Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Doctor Rating Web Site Health Grades is a Time Magazine “Best 50” – How Trustworthy Is the Content??

HealthGrades Logo / Guiding Americans to their Best Health

HealthGrades has been rating doctors, dentists, and hospitals on five star scales for over ten years. Ratings include communication skills, time spent, trust, and office environment. There are also links to board sanctions.

This past August Time Magazine rated Health Grades as one of the 50 best Websites of 2011.

Recently there was a lively discussion on this topic at the medical librarian listserv (Medlib-L).
Among the responses…

  • Two people noted contact information for their doctors was not correct
  • “The self selection process creates a huge bias. The people who are angry and disappointed are the ones motivated to write.”
  • “patient rating is 4.5 stars out of 5, but he’s only had 4 patients comment on him. In skimming through other doctors in Fargo, very few have more than 4 patient comments and everyone has between 4 and 5 stars.”
  • “My doctor is in private solo practice and when you look at the lists by highlighted or popularity they are very institutionally presented. The independents come at the end of the list so this is not a fair representation”
  • “the physician she replaced upon his retirement in April 2008 is still listed (with one review), although he has been gone for almost 4 years”

Although these comments do not compromise an in depth critique of Health Grades they do raise questions about its currency, contact information correctness, and basis of comparison (basically unsolicited input from patients). It would be wise to use Health Grades in conjunction with other sources of information to make good decisions on choosing or evaluating a doctor, dentist, or hospital.

Some additional sources of information

December 26, 2011 - Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , , , ,

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