and post testimonials.  I am unaware of an instance where the OPMC has taken an interest in a practitioner solely for their use, or because of their use of testimonials.  If you are going to use testimonials, you need to have the patient's permission in writing - even if the statement in anonymously posted.  Don't forget that regardless of your license designation in NY, if you are a licensed healthcare professional, you are prohibited from claims of professional superiority - so if you want to have said you are the "greatest", safer with a patient saying that then yourself. 

If you're wondering what the AMA thinks - the applicable ethics opinion authorizes testimonials, but cautions on veracity and context -   
confirm HIPAA allows for contact with patients for marketing

Second question: You better have a Business Associate Agreement (ours are available here).  If you are giving patient names or contact information to a vendor to manage emails, that party needs a business associate agreement under HIPAA.