Doctor Rating System: Good or Bad?

Jan 25 08:48 2011 Andrew Stratton Print This Article

Health information continues to expand on the Web. Many sites rating doctors have continued to pop up on the Internet. Some doctors have acted to stop anonymous comments about them by having patients sign a one-page gag order before receiving treatment.

People looking to sing the praises of their physician or to voice displeasure over his or her practices have increasingly turned to ratings websites.

But some doctors are taking steps to stop such postings by having patients sign a one-page “gag order” prohibiting them from publishing and airing public comments about the doctor before receiving treatment. The gag-order contracts,Guest Posting created by the Medical Justice Corp., have not been challenged yet, but raise the question whether squelching a doctor rating is a violation of free speech.

Doctors who have adopted the “gag order” procedure have no qualms about possibly stifling a patient's First Amendment rights from going off on a certain medical professional.

“Your reputation is critical,” Dr. Nick Slenkovich, a plastic surgeon in the Denver area, said in a recent Angie's List Magazine article. “If you lose it, it's gone.”

Ratings and information on health care have exploded on the Internet. Health ratings websites offer everything from a review of doctors in your area to the typical cost for a certain medical procedure, lab test or doctor's visit – all in the name of providing patients and potential patients the most information possible to make decisions about their health care.

Ratings and profiles abound about physicians, nursing homes and hospitals. And the information is available and used by corporations, hospitals, consumers and health plans in making health care decisions.

With these sites getting millions of hits each month and so much riding on these rankings and ratings, should people be able to post anonymously about a doctor or hospital? Some experts feel that by having to provide a name with each doctor rating, people would not give an honest assessment of their medical experience and instead give the physician or medical center high marks to avoid uneasiness at their next appointment. Others feel that without registration requirements, disgruntled patients can go off on a tangent against a physician or medical facility when the patient might be at some fault as well.

Health institutions, including hospitals and nursing homes, can get a sense of how they are stacking up against the competition with such ratings and likely won't be impacted by one or two negative ratings from patients. The ratings help hospitals target their strengths and weaknesses and where patients want the facility to be down the road.

But ratings get a little more personal with doctors who can be slammed by a disgruntled patient or two on a website with not many reviews and that can affect his or her business.

While many of the rating sites are free, there are some that charge for certain information – data that had only been available to clients, but may have benefit for the public as well.

Some ratings sites don't accept public comment, basing their ratings of the doctors on public and private third-party reports and information. Their experts do the risk adjustments based on demographic characteristics of patients, the severity of patient's illnesses, and differences in procedures and regions, so that viewers of the site are getting an apples-to-apples comparison of doctors and not just one or two people's view of the physician.

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

About Article Author

Andrew Stratton
Andrew Stratton

A doctor rating can benefit you greatly if you need a new medical professional. To learn more about this issue visit: http://www.doctorreviewsonline.com/.

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