Physician, Google Thyself
Online ratings may become a quality metric impacting individual provider payments, so the time to get familiar with them is now.
Admit it. You've looked yourself up on Google. More than once. So, what did you see? You should easily find where you practice now (and probably where you practiced before). You may also see your Twitter handle, published articles, course syllabi, and (in my case) JACR blogposts.
As a radiologist, perhaps you didn't find too much with respect to online physician rating sites, like on Healthgrades.com or RateMDs.com. But look up your primary care provider. There's a good chance you will find rating scores. These scores may or may not reflect what you know about that provider's clinical skills or medical judgment. Rating scores often reflect either very good care or very bad care from the most-satisfied and least-satisfied patients, respectively, with not much in-between.
A physician may be rated on the totality of the patient experience.
Online ratings may have more to do with everything but the provider himself or herself, such as wait times and the professionalism of all the medical and clerical staff the patient came in contact with during an episode of care. In the future, under MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015), not only may hospitals face payments tied to patient satisfaction on the basis of metrics including online ratings, so may individual physicians. For this reason, physicians will need to be more invested in ensuring that all of the elements of the patient experience are optimized, not just during direct physician-patient contact (or in the case of a diagnostic radiologist, their patient-encounter equivalent of image interpretation). When it comes to your online physician rating, the radiology receptionists, technologists, and nurses may serve as your proxies.
Listen in as Radiology Firing Podcast host C. Matthew Hawkins, MD, discusses physician rating websites with Andrew B. Rosenkrantz, MD, from New York University-Langone Medical Center.
Be proactive about your online profile because one day you may be paid according to what others think you're worth. I don't think many physicians relish the thought of being paid in the equivalent of tips based on perceived level of service. But in case it does, it will pay to be prepared.
Subscribe to the Radiology Firing Line podcast series on iTunes today.