Posts Tagged ‘rate doctor’

As the founder of one of America’s leading doctor rating Web sites, I’ve had many opportunities to talk to doctors about what they think of these sites.

As you might imagine, the opinions run from “what a horrible development this is” to “what a great idea.”

One thing I have  found is that no one seems to be bothered by a Web site that gives patients accurate information on doctors.  The doctors who don’t like the idea of these sites usually only express concern that the information may not be reliable.  They have a point.  Unless there are a lot of ratings, it is likely that the ratings could be skewed.

Because of that likelihood, some doctors come to the conclusion that these physician rating Web sites should be ignored or closed.  I take the opposite view.

The more people use these sites, the more representative the ratings will be.

If you’ve seen a doctor, fill out the brief DrScore survey at www.DrScore.com.  Help the public see a more representative sample of how doctors are doing.  If we can get that kind of sample, I don’t think doctors will have anything to be afraid of.

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From time to time, I will have others from the DrScore team blog here. Here’s the first guest blog from Kimberly Khanna, Director of Sales & Client Services for DrScore …

I was recently speaking with a client who was looking for ways to make her patients’ wait in her busy pediatric practice’s waiting more enjoyable. It was a large practice, and long waits were inevitable — there was no way around that.

Rather than try and tackle that very large issue (which would take a long time to solve), she decided she would start small and revamp her waiting areas.

Here are a few of the things she did:

  • Place plants on all of the tables.
  • Make sure there were plenty of updated magazines and literature for patients to look through.
  • Make free coffee and tea available.
  • Update the kids’ corner so children could relax and play while they waited for their appointments.

Anyone with a child knows how stressful waiting at a pediatrician’s office can be. By focusing on the little things that could be done quickly, my client went a long way to making a stressful time less stressful and more comfortable.

Sometimes, it really is the little things that count.

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Recently, an irate physician contacted me asking that we remove a poor rating we had posted. She complained that our ratings are anonymous; therefore, we don’t even know if the one rating was from an actual patient. She is right on that point — we can never be 100 percent sure that a real patient for that particular doctor filled out the survey.

There are advantages and disadvantages of anonymous ratings, and one disadvantage that has been pointed out to me on several occasions is that an anonymous rating might not be from an actual patient. A competing doctor, an angry ex-spouse or any hooligan could complete the survey. On the other hand, a physician can complete an overly optimistic survey on him or herself.

We do try to mitigate the risks as much as possible. Where we can, we try to identify and prevent people from maliciously posting multiple negative or false positive reviews. Our Terms of Use on this point are simple and straightforward: You must be a patient and you must not post a false or malicious rating (http://www.drscore.com/DrscoreTOS.cfm). It is a criminal act to violate these Terms of Use.

While we can not guarantee that erroneous ratings will not occur, there are great advantages to anonymous ratings. Anonymity allows patients a greater degree of freedom to say what they really think. If patients had to identify themselves, some of those who had something negative to say might feel stifled or intimidated. This limitation is abrogated, at least somewhat, by how much patients tend to love their doctors and say positive things about their experiences with their physician.

In addition, legal protections about health information (HIPAA rules) may be less of an issue when patients don’t identify themselves. These heath information protection rules also make it impossible for physicians to publicly disagree with a patient about a specific aspect of their rating. Admittedly, this ties the hands of the physicians and makes online comments about physicians an unbalanced, one-sided affair.

I strongly believe that the benefits of online anonymous ratings far outweigh the risks. The ability of physicians to obtain feedback from patients through this easy, low-cost method also enables them to show the public how happy patients are — by and large — with their doctors.

At DrScore, we find very little evidence that phony ratings are a problem. However, keep in mind that when a doctor has just a few ratings — particularly if they only have one rating — the overall rating may not be truly representative. The patient satisfaction ratings average for doctors on DrScore with 20 or more ratings is consistently high — an 8.9 out of 10. So when you are reviewing a doctor’s scores, please look carefully at the number of ratings and interpret the data accordingly.

If a doctor does have a low score that they feel isn’t representative, I feel the best solution is for the doctor to simply ask a few patients to give their honest opinions on the DrScore site. We’ll give the doctor the resulting feedback, too. If the doctor is already doing everything perfectly, he or she will get a great score. But if the feedback shows the doctor something he or she can do even better, what a great gift that is to the physician!

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