As consumers become more savvy about researching and comparing products or services when online, they are now applying those practices to selecting and evaluating a physician. While “Physician Compare,” a tool on the Medicare.gov website has been available since 2010, the site just did a redesign and added a function that ranks doctors for Medicare subscribers. Physician Compare is a comprehensive search tool that allows readers to access data about doctors by location, last name, practice specialty, or even medical condition.
With so many changes in the works for insurance and healthcare, there will undoubtedly be closer examination of the levels and quality of service provided by medical care providers. Private insurance companies have been providing subscribers with physician rankings for several years. According to an AARP.org blog post, the federal health care law now requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to publish performance data on physicians. Included in the data are how patients have rated them, if they follow basic care guidelines and how well the medical interventions they performed succeeded.
More Search and Ranking Tools to Come
In another new, cool search function on the Medicare site, a silhouette of a body allows readers to click on the area of the body in which they require medical help. The CMS reports that additional data, such as locating and ranking group medical practices, is expected to be added to the site next year. The ranking information will be supplied by the Physician Quality Reporting System, which uses metrics for different specialties and medical conditions. The article gives the example of rating a doctor on what percentage of diabetic patients he screens for complications like glaucoma by doing a dilated eye exam.