Rating Physicians and Hospitals and Web 2.0: Could it really change health demand?

March 17, 2008

Checking my RSS I have found a interesting post titled Health Care’s Broke: Physician Rating and Quality Indicators where the author mentions some physicians’ and hospitals’ opinions about Web 2.0 rating tools:

You’re only going to get the extreme patients to evaluate you (and often the unhappy ones)

The unhappy patients will have the opportunity to publicly say how terrible the doctor is, but because of privacy rules, the doctor or hospital cannot comment or defend him or herself

There is too much emphasis on bedside manner and convenience, and not enough information on outcomes — “How Good A Doctor Am I?”

Even if there is information on outcomes (like in the hospitals’ cases) if this determines payment or discourages future patients because of a bad rating of outcomes, the physician will be much less likely to risk treating a very sick patient, who will likely have a bad outcome no matter what

These systems also ignore where a hospital operates or where a doctor works — hospitals with large populations of poor patients are likely to be sicker than hospitals in affluent areas. Academic hospitals which often care for many incredibly complex, sick patients might be compared to relatively straightforward, simple patients at another hospital down the street.

After this, the author suggests some relationship between “Pay for Performance” and Web 2.0 rating tools and he gives some advices for hospitals and physicians.

A few moths ago I posted about Web 2.0 challenges the tools for rating quality of health information on the Internet and I wondered if Web 2.0 could really change the production and consumption of health information and the consequences of this virtual shift on quality and on expert and lay knowledge.

Right now, I also have to wonder about the consequences of Web 2.0 on patients’ preferences when they are looking for a hospital. Could this kind of application really move the demand side of healthcare market? What is the social scalability of Web 2.0 initiatives to be worth?