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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ratings of doctors: Five stars for Consumer Reports

When I choose a car, I do my homework carefully, as my family's lives will depend on the decision.  I'm easily able to find the ratings of thousands of consumers, on a dozen dimensions, via Consumer Reports' well-known five-star rating system.  

However, I've been unable to do my due diligence, and have been frustrated, in making a different high-stakes decision, that of helping my mother find a doctor in Atlanta.  Each of several rating organizations posts only a handful of consumers' ratings, if any, of a given physician.   

Maybe there's hope now, at least for consumers of medical services in Massachusetts.  In today's Boston Globe, Chelsea Conaboy described a new resource for patients in Massachusetts, courtesy of Consumer Reports and Massachusetts Health Quality Partners.  Beginning today, they're posting ratings of almost 500 physician practices that each had at least 50 patient surveys.  

MHQP has been posting physician ratings for several years.  Barbra Rabson, the head of MHQP, said the average physician practice has improved its ratings since 2009.  Such reporting is a powerful stimulus toward improvement.

Kudos to Consumer Reports!

And, can we fantasize that someday we'll have pricing information, too?

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