Fake patient reviews make it hard to seek medical help online

 

Source: Laura Sydell, Washington Post ( Paid Registration )

Patricia Limbaugh was desperate to find care for her husband, whose drinking had spiraled out of control. It turns out that the reviews that Limbaugh relied on — and dozens of others on The Center’s site — were fake, according to separate analyses conducted by Google and the review site Trustpilot after they were approached by The Post.

Although Limbaugh thought she could trust the reviews on a health-care provider’s site, she had stumbled upon a problem created by a convergence of forces: a public that has come to rely on consumer reviews for almost everything including medical care; a robust industry of global review fraud; competition among physicians; large Internet companies with minimal incentive to weed out that fraud, scattershot disciplinary actions by professional medical bodies and lax enforcement by government agencies.

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