Zagat Rating System for Doctors

A few weeks ago, Wellpoint revealed that they were going to work with Zagat’s to rate physicians.  I think any information with some benchmark is great.  Since it is patient driven, it also has the chance of being very subjective which is the risk. 

The talk about using trust, communications, cost, and availability.  I am not sure those would be my choice.

  • Trust: A great concept, but how can I be objective here. 
  • Communications: This one is critical.  Did they communicate well?  Did they write down any recommendations?  Do they call to remind me of appointments?  Were they timely in getting me follow-up appointments?  Do they remember who I am from my last visit?  Do they look at me?  If I bring in information, are they receptive to discussing what I found?  Are they straight or do they beat around the bush?  This should also include the office staff – are they friendly?  Bad office staff can blow it for a good physician very easily.
  • Cost: This is another critical one as long as it is not simply about the cost of the physician.  Did they take into account my formulary when writing prescriptions?  Did they make sure that physicians they referred were in network?  Did they prescribe generics or offer me samples?  Did they suggest non-invasive treatment options (e.g., diet)? 
  • Availability: Conceptually yes, but I am not sure your going to learn much here.  The best doctors should be the busiest doctor.  I wouldn’t want them to get a low rating simply because everyone goes to them.  Now, ability to stay on time would be good.  Ability to fit in sick patients within 48 hours would be good.  I might even include accessibility here.  Can I access the building easily if I am handicapped?  Does it have easy parking?  Does it have a place for my kids while I wait?
  • Technology: Why not measure how and if they use technology?  Online appointment setting.  Handheld prescribing.  Kiosks for signing into the office.  EMR. 
  • Outcomes: I hope that we get to a point where Wellpoint is complementing the patient data with outcomes type data or actual claims data.

Just a few thoughts.  You can find lots of blog entries about this.  Here are a few:

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One Response to “Zagat Rating System for Doctors”

  1. Great. also general facts – what languages can the communicate in? do they operate strictly on schedule or not? does that mean i get 15 minutes and am then shoved out?

    Aldo, some facts about the user/patients behavior would be helpful. I find that many reviews (say of shoes) are lacking (where relevant). That said, there are somethings that one cannot self-report objectively. (Did *I* communicate my questions to the doc clearly/well?)

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