Writing in USA Today, Dr. Kevin Pho, author of the KevinMD.com blog, described how he thinks online doctor rating can be made better. His first suggestion is for doctors to encourage patients to do online ratings. I could not agree more. By getting more data on doctors into the public realm, patients will get a more accurate picture of how well doctors are doing. Patients will also be giving doctors the feedback doctors need to give patients the best possible care.
Dr. Pho’s second suggestion is to prohibit anonymous ratings. Here, I have to disagree with the good doctor. Letting patients make their comments anonymously gives patients the freedom to give honest—both positive and negative—feedback without concern for reprisal. Doctors need honest feedback, and the relationship between patients and doctors can be so intimidating for patients that they may not feel comfortable giving open feedback if it isn’t anonymous.
I appreciate Dr. Pho’s concerns about the downside of anonymity. There are benefits and risks. Given what we’ve actually seen from ratings on DrScore, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Despite Dr. Pho’s concerns about the potential for ratings to be manipulated by patients with a grudge, the average score of doctors with 10 or more ratings is well over 9 out of 10.
Let’s encourage all patients to rate their doctors. Any grudge will be drowned out by having more representative sampling.