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Posts Tagged ‘online physician rating’

American Medical News reports that patients would pay their medical bills more quickly using the Internet (Dolan PL, Patients say they would pay more quickly with online access).  This isn’t surprising to us at DrScore.  Facility with the Internet is rapidly becoming ubiquitous.  Patients recognize the potential of the Internet to facilitate all kinds of transactions.

At DrScore, we’ve recognized for years that the Internet can also be used to facilitate getting feedback from patients.  By sending patients a link to DrScore with the bill, physicians can seek feedback from every patient, letting each patient know their opinions are respected, getting the kind of detailed feedback doctors need in order to know how well they are doing and what they can do even better.

Just as online access can ease billing issues, the hassles, costs and limitations of paper-based or telephone-based patient satisfaction surveys can now be avoided.

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Some doctors are totally disgusted with the profusion of online doctor rating websites.  I understand why they feel that way.  As great a career as medicine is, it seems horrible to have to worry about online doctor ratings on top of the years of training, the continuing commitment to ongoing medical education, the trials and tribulations of running an office, and the stresses of caring for sick patients.
Are online doctor rating websites like DrScore.com the bows for patients’ arrows at doctors?  That’s not the way I think of it. DrScore is more of a vase to display to the flowers that patients give the doctors that they appreciate.  The vast, vast majority of patients love their doctors, and online rating is way to make those patients visible.  When doctors see the esteem they are held in by patients, I think it will help doctors renew their commitment to giving patients great medical care.

Doctor’s Day is coming March 30. Give your doctors some flowers for their vase by rating them online at DrScore.com.

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Delta Airlines in-flight magazine included a review of wine and business expert Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, The Thank You Economy.  The review said that customer service today is generally poor and that social media will make bad service a much bigger deal.  But it is a double-edged sword: companies can also use social media to give their customers a more personal experience.

This is all half-right when it comes to medical care.  Doctors are giving their patients great medical care day in, day out.  But it isn’t always perfect, and at times patients feel their care is lacking.  The Internet and social media can make mountains out of the negative experiences, ruining doctors’ online reputations.

The key is how to use the Internet to nip the problems in the bud, not by trying to “paper over” the problem with online reputation building services but by actually improving the quality of care and making the quality of care more transparent.

DrScore does both these things.  First, by giving doctors an easy, low cost way to get detailed feedback, DrScore gives doctors the information they need to do what they want to do, to give every patient a truly outstanding medical experience.  In addition, by making doctors’ overall scores transparent to the public, DrScore lets patients see a more representative picture of U.S. medical care.

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I recently returned from a trip to a national medical meeting at which I was invited to speak in a session titled, “Managing Your Online Reputation.”  The first guest speaker talked about personal experiences of being skewered online, and the second speaker talked about doctor rating sites in general and how those sites are a jungle of mean-spirited, libelous trashing of physicians.  Worse yet, the audience had come expecting that kind of discussion about online sites and desperately wanted to know what could be done to put an end to online doctor rating.

Now that’s my kind of audience!  I’m not someone who wants to preach to the choir.

My presentation went very well.  I started by explaining why I, a doctor, would start an online doctor rating site. I explained  the value of getting feedback from patients and described how that feedback has made me a better doctor. I also demonstrated how transparency actually helps improve doctors’ reputations in the community.

I think I won over most — if not all the doctors — to the idea that DrScore does online rating the right way and is a positive development for both patients and their doctors.  (At least I know I convinced those doctors who came up afterward to tell me what they thought of the talk.)  Some of the doctors who attended the session decided to sign up to use the DrScore.com patient satisfaction reporting service as a way to get feedback from their patients.

It is heartening to know that doctors can see the value in getting patient feedback and that at DrScore we’ve created an easyk inexpensive way for doctors to get that feedback as a tool to assist them in improving patient satisfaction.

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When it comes to customer service, banks are a lot like physician offices.

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One of the issues with online doctor rating sites is that it is very much a one-sided affair.  In other businesses, if a customer made a complaint online, the business would be able to respond.  Not so on doctor ratings sites.  The patient privacy rules in the HIPAA legislation  preclude physicians from even acknowledging someone is their patient, so physicians have no ability to respond if they feel there is an inaccurate post about the care they offer.

This seems unfair to many physicians, and I do agree.  Fortunately, the vast, vast majority of patients are very, very happy with their doctors and their care.

The unlevel playing field problem is exacerbated by the possibility that someone with a personal grudge against a physician could purposefully try to harm the physician’s reputation.  It could be a competitor, an angry former spouse or a patient who felt vindictive for some reason.  While one advantage of an anonymous online feedback system is that it lets patients feel they can give fully open and honest feedback without risk of reprisal, anonymous systems have the potential for abuse, too.

Perhaps there could be a rules change that would let a physician respond if a patient opens the door to a discussion of the care they received. But I find that possibility to be unlikely, especially given all the benefits of strong rules about patients’ privacy.  Some physicians may consider other avenues, like those offered by Medical Justice.

But there is another approach, which  is to do what DrScore does: Don’t post open comments at all.

And actually, I think the best solution is to just get every patient to rate his or her doctor online.  That way, even if one patient does say something bad, the public can see what other patients think in order to determine if the negative comment was an outlier or was really representative of what the doctor was like.

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