Thursday, November 02, 2006

Doctor rating with an attitude

Kevin MD points us to this article about doctors’ organizations upset over the increasingly popular web site Rate MDs. The organizations believe comments on the site are defamatory and are pressuring Rate MDs to remove them. Two comments have been removed from the site but other requests by doctors’ groups have been ignored.

Perhaps the best known and most reputable physician rating service is Health Grades, a no nonsense, “just the facts” site that requires paid access to view physician ratings. Rate MDs is different. It’s a free wheeling, let it all hang out message board style web site with open access to all. Although users have the option to create an account, it’s not necessary in order to post or view, and commenters do not have to give any identifying information.

According to the FAQ page although patient comments are reviewed for appropriateness they are posted “immediately.” The site owners imply they may delete inappropriate comments, but here’s a sampling of what did not get deleted:

does breast exam for no reason

this doctor is a bully

this man is a joke

I fully blame this doctor for my aunt’s death

--just a creep!

trained his staff to lie---------

Don’t go to ---------they will kill you in there

On a more positive note:
-----and he is cute!!!!

More FAQs----

If you’re a doctor and don’t like the ratings: “The fact of the matter is that this site is only going to get more popular as time goes by, so the best way of dealing with it is to use it rather than try to fight it.” (In other words, get over it).

I’m a doctor. How do I get my name removed from your site? “The short answer is, you don’t.”

And if you’re thinking about legal action against the web site, don’t bother, say the owners (FAQ # 18).

Have a look. Are you rated?


Anonymous said...

I am not a physician! I am a consumer who visits them on occasion. I will never go anywhere to rate one. What am I going to rate him or her on? I never went to Medical school, I never spend years working my behind off in a profession that, in my oppinion, most of the time is a thankless one. There are only three things I want from my doctor: one, that he/she is licensed; two, that he/she acts in a professional manner, and three, that he/she doesn't say, "This is going to be a little uncomfortable," when we both know it's going to hurt like hell. :) Maybe my opinion doesn't mean much, but I think physicians should be rated by other physicians.

Anonymous said...

The sample comments you listed sound like exactly the things someone might say in describign a bad doctor to a friend or colleague. The difference (as the RateMDs site points out) is that those conversations now occur online instead of in the lunchroom, at a PTA meeting, or around the water cooler.

Give pople credit for being able to read a range of comments and make their own choices. For too long doctors have hidden behind "responsible" review bodies, made up of other doctors, but in fact fewer than one in 100 patient complaints results in ANY dscicplinary or corrective action.

Consumers use the Internet to directly share opinions about books, hotels, restaurants, cameras, computer, etc. Why not doctors?

Also note that the majority of the ratings on the RateMDs site are positive, and many of the reviews (not the small sample you selected) are very informative. I think sites like this are a great resource for consumers to make informed choices.

Anonymous said...

I just checked out the site, and like Bert noted, most of the comments are positive. I think the site is okay as long as it doesn't turn into an all-bashing site. It looks like most folks are just sharing information about doctors to aid other in finding a good one.

It's hard to know who to go to when moving to a new community, and I have always asked people who they recommend. Now people can go online and ask . . . Don't be afraid of this site. ;o)

Anonymous said...


They aren't GOD! People who get the best health care are those who take an active role in their health care. Too bad your standards are low. Not all doctors are equal.

Anonymous said...

Is there such a thing as a good doctor? I have yet to find one, they just rush you because so they can bring in the next patient, the more patients the more money they make, that is all they seemed concerned about to me

Anonymous said...

The main error people made is lack of understanding that Physicians are not supposed to simply meet all desires and expectations of their "customers". IN THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE PHYSICIANS HAVE TO FOLLOW SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES LEGAL RULES AND ETHICAL GUIDLINES.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous asked.Is there such a thing as a good doctor? My answer to that question is yes! His name is Dr. Sonja Singh in Niagara Fall, NY. I have had a few doctors in my life time. Nobody was more attentive, spoke in terms I could understand or took his time with me (as I'm sure he did with each patient)then Dr. Singh. He seemed to genuinely care about me.

Anonymous said...

Healthcare is just like any other service industry, there are good Doctors who have the desire and the knowledge to help their clients/patients and get paid for their service same as the car mechanics, and there are however those few who have arrogance instead, and one does not have to be a doctor to realize that he still not feeling well after the long costly treatment. I just hope that the right physician will still be around when we need one, and medicine will not be outsource to India.

Cindy Miles said...

The truth of the matter is that there are those doctors who graduated in the top 10% of their class and those that graudated in the bottom 10% of their class. This means that there are doctors out there that are better than others. Since I relocated to the area I live in 7 years ago, I have seen several doctors that have not provided me adequate care. I know there must be great doctors here but I have taken a stab at the list my insurance company has provided me for primary care physicians and so far I have had several doctors who are not agressive or caring enough to get to the bottom of my health problems. I am now using sites such as Rate MD's to provide some guidance for finding a good physician so I can get the health care I need.

Unknown said...

Online doctor ratings are a positive thing for doctors and for the public. I asked a group of doctors what they thought the average doctor’s patient satisfaction score would be. On a scale of 0-10, they gave answers in the range of 4-6. The actual median score of doctors (with 20 or more ratings) on the online patient satisfaction survey website is 9.5 out of 10! Even doctors don’t realize what a great job we are doing, tending to see each others’ failures and rarely each others’ happy patients.

Doctors don’t need to try to prohibit patients from rating doctors on the Internet. What are we trying to hide—the greatest collection of physicians of all time?! We ought to be encouraging all our patients to rate us on the Internet. For one, the public would get to see a more representative picture of the great job U.S. physicians are doing every day (we certainly aren’t going to see that picture in our newspapers or TV news broadcasts). And two, getting feedback from patients can only help us achieve our goals of giving our patients the best possible medical care.

Steven R. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D.

Kristen said...

I, personally, wish more people would review their doctors on the internet - good and bad. The more people who review their doctors, the more likely it is that people will get an accurate picture of each doctor.

I've recently moved and now I'm looking for doctors. However, I don't feel like there are people I can ask about this topic because some things are personal and also because a lot of the people I know don't have knowledge about the doctors I'm looking for. My office is all men and I'm looking for an ob/gyn!

The thing is that any reasonable adult can read the different reviews and decide for themselves how credible each reviewer is. I ignore people who only make unexplained, error-filled comments. I pay more attention to those with well-written and intelligent comments.

I'm sure that giving patients the power is terrifying to some doctors. Those who are afraid, probably have good reason to be. The good doctors know that they are doing a good job and don't have anything to worry about.

To Margie - I don't have to have gone to medical school to know what is appropriate doctor behavior versus what is inappropriate. Sure, I don't have intimate medical knowledge but I do need to feel like I can trust this person. Especially when I'm at my most vulnerable (sick and/or naked).

Anonymous said...

Many physicians do not appreciate anonymous negative rankings destroying hard-earned lifelong reputations. Doctors are justifiably concerned of the harmful effects of negative ratings. A few irate patients can crate a storm of negative ratings.

I am working with a new company, that will allow physicians to refute ratings. A physician portal will give doctors full control on the accuracy of all information. Doctors who violate their data are subject to lockout. We are going to attempt to walk the fine tightrope between consumer and physician satisfaction.

Ira Weiss

Anonymous said...

consumers need to take back control of their patient satisfaction, and as in other industries, only the consumer can effect change. So in the case of, patients rate their doctor based on waiting room times, total wait time including the time in the patient room with the doctor, and a simple rating of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest on how satisfied they were with that appointment. The ratings are averaged out, so one poor score does not hurt the doctor, but on the other hand, various poor ratings may indicate poor performance by the doctor, since the wisdom of crowds determine a more accurate assessment of the doctor.

Anonymous said...

If you want to write anything close to an intelligent and objective article you have to get your facts straight first:

"Although users have the option to create an account, it’s not necessary in order to post or view, and raters do not have to give any identifying information."

Maybe you weren't aware, in that case I'll excuse you because you were ignorant, but I had to create an account in order to rate a certain individual. In that account I had to give identifying information. For some reason, I was not permitted to rate this individual UNLESS I had an account. So in this case, you got it wrong.

Additionally I read some of the comments, I will grant you that there is a proportion of rubbish on there, as society always has fools. However, some of the ratings, however outlandish they may seem to you, if you were honest about your profession and the people in it, or were a little more educated and experienced and less naive on what it is like out there in the real world of how patients get treated, then you wouldn't be producing this mystified dismay at what is not deleted. It is very sadly a very polite portrayal of the truth of the (in this case) the mental health system.

I say there's some credible and some not credible, that's the nature of anything. I also say that I'm glad this site exists in order to give people a voice and to put word out there (and really how far does it go? if i really wanted to make an impact I'd never put myself in the hands of these people or take them to court to ensure they never worked in that field again) about my experience with sectors of the health system and their 'professionals'.

Robert W Donnell said...

Anon 4:25 AM----
I got my facts straight from the FAQ of the site. Here's a paste:

*Do I have to give you my name or email address? I don't want any trouble from my doctors or their staff.

You are not required to create an account, or log in, or enter your name or email address.*

Robert W Donnell said...

PS to Anon 4:25 SM---

Here's the link to the FAQ page (look at FAQ #6).

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

I can copy and paste to. I don't care what that SAID, I'm actually talking from a point of experience.

If you bother to read the page you copied and paste, it further illustrates my point:

"if you want to use the site to its fullest, be sure to create an account."

And to back up, not just what I said in writing, but directly from the site it says the following when attempting to rate a doctor

"This listing is currently restricted; please login or create an account first."

and it goes on:


Only logged-in users are allowed to rate this doctor. Please go back and login or join before rating.

Please click your browser's "Back" button to go back or click the link below for the main page."

That tells you, in order to rate some doctors, you are REQUIRED to have an account. I don't give a damn what they say in the conditions at the outset, once you actually go in and experience it for yourself you'll see it's a different case.

Check your facts from every point of the case before you believe the conditions at the outset and use them to support your argument. They're doomed to fail you in the process. It's a life lesson.

Robert W Donnell said...

Anon 11:36 pm---
I tried it and was able to rate one of my own docs with no problem. I didn't have to log in, create an account, or leave any info about myself.

Robert W Donnell said...

Anon 11:36 pm---
If your experience on the site is different from mine I appreciate the info and will stand corrected that, apparently for some doctors or in some regions use of the site carries restrictions.

Anonymous said...

Your point is? Not quite sure what that proved other than your original argument has been debunked even further.

Trying to rate one doctor out of thousands on the site and then essentially saying - "well there you go, that's the result, you can, that one lone condition was true, it's true to it's word, what I said was a true representation of the site, it's all facts" is plain stupid.

Testing "one" is not an accurate representation of the truth about the entire sample.

The reality is that with some doctors, you are required to create an account that you stated in your argument from the outset users were never required to create and lodge details that you stated users never had to reveal.

I don't care what it said in the one condition you quoted. If you want to argue with facts, then putting up a link of conditions that say's a whole lot more than the one you pointed out - and in practise in some cases is the complete opposite - then it just illustrates my argument further

The response from the website copied and pasted as a response to your blog is my experience:

"This listing is currently restricted; please login or create an account first."

"Only logged-in users are allowed to rate this doctor. Please go back and login or join before rating."

You'd have a lot more integrity in your argument about the site if you acknowledged the experience of your respondents. Going by your generalizations about your ability to anonymously rate one doctor, as well as pasting one ambiguous condition has not been a true representation of the workings of the site.

Anonymous said...

kk, thanks.

Anonymous said...

You can see what people are saying about their doctors in NY at