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Patient Safety Monitor Insider

November 18, 2015

Seeing stars: The push toward physician ratings and what it means for quality care.

As more consumer websites get into the business of rating physicians, hospitals are jumping on board in an effort to contribute to the online conversation.

In the Internet age, consumers frequently rely on ratings and reviews when making any decision from purchasing a flat screen TV to finding the best place to eat breakfast.

Why not do the same when it comes to your medical care?

That's a question that many patients and family caregivers are asking themselves as they search for better ways to choose their physicians. It's also one that hospitals are being forced to consider as more consumer websites devoted to physician ratings are offering patients a helping hand and making an imprint on the healthcare marketplace.

Type a physician's name into Google and you're bound to see the top results populated with physician ratings sites like ZocDoc, RateMDs, Vitals, Yelp, and Healthgrades, to name a few. Increasingly, however, more hospitals are taking steps to inject their own ratings systems into the conversation.

The University of Utah Health Care in Salt Lake City was the first health system to adopt this approach, launching an initiative in 2012 to post physician reviews and comments on its website. Since then, a handful of other hospitals have followed suit, including the Cleveland Clinic, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Stanford Health Care, and Piedmont Healthcare. In August, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and North Shore-LIJ Health System also joined the fray. (Editor's note: North Shore-LIJ recently announced plans to change its name to Northwell Health.)

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