The world is a smaller place because of the internet. It has changed all of our lives in almost every aspect. We share information and ideas and we obtain CDE on the internet. Sites like Dental Town have revolutionized the way we disseminate dental information. There are however, some unforseen disadvantages to our electronic world. One of these is the website, Dr. Oogle.
If you are unfamiliar, pay Dr. Oogle a visit. What you find may horrify you. Dr. Oogle is a site for patients to rate their experiences with their dentist. On the surface this seems benign. I absolutely agree that patients have every right to share their experiences with their dentist. What I don't agree with is how easy it is to leave a false review. Because it is so easy to leave a fraudulent review, it basically invalidates all reviews in my eyes. When I see a positive review, I have to ask myself if the review was left by a relative or close friend. When I see a negative review I wonder if maybe the review was left by a disgruntled former employee.
Dr. Oogle claims that all reviews are monitored and fraudulent ones removed. Thats all well and good but the bottom line is it can be incredibly difficult to differntiate between a real and illegitimate review. My other thought revolves around negative reviews. There is a system in place to handle these types of complaints and that is Peer Review by component dental societies. In my opinion, dental misadventures should be handled in that manor, not through websites like Dr. Oogle or even custom made webpages.
Dr. Oogle is not available for every US city but most moderate sized cities are covered. It can also be used as a marketing page for $40 per month and up. These dentists are called "Featured Dentists." Again, how can Dr. Oogle post negative reviews about dentists who are paying them money to be "Featured." I have a lot of problems with this site however the idea of publicly shared reviews is here to stay. It will be interesting to see how this evolves and what organizations like the ADA do to counter them.