I saw a recent tweet (I think from the Dell or HP twitter account) that talked about a new CMS portal to compare physicians. I was excited by the prospects of a way for patients to be able to compare physicians. I think that service is greatly needed. Currently I’ve been seeing a theme in my online reading and social media efforts that patients don’t have a good way to differentiate doctors and clinics. Plus, doctors don’t have a real requirement to satisfy their customers (patients) in many areas. Luckily, most doctors ignore the fact that it’s not required and provide an excellent service. However, I’d love to see the rest of the doctors who aren’t as diligent to be held accountable.
As such, I was excited to read about the new Physician Compare Portal by CMS. You’d think it would be a great way for someone who moved to a new area to be able to compare physicians. Isn’t that what the name seems to imply? It does to me.
Unfortunately, it has its weaknesses (which I should have expected since it was coming from the government). First, it really only compares Medicare physicians. Ok, I guess that makes sense since it is a CMS project. Second, it seems like the only way to compare physicians is by location, specialty, and I think it lists their education. Basically, the information you could find out about any physician online.
I didn’t see any place where I could rate or review a physician. I bet CMS would be afraid to open up those flood gates. There was an option to add that physician to “My Favorite Physician”. I’m not sure what it does after that since I don’t have a My Medicare login. Maybe there’s more you can do with the physician once they’re you’re favorite.
Maybe I’m jumping the gun here and this is just version 1 of the portal. Hopefully they have a lot planned that will help patients really differentiate between the physicians in their community. As it currently stands, there doesn’t seem like there’s much to compare.
Honestly, I don’t think CMS or any government agency could do a valuable physician compare engine. I think it would need to be led by an outside organization. Sounds like a great idea for an entrepreneur.