Can You Keep Your Home Address off of the Internet?
The answer is somewhat but not totally.
With many therapists no longer having offices the question of what address to use is often asked. Many people use a mailbox place either virtual or in person. This can be a solution for the places that give you a street address. However, what I recently learned is that when you update your NPI address (remember that?) you cannot use a mailbox place. Their computer catches it when you type it in. I recently tried it myself. They caught it and then asked if I still wanted to use it. I indicated yes so I could see what happened. What happened was NPI called me and they didn’t hang up until I gave them a different address. Which had to be my home address. I own my home and I work primarily across the country from my clients so I knew my address would be out there on the internet anyway and I also know my clients are low risk as far as ever looking for me on the internet.
You may know that NPI information is public. Today i googled my name and address to see what came up. What came up was old office addresses. My PO street address also came up. A good result! I did find a site CareDash which is one of those sites that puts up a profile for you and then doesn’t let you remove it (unless you live in CA!). I set up an account and edited the address to the address I want to be showing for me. I also emailed them to see if they would delete the profile. I am waiting for a response.
I also found out that if I type in the name I use my NPI information did not come up. I used my legal name for my NPI and that information came up only if I googled my legal name. That was positive.
In order to make sure your info. This is time consuming but free. Most sites will remove it upon your request. Another option is a paid service. Here is an article that gives you some links for removal and has a link to a paid service. The review for the paid service said it worked well but it is expensive. It does appear they are able to do a deeper dive.
There are some other options. If you are concerned about people seeing your home you can blur your home on Google Maps. Find instructions here.
Here also are some instructions from Google to remove content. This includes if you have requested removal of information but it is still showing up in search results.
At the end of the day if you get mail or packages at your home you probably will not be able to remove it totally. You can certainly reduce how much it shows up by searching and removing listings. For an office address the safest bet is to use an actual address for mailing purposes. Many places are now offering shared office space which include mail service and office space by the hour.