The best piece I’ve read about doctor ratings sites is on Salon, by Dr. Rahul Parikh. Excerpt: “I recently Googled myself to determine how I fared on sites like Healthgrades, which exclusively rates doctors; and Yelp! and Angie’s List, which grade doctors alongside restaurants and plumbers. The results were inconclusive. Many sites had me listed but not rated. However, on Vitals.com I earned a mere one-star review (out of four). I had no idea who had rated me, or why I earned such a subpar grade. Some of the other information on the site was correct and some was not. It claimed I work at two four-star hospitals (that’s incorrect — just one four-star center), attended a three-star medical school, and that patients wait an average of 20 minutes to see me. It’s unclear how that number was calculated.”
In San Francisco, getting serious about variations in health care, by Emily Bazar at the San Francisco Chronicle.”Researchers long ago established that certain medical procedures are performed at dramatically different rates from place to place, and that these disparities affect the quality and cost of health care. Now, health insurers, hospitals and government agencies from the Bay Area to Washington, D.C., are getting more aggressive about tackling variation in medical care.”
Up next: increased employee spending on health care, according to the American Medical Association: “Many executives at large companies said they will continue to push more health insurance costs onto their
employees in 2012 — and that could mean even more patients delaying visits to their physicians. The reliance of large companies on employee cost-sharing isn’t new, but its precise weight was quantified in a survey commissioned by the National Business Group on Health that was released Aug. 18.”
Unproven treatments rise in the field of sports medicine, Gina Kolata writes in The Times. Notable for its thoroughness, this piece also reminds us that she had a “platelet-rich plasma” treatment for a sports injury, one of the treatments she characterizes as of uncertain benefit.
Get a discount by paying your hospital bill on time? Try it, says The Milford (Ma.) Daily News. “With out-of-pocket costs rising, patients at MetroWest Medical Center and Marlborough Hospital have at least some good news: There’s a growing chance they can get discounts by paying their bills promptly. While the hospitals have to make up the difference with insurers – allowing patients to count the full amount toward their deductibles – the providers say it’s worth it, given the increased difficulty of collecting what they’re owed.”