Hospitals go clean, post doc reviews

Piedmont Healthcare puts doc ratings online
By Erin McCann
10:58 AM
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An Atlanta-based health system has just given a little bit more power to the consumer after announcing last week it was publishing uncensored patient reviews of its physicians. 
 
The five-hospital Piedmont Healthcare now becomes one of the first healthcare provider groups opting to post independent patient reviews of their docs online. According to Piedmont officials, the reviews are collected by independent patient research company Press Ganey and are subsequently posted regardless of whether the comments are positive or negative. 
 
"Publishing these reviews is about becoming more transparent about our customer experience and also empowering the public to make informed decisions about their health," said Piedmont Chief Marketing Officer Matt Gove, in a press statement. 
 
Gove pointed out that contrary to other doc review websites like Healthgrades or RateMDs, the physician ratings are written by verified Piedmont patients. 
 
Already, some 210 physicians at Piedmont have their ratings listed on the website. (Pictured here is an actual review of a Piedmont physician.) The more than 800 remaining physicians will follow, said Gove, after they have earned more than 30 reviews each. 
 
Just recently, the University of Utah Health Care announced a similar initiative after discovering myriad unfavorable reviews of their physicians posted to other websites, and the seven-hospital Integris Health in Oklahoma said they, too, would be posting consumer reviews of physicians starting the end of April. 
 
Many industry officials say this is only the beginning. "This is clearly a trend that is coming," said James Merlino, MD, Cleveland Clinic chief experience officer, to Kaiser Health News.  
 
According to a February study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, some 59 percent of adults consider doc ratings to be somewhat or very important in choosing a doctor. And for those individuals who utilized online physicians rating to select their provider, more than one-third reported choosing a doctor based on positive reviews, and 37 percent avoided a provider with negative reviews.