Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘score your doctor’

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

An August 3, 2010, article in The Washington Post discussed rating systems for doctors, pointing out that current doctor rating systems are “rudimentary” and “may not reliably reflect a doctor’s abilities.”  Well, yes and no.  When it comes to measuring technical aspects of diagnosis and treatment, there  is probably no reliable system that reflect a doctor’s abilities.  On the other hand, we have excellent systems, DrScore.com among them, that are able to reliably assess patients’ satisfaction with their care.

The Post article points out that the standard way to find a doctor is to ask friends and family members for advice or to trust a referral from another doctor.  These are very reasonable, albeit limited approaches.  Online systems that assess and report patient satisfaction are extensions of the “ask friends and family” approach.  These systems may not be a reliable measure of a doctor’s ability to make a diagnosis and prescribe an accurate treatment, but they are a reliable measure of how happy patients were with the care they received.

And that is something worth knowing.

A tremendous advantage of an online rating system like DrScore.com over the traditional friends and family approach is that the online data collection allows doctors to find out how they are doing, a critical tool to help doctors do what they want to do most — give their patients great medical care!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: