Katie Couric's Notebook: Online MD Reviews

From restaurants to hotels, there are online reviews for just about everything. Your doctor is no exception.

Just as there are millions of critics eager to praise last night's chicken piccata or grumble about a lumpy mattress, Web sites such as Angie's List or rate-M-Ds.com let users post comments about their physicians.

It can be a good tool for patients searching for the best care and can lead to more business for highly rated doctors. But a bad review can mean an empty waiting room. So, some doctors are making patients sign gag orders --- legal agreements not to post online comments.

These doctors say they have no choice because privacy laws keep them from responding when patients bad-mouth them.

Perhaps the best way to balance a patient's right to quality care and a doctor's right to a fair evaluation is to have a third party review those reviews. That kind of gatekeeper can protect the rights of doctors and patients from an unfair online diagnosis.

That's a page from my notebook.