LinkedIn Endorsements and a Physician’s Cloud

February 16, 2013

LinkedInI’ve been thinking about LinkedIn’s new recommendation feature.  Those of you who use LinkedIn probably understand that you can ‘endorse’ the activities of those in your network.  It’s a social vote in favor of a certain skills.  Initially I wasn’t sure about it but as time passes I wonder if it may get us closer to a way to socially review doctors.

This post on EMR and EHR by John Lynn covers the issue nicely.  Looking at his LinkedIn endorsements, they begin to take on the look of a cloud.  I can start to see a collective picture of who he is and what he does best as determined by those who know him.

This would represent an interesting way for the the public or peer professionals to grade physicians.  Every doctor could have a cloud that defines how they are seen.  This socially determined skill set could be visualized in some creative ways.  And if endorsements could number in the thousands, it would also become more difficult over time to game the system.  To be successful a system like this might need to offer granular options specific to what doctors do or abilities important to patients.  Using The current LinkedIn categories are too broad to offer actionable information.

Physician reviews are notoriously unreliable.  I wonder if a simple system like this would get us closer to a system that’s helpful and based on wide participation.

You may like: Why Doctors Should Use LinkedIn | Why Doctors Don’t Use LinkedIn | Doximity – The Doctor’s LinkedIn



Mike Thompson, MD, PhD February 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm

As usual. Interesting thoughts. I’ve also been wondering about the utility of the LI recs. I think in some cases it is too easy to click on a pop-up screen and non-discriminantly “rec”.

However, a few of your ideas might improve it:
1) greater “n” (rather than a few patients that really like or dislike an MD and skew results)
2) granular (re: services — too broad now in LI and MD rating sites or overreaching)
3) cloud (would this be colored like an “aura” or have a dynamic interactivity map — eg doximity labs or Symplur maps ?).


Roheet Kakaday February 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Interesting concept, Dr. V. I have just a couple thoughts:

1) Don’t board certifications assure certain clinical skills in the first place? What value would social endorsements offer on top of those certifications? I think this would work well for more non-clinical skills á la “great bedside manner” or “knows how to work the pesky EMR/EHR”.

2) Would patients be comfortable publicly endorsing doctors’ clinical skills, since it might entail a small breach of privacy? For example, Patient A says Dr. B is great at procedure X, but how would Patient A know that unless he had procedure X from Dr. B? If we were to anonymize Patient A’s information, the unaccountability that plagues normal physician-rating websites would return.

Your thoughts?

- Roheet

Cataract February 25, 2013 at 9:52 am

Physician reviews is a very interesting concept, but I agree with Roheet regarding the privacy of medical treatments. If such a tool is developed, privacy must be a key point to take into account.

Another issue with such a physician review tool is the ability of some patients to review the skills of a physician. Indeed, sometimes, the medical choices and the patient desire are taking an opposite direction, even if the physician is right. How the patient will be able to grade the physician in such a case?

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