Online therapy directory accused of using physicians' profiles without their OK to lure clients

Online healthcare directory platform CareDash is facing backlash from therapists who claim the company is using independent practitioner information to lure patients to mental health startups, Bloomberg reported.

Therapists claim the platform uses unauthorized "shadow profiles" with their personal information to suggest they are affiliated with CareDash, which then directs patients interested in making an appointment to online therapy startups, Bloomberg reported Aug. 5.

"I've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and hours in the community working to build my reputation and my persona. And now they're going to potentially use that to gather their own leads," Bryan Harnsberger, a psychiatrist from Massachusetts, told Bloomberg.

CareDash emailed a statement to Bloomberg that said it would make changes to the platform.

Benjamin Caldwell, PsyD, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, told the publication he found an unauthorized profile of himself on CareDash.

"Th[is] is deeply problematic," Dr. Caldwell told Bloomberg. "It seems like a kind of bait-and-switch operation."

The American Psychological Association, the Clinical Social Work Association and the National Association of Social Workers warned their members about the issue and encouraged them to send complaints to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general, reported Bloomberg.

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