Health News Review

Patient advocate Trisha Torrey writes, “Tragic Reminders of the Uselessness of Doctor Ratings.”

She cites two examples in the news of physicians – one admitting guilt in performing fake surgeries, one cited for malpractice, poor care, bad subscribing practices – yet both got high marks on Healthgrades, Vitals, and RateMDs ratings services.

She concludes:

So what do we empowered patients learn from all this?

First – that trusting reviews on a doctor ratings website is folly.  Clearly – you cannot trust them.  They are people’s opinions based on things like how polite the receptionist is – NOT helpful when it comes to the need for real care.

Second – that there are ways to find a doctor and his or her credentials online that are safe and useful, including information about malpractice.

And finally – that just because a doctor is nice, does not mean he or she is competent – and vice versa.  If you ask a friend for a referral to a doctor, and that friend uses the word “nice” – dig deeper!

As we move into 2014, and the Affordable Care Act kicks in, finding the right doctor is bound to become more difficult.  But that does not mean we can or should take shortcuts.  Read the USA Today expose cited above… it will make your toenails curl and will compel you to be very careful.

Doctors ratings are shortcuts – dangerous shortcuts.  Just don’t go there.

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Comments

David Williams of the Health Business Blog posted on September 13, 2013 at 7:29 am

Have to disagree with you on this one, Gary. The case against reviews is overstated and the proposed alternatives aren’t as great as they would sound (despite the 5 SEO links to other About.com articles squeezed into the snippet you quote).

See the Health Business Blog for more: http://healthbusinessblog.com/2013/09/13/patient-reviews-dont-throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater/

    Gary Schwitzer posted on September 13, 2013 at 8:32 am

    David,

    Thanks for your note.

    It’s not me you’re disagreeing with. Trisha Torrey, a noted patient advocate, wrote the article and, in the spirit of fostering the open marketplace of ideas, I simply posted about her article.

    And I now see that you’ve had an exchange with her on her website. Your comment…and her response…at:
    http://patients.about.com/b/2013/09/11/tragic-reminders-of-the-uselessness-of-doctor-ratings.htm