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Shilling for your Doc

Shilling for your Doc

Let’s say you’re at your dentist’s office examining your new radiant white smile, courtesy of an expensive professional teeth whitening session. Before you get up to go, the dentist hands you a DVD of your cleaning and asks if you wouldn’t mind uploading it to YouTube, Facebook or MySpace and writing a little note about your experience. As he hands you the DVD, he also hands you $100 “for your time and help” with writing and posting the review. Ecstatic with your teeth and free tank of gas, you blurt out, “Of course!”

Now freeze. You’re so caught up in the moment, chances are, you’re not thinking about how much this smells like bribery. But doctors are so desperate for good promotion and new clients that this has become a popular means of viral advertising. In this New York Times article, every doctor interviewed said they didn't think this was violating any sort of ethical code.

This practice brings up a slew of questions for us over here at First30Days. How can doctors be sure that patients aren't going to put up scathing reviews, regardless of the cash incentive? Will doctors still ask patients to do this if a patient wasn't happy with the results? Would a patient be honest if he or she wasn't happy with a procedure or would that person lie? What if this were a serious surgery for a complicated health diagnosis? Would your doctor treat you differently in the future? What about all the people who watch the video you post and are unaware you’ve received compensation for it? Not to mention the weirdness of people halfway across the planet knowing you had lasik, a nose job, your appendix removed or whatever other medical procedure you had.

That list of questions might have gotten a tad out of hand, but people are bound to have questions about this and the New York Times article seems to only scratch the surface. Do you think it's ethically responsible for your dentist to offer you a little dough in exchange for a glowing review? With all these new questions in mind, would you still be willing to post your teeth whitening session? [The New York Times]

Posted: 6/27/08