Dr. Bob Wachter over at the Health 2.0 blog has an interesting entry about doctor rating sites, which are popping up like dandelions in summer.
He reviews a lot of the current efforts underway, including Zagat’s recent announcement they would get into the doctor rating business. But perhaps the most interesting part of his article is where he describes his own ideal rating system for physicians:
The stakes are immense, and a balanced approach is more likely to bear fruit than any single peephole. Ultimately, if I’m choosing a doc for me or a loved one, I’d like to know it all: bedside manner (4 stars from Zagat), structural measures (is the doctor’s office computerized?), process measures (are diabetics getting statins appropriately?), surrogate outcomes (what’s the average hemoglobin A1c?), and hard outcomes (what are the risk-adjusted mortality or hospitalization rates?). And then I’d like the appropriate specialty board (ABIM, American Board of Surgery, etc.) to tell me whether the physician is meaningfully engaged in quality improvement activities, and how well he or she did on the certifying exam – the best measure we have of knowledge and clinical judgment. Yes, you heard me right: I’d like the Board to tell me whether the doc was in 5th percentile on the certifying exam or the 87th. It doesn’t pass the smell test to say that we consider both these board certified docs to be undifferentiate-able. In this new era of transparency, if we physicians would want that information before choosing a doc for ourselves (and I sure would), then I believe that patients should have access to it as well.
What do you think of this suggested system? How would your ideal rating system differ?