An Ethical Way To Get Patient Referrals?

Some psychiatrists include “testimonials” from their patients on their web sites. Such recommendations are a major source of new referrals. . .but is this an ethical way of promoting my clinical services?

I'm busy establishing a private practice in a city where the market for mental health services is competitive. I've been looking over the websites of fellow psychiatrists who have established practices, and found that a few of their sites included testimonials from patients.

I'm well aware that such word-of-mouth recommendations from former or current patients to colleagues and friends are a major source of new referrals, so I don't want to put my practice at a disadvantage by not pursing this promising and economical approach. I would, of course, obtain informed consent from my patients to post their "reviews." But are patient testimonials an ethically appropriate means of informing the public about my services?

An Ethical Way To Get Patient Referrals?