Careseek CEO Gale Wilson Steele writes in to comment on the ongoing controversy over physician ratings:

"It’s not surprising that physicians are uncomfortable with the idea of others "rating" them.  After all, what do others know about how well they provide healthcare?

This, actually, is very similar to the reactions professors first had on RateMyProfessors, where professors protested that students only cared about whether their tests were fair, and scoffed saying that the “kids” knew nothing about the professors’ degrees, research projects, etc.  In the minds of those who stood at the lectern, it was about academic qualifications; for those in the seats, it was about staying awake.  Today, professors are much more comfortable with the fact that they can be listed on a website and reviewed, and in fact, are somewhat insulted if no student has taken the time to list them.  Secretly they even hope to receive a few “chili peppers”, meaning that they are “hot” professors!

Ultimately, a few professors responded in kind and created Rateyourstudents.blogspot.com, a sort of RateMyStudents site.  By now it has turned into a cynical professorial rant about teaching.

So with new physician rating and review sites coming online nearly every week, how are doctors going to handle being rated by their patients?  Physicians also complain “What does a patient know about how well I practice medicine?…Patients don’t know about my years in school, my research, my etc.” 

Will doctors ultimately create a site called RateMyPatients, where they can rant over the injustices of healthcare and the assaults they take daily from their patients?  Or will they praise these sites as a place to learn how to improve their practices or as sources of patient testimonials to their excellence? 

The latest twist on who rates whom is eliminating the issue of reviewer qualification, namely NursesRecommendDoctors.com.  No one will deny that this population of over 3,000,000 trained medical professionals has a keen insight into the practices of physicians, their bedside manners and clinical competence.  It will be interesting to see if this trusted group of patient advocates will have the willingness to share what everyone wants to know…who are the best doctors?"

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2 replies »

  1. It’s interesting to see a post comparing RateMyProfessors with doctor rating sites, especially since I am the founder of both RateMyProfessors and the largest website for user-submitted doctor ratings, RateMDs.com (http://ratemds.com). 🙂
    We have over 400,000 ratings currently and receive 500 to 800 new ratings per day. Hope you’ll check us out. Thanks

  2. I recently wrote about DrScore.com, a site where patients can rate their doctors and those doctors’ practices. (It’s based in our area, as is its founder.) The founder’s main point wasn’t that patients have the clinical expertise to judge doctors professionally. Rather, he said, doctors need to listen to patients’ *perceptions* so that they can appear, as well as actually be, caring, skilled, professional, etc. (The survey also covers such things as parking, after-hours availability, etc., that lean more toward the objective.)
    I’m not sure exactly where I come down on this. I think it would be along the lines of, If my patients perceive me as uncaring even when I care, then I have some work to do on my bedside manner. As long as sites such as these don’t try to be, or appear to be, things they manifestly cannot be — objective assessors of a physician’s talents — I don’t see the harm, and patients may even find them helpful.
    And, sure, you can wonder about the statistical reliability of the ratings you get when, say, only five patients have rated you. But if all five say your nursing staff is rude, do you really need to seek a larger statistical base before at least looking into that?