Physician Ratings…. my take.

Social media is all abuzz about utilizing existing data for the purpose of rating physicians…  While I agree that the consumer should have access to information about their health care providers…I am not sure that the information currently collected and held by the insurance companies is the most relevant or useful way to create a ratings system.   The insurance companies will "grade" physicians based on their "cost" to the system for a particular diagnosis.  So if one physician orders an imaging study or prescribes physical therapy and another physician in the same community doesn't…. who will be rated higher???   Does the insurance company know how the consumer is doing in either scenario? No.  

I perform a lot of total knee replacements… I do the procedure myself… I use virtually the same technique on everyone, I use computer navigation on everyone and as much as possible I standardize the choice of components.  Anyone who performs a lot of total knees will tell you that some patients fly through the recovery process and some don't. We know that a certain percentage of patients possess a genetic predisposition to becoming stiff after any surgery.  How will the insurers rank my ability to perform a total knee replacement?  Total stay in the hospital, return to the OR, length of time in therapy after surgery, cost of surgery ???  These companies do not poll their clients about their results so the subjective estimation of the physicians *ability* is not taken into account.   If my patients stay in therapy longer (maybe they had a more active lifestyle and have higher goals) am I penalized??? 

I applaud the social media community for helping the health care consumer learn more about the physicians and institutions they have chosen for their healthcare… but I am uncertain if the data available from the insurers is useful in determining who is and who isn't a caring, confident and competent physician. 

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About hjluks

A busy Academic Orthopedic Surgeon, Digital Strategist, Chief Medical Officer and father... intently and efficiently navigating the intersection of Social Media and Health Care.
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4 Responses to Physician Ratings…. my take.

  1. citizentools says:

    I hold no particular brief for using insurance company data. I expect that they have various kinds of data, some more clearly “objective” (e.g. patient visits, treatment provided, billing) and some more clearly “subjective”, such as MD ratings.The larger issue is that physician ratings on the web are here. It makes lots of sense to consider the drawbacks of current approaches, but those considerations will slow down online physician ratings as little as concerns about bridges collapsing will moderate gravity.Were I an MD, I’d want to get out in front: monitor what the web world is saying about me, bring patients to *my site*, where I could more easily structure the feedback and supplement it with data that provided denominators. I’d work to develop my online reputation for candor and responsiveness, which would go a long way towards combatting malicious sniping from anonymous posters. And I might help existing ratings sites and the “industry” develop standards on what information to collect and how to report it. It is more effective to build better bridges than to argue that gravity is unfair or flawed.(Many of these thoughts come out of ideas of colleagues from this weekend’s HealthCamp Philadelphia – http://healthcampphila.org ).

  2. Howard Luks says:

    @citizentools Thanks… I agree with everything you said. As a busy, web saavy practitioner I routinely check RateMD, Vitals, etc. I also encourage patients, via my website, to post their own feedback…either on the aforementioned sites available or on my site (howardluksmd.com). I would be more than happy to work with any group firmly committed to a transparent, effective and well defined means of rating physicians.

  3. Eugene Borukhovich says:

    Here is how we came up with this concept…. If Doctor A has a bad review on site #1 and 17 good reviews across 17 other sites that has no value for the patient, has negative value for the doctor, nobody benefits. We need to come up with a standard (our thought is CGQR – Care Giver Quality Record) -so the data points have value added services on top of it. Docto Reviews by themselves are a commodity. We want input form the industry, doctors, patients, technologists etc . Follow us @HealthWorldWeb for more. We will most likely start assembling a pre-Health2.0-conference. Stay tuned

  4. Howard Luks says:

    Eugene, I look forward to keeping an eye on your sight as it matures… good luck.

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