This got me thinking: Is there something to those online sites that allow patients to review doctors? Do these sites allow real insight or simply provide a forum for those who indiscriminately want to rail on their doctor? I don’t know, but if you look at what people write about their doctors you’ll see marked polarity. There are those who believe their docs walk on water and those with real contempt. Pick what you like.
I retweeted @Pediartricinc’s comments and got back this:
Perhaps it’s important. After all, patients are driven to report for a reason. But unfortunately the real issues that motivate one to come forward are often difficult to discern.
Beyond the crude litmus of popularity, I question the value of physician rating sites in offering actionable information. But the market never lies, the crowd is usually right, and the capacity of such sites to make a difference will be proven over time. In my world I don’t see people making healthcare decisions based on angry narrative. Perhaps it’s coming.
I do find it interesting and worrisome that rating sites represent a threat to some physicians. I have heard stories of medical practices mandating patient disclaimers that prohibit online commentary. And there was the story of the dentist who sued over comments about his practice.
While I don’t believe patient review sites should drive health decisions, medical professionals shouldn’t shun public review. Every patient encounter should be treated as one that will be recounted by the patient. We should strive to have great stories written about the way we work. While there will always be rogue commentary, excellent care and stellar service will overshadow the outliers.