Abstract

PHYSICIAN PROFILES: CONSUMER PROTECTION OR EXCESSIVE EXPOSURE?

ANN STEWART

Copyright 1998 Florida State University Law Review

In noble efforts to make physician data more consumer-friendly, several state legislatures have taken significant liberties with previously compiled physician information already in the public record by selectively publishing the information in formats that are not comprehensive. Accountability, informed consent, fiduciary duty, and basic supply and demand theory have been cited by various consumer advocates as reasons for the swell of disclosure-oriented legislation. This Comment begins by exploring the interrelationship of provider-specific disclosure and these doctrines. Part II focuses on informed consent and patient autonomy, harm to the consumer by the disclosure of inaccurate or incomprehensive information, procedure specific data disclosure, and fiduciary obligations. Part III discusses holding physician's accountable through the complexities of government disclosure of provider-specific information. Part IV explores the risks and benefits associated with the disclosure requirement in Massachusetts. Studies and laws from other states, in particular Florida, are used in analyzing the Massachusetts law. Part V reveals the anticipated cost of the disclosure legislation enacted in Florida. Finally, this Comment concludes that consumers have a valid interest in being fully informed about those treating them, but that current disclosure schemes are inadequate to inform consumers because of the legal and medical complexities involved.

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