One of the features of SavvyDoc will include the opportunity for patients to rate their doctor. The health 2.0 movement has focused, like web 2.0, on user-generated content such that all aspects of health care: patient, insurer and providers are integrated through IT. The first big steps in this direction have been doctor rating systems. In particular Wellpoint has teamed with Zagat Survey to allow consumers to rate their doctor experience. This service will focus on doctors in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield networks . The online survey tool allows patients to rate their doctors on trust, communication, availability and environment. A doctor‘s ratings and patient comments are only posted online once 10 reviews have been submitted. There will be a system for doctors to challenge unfair or outlier ratings.
As we have discussed SavvyDoc with physicians and dentists there has been resistance to the doctor rating function we have incorporated. The fear is that a doctor will be rated like a bad dining experience; however, the difference between the two activities is obvious. In a doctor’s office the customer is not always right. A good doctor cannot be afraid of telling their patients what they don’t want to hear. There is also concern that doctors would gear their decision making so that patients provide excellent ratings. These arguments do not give patients enough credit. In my experience patients want an open and honest conversation. When there is a clash between patient and doctor it’s not because the patient was told of an unfortunate diagnosis but rather the conflict revolves around how the information was communicated or worse yet not communicated. A doctor should not be punished with a poor rating from a patient disgruntled over a diagnosis or a side effect of medications. But patients deserve to know from other patients whether a doctor’s office is always behind schedule, if the waiting and patient rooms are dirty, or if the doctor and staff are rude. It is good to see insurance companies taking an active role in providing their consumers the best care rather than just the least expensive. An allegiance like the one between Wellpoint and Zagat is a positive step for the health 2.0 movement and will help legitimize doctor rating systems. For those doctors still leery of the prospect of patients rating them, SavvyDoc has implemented doctor ratings as an opt-in function. However, I encourage doctors to use ratings because patients are the doctor’s best marketing tool!!!