Blog spotlight: Consumer Reports will rate physicians on communication, patient care

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

June 6, 2012

Most people turn to Consumer Reports when trying to decide which household appliances or electronics are the best options, but a new initiative from the magazine may have readers skimming its pages before deciding on a physician practice. Consumer Reports will soon release ratings for 500 physician practices in Massachusetts based on patient surveys conducted by the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP). The goal of the collaboration between MHQP and Consumer Reports is to improve quality of care by providing information to both patients and physicians, according to MHQP Executive Director Barbra Rabson. The ratings will include information on how well physicians communicate with patients and coordinate patients’ care, while also taking into consideration patients’ experiences with offices’ staffs.

Although Consumer Reports has rated U.S. hospitals and heart surgeon groups in the past, this is the magazine’s first time rating primary care physician practices. The magazine will also begin rating physician practices in Minnesota and Wisconsin within the next year. Although there are websites where patients can review physicians and share their opinions, Consumer Reports stresses that the information for the physician ratings comes from patient surveys rather than random patient reviews, leading to a more complete picture of a physician practice.

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