Some doctors, tired of often capricious, inaccurate, and statistically flawed ratings of their performance, have decided to fight back.
“Pa-Rate,” is a new service that enables physicians and their office staffs as well as hospital personnel to anonymously grade the performance of patients they encounter.
Speaking for the group who developed the website, Dr. Giovanni van Bronckhorst, a surgeon, who is president of the American Association of Medical Doctors, said, “We think it is now time for doctors to start evaluating their patients.”
The patient rating system will cover several categories including compliance with diet, exercise and other instructions, taking medications, courtesy, frequency of cancellation of appointments, showing up late, paying bills on time and calling for prescription refills on weekends.
When a patient calls any physician for an appointment, staff can access the Pa-Rate website and enter the patient’s name and birth date.
A complete summary of all ratings—from 1 star to 5 stars—will appear. Data on whether a patient has ever been discharged from a practice or sued anyone will also be displayed.
Dr. Nicholas Anelka, a family practitioner from Piso Mojado, California, said, “I’m looking forward to using Pa-Rate to help me choose only the best patients for my practice.”
“It’s like Carfax, only for patients,” said Dr. van Bronckhorst.
The site will be free to all licensed physicians who register and will be supported by advertising from drug companies, device manufacturers, and malpractice insurance companies.
Patients will not be permitted to contest any ratings nor will discovery of names of physicians who submitted ratings be possible.
Not surprisingly, patient advocacy groups are up in arms about the plan claiming it may unfairly characterize certain patients. On hearing of the new service, the executive director of Patients for Justice, Leighton Baines said, “We are concerned that a single doctor who did not get along with a certain patient might unreasonably portray her as difficult.” He felt that this might hinder that patient’s ability to receive care.
Dr. van Bronckhorst countered that no one seems particularly concerned that a single negative rating from a patient or even a competing doctor with malicious intent might unfairly harm his practice.
The Pa-Rate site will go live on October first.
[Be advised that this post is a satire. There are no plans (that I know of) for a website where doctors could rate patients. I would be interested in your comments anyway.]
Skeptical Scalpel is a recently retired surgeon and was a surgical department chairman and residency program director for many years. He is board-certified in general surgery and a surgical sub-specialty and has re-certified in both several times. For the last three years, he has been blogging at SkepticalScalpel.blogspot.com and tweeting as @SkepticScalpel. His blog averages over 1000 page views per day, and he has over 7000 followers on Twitter.