New Physician Site – Vitals.com

I have played with lots of these sites as they come out. The all want to help you find a physician, compare physicians, rank physicians, etc.

I received an e-mail about this new site – Vitals.com. I was skeptical at first that it would just be another me-too site. But, I was impressed at first glance. Here is a Fox Business article about them.

  1. It is easy to use.
  2. The graphics are intuitive.
  3. The information was easy to assimilate. (name, age, gender, specialty, addresses, certified, hospital affiliations, education, residence, fellowship, patient rankings, and disciplinary action)
  4. And, my favorite part is that you can compare physicians.

Here are a couple of screen shots. The first two show just comparing MDs. The third is the MD find and compare feature. The fourth is the rankings that they use plus an option to include free text comments.

(BTW – What I find interesting also is that this is the second time a PR agency has contacted me on behalf of their client. One was for a F100 company that I talked about and this is obviously a start-up, but managing the online brand has obviously become a full-time job.)

vitals-md-info-1.jpgvitals-md-info-2.jpgvitals-find-md.jpgvitals-rankings.jpg

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6 Responses to “New Physician Site – Vitals.com”

  1. I agree with anonymous 12/10/08 about the limited access to physician profiles. For success of its site, it needs more and more participation by patients to build up the ratings.

    As it is, most doctors have no ratings. And those that do have only a handful of ratings. How meaningful are 5 or less ratings for a doctor? It’s not a random sampling that would be representative of the patient base. For patients to rate a doctor, it usually involves the extreme of satisfaction spectrum to motivate them to bother submitting a review – either awfully disappointed or overwhelmingly pleased.

    Vitals.com needs to encourage visitors to post reviews by making its site user-friendly to visit in the first place. And that means not restricting the number of physician checks.

    As to the significance of the ratings, I look more for verbal testimony than simply the numbers. With the verbal opinion, I can at least discern for myself how valid the rater opines and whether the rater was reasonable in his/her assessment.

    With that said, I’ve checked out vitals.com and ratemds.com. For the most part, the excellent ratings/reviews of the doctors I know of parallel the good rep as surveyed in local publications involving peer opinion.

  2. I used all of the sites mentioned including choicetrust.com. With that said, I found another popular site called mdnationwide.org. I purchased a medical doctor background ($19.95) report on a particular physician in my area and found more detailed information including two malpractice judgments that were issued against this particular physician. Perhaps sometimes you gamble when you pay for this type of information, however my gamble was well worth the $19.95.

    I liked this site so much I purchased membership to their top doctor database, also.

    Good luck

    Beth

  3. My initial Vitals.com search produced 44 doctors, but I could check the details on only the first 8 doctors before being told I needed a paid subscription to view the rest. What’s the point of such a limited website? HealthGrades.com is no better; in ordered to view patient feedback on a doctor, you have to leave your own feedback first. If I know enough about a doctor to leave feedback, why would I care about anyone else’s feedback? I’m looking for patients’ feedback in order to select a new doctor but am wondering where that is possible on line.

  4. I’m not sure where either of the above commenters found their information (possibly in an earlier version of the site?)

    but, in my examination of http://www.vitals.com I see that they DO have multiple email addresses and a direct telephone number for customer service readily available …

    … and their explanation of DO as a medical practice is different than the one posted above, perhaps they revised it to a more appropriate definition.

    “D.O. stands for Doctor of Osteopathy. Much like an MD, a DO is a licensed practicing doctor or surgeon. DOs attend Osteopathic medical schools that have a very similar curriculum as an allopathic (MD) medical school but with a more holistic approach to medicine.”

  5. Also regarding that website:

    Some physicians have a DO (osteopathic) degree, which is similar to the MD (allopathic) degree but with a more holistic approach. Many doctors today are DO’s, especially in primary care. Yet that vitals.com website will list a doctor as NOT being board certified at all if their certification is from an osteopathic specialty board rather than a predominantly allopathic specialty board! This is contrary to the policies of almost all US hospitals.

    Also, their website includes this somewhat bizarre statement:
    “…So do you want an MD or a DO? DOs typically practice a more holistic form of medicine and usually believe in more natural treatments. MDs are more inclined to prescribe normal treatments and medications…”

    It does not seem evenhanded to say that MD’s prescribe more “normal” treatments. It implies that osteopathic physicians are abnormal.

  6. Vitals.com is a promising website, but I have seen some inaccurate data posted, and I know at least one doctor who has been unable to get the problems fixed. They do not seem very responsive. They don’t even post a phone number.

    Another issue is that they rate doctors on purported quality ratings of previous medical schools and residency programs. But this is of questionable value, for this reason: Suppose Dr. Jones is flagged because the hospital he did his residency at had poor ratings in cardiac surgery and in orthopedics. But suppose he is a pediatrician, so what is the relevance of those other specialties to HIS background? Further, suppose he finished his residency in 1983. Of what relevance would 2008 hospital ratings be to his residency program from 1983, that is, 25 years ago!

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