Healthcare: Is it as simple as a star-rating ?

27 May

Listening to the news in the car yesterday morning, the controversial topic of NIB’s (an Australian health insurance provider) soon to be launched website, “Whitecoat” came up.

In case you haven’t heard, the site will be provide a ranking based system for customers to log-on and review health care professionals – psychologists, podiatrists, dentists.  There are plans for the database to expand to general practitioners.

It has many major medical associations in an uproar, complaining its potential to release unfavourable and unsubstantiated information about health care providers.  The fact that it’s on the internet deepens the debate.

I actually like the idea.

I think back and remember the long, tough, taxing road we took to find a local GP.  It was around the time we were planning to start a family.  Conceiving wasn’t as forthcoming as hoped (another story, another post…perhaps).

We just wanted to have the best health care available to us as we were to commence a journey of uncertainty.

Looking for someone who we felt had the best bedside manners and most importantly – who we could trust implicitly – was an uphill battle.  It took several attempts and a case of relying on “word of mouth.”

Naturally, battles with infertility are sensitive topics.

Yet, there were some doctors who I found to be curt and too abrupt when asking for their help and advice.  Completely unsympathetic and cold.

We found our current GP soon after we found out I was pregnant with twins and it was – dare I say – love at first sight.

She has really been through the thick and thin in our family.

They say it takes a community to raise a child (or in our case children).  And I am so grateful that she is in ours.

I like the fact that we call her by her first name.  I am relieved that she knows the twinlets’ medical history so well, she can confidently tell me exactly how many times the boys have had to take antibiotics in their 16 months of life.

Most of all, she doesn’t see me as a paranoid, nut-case parent when the boys are going through a minor stomach bug while I’m dealing with it like it was the end of the world.

She treats all of my concerns with seriousness and great professionalism.

If I was asked to rate her on a website, would I ?

Damn straight, I would.

I’d give her five stars – in a lightening flash.

But back to the debate. I do see the health practioners’ concerns in protecting their practices.  Their reputation.

Although, on the flip-side, don’t NIB also have a brand to protect ?  As a reliable health insurance provider, what would be in their interest to release dud information ?  You would hope that NIB will have an experienced team in place who will be managing the site’s content with integrity and proper ethics.

We’re not rating hotels or used cars here.

Perhaps also, these medical associations who are worried about slanderous opinions should give the internet user, the consumer, the patient a little more credit.

Going on-line, I would be well aware of how damaging – or helpful – my information can be.

Looking at things logically, why would I abuse my right  ?

Why wouldn’t I give a review with proper thought and credence ?

Musings of Mama Grace © 2011

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2 Responses to “Healthcare: Is it as simple as a star-rating ?”

  1. Larry Kieffer May 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Good article and good issue. There is a discussion of doctor rankings in the book Super Freakonomics with some interesting arguments against it. For example, wouldn’t the best doctors attract the toughest cases who are then more likely to die therefore lowering that doctor’s rating?

    • mamagrace71 May 27, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      Wow ! Great point !
      Brings a whole new dimension to it all.
      Thanks for bringing in a different side to the argument 🙂

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