Friday, April 27, 2001

Area doctors facing public report card

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Starting today, more than 80,000 Greater Cincinnati residents will find a survey in their mailbox asking them what they think of their doctor.

        In June, the results will be posted on the Internet for anyone to see. When it happens, it will be the first large-scale, independent physician report card to be made public in the Tristate.

        The “DoctorGuide” survey is a product of Nebraska-based National Research Corp. The survey will evaluate nearly 700 primary-care doctors who participate in three of the area's largest health plans: Humana/ChoiceCare, United HealthCare, and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. It also will include the Group Health Associates physician group.

        The idea is that health-care expenses can be minimized when patients are satisfied with their doctors. Studies show satisfied patients are more likely to follow doctors' instructions, said Mike Hays, chief executive of NRC.

        But doctors remain skeptical whether such a report will be of much value.

        “I'd be concerned that there will be a lot of highly subjective stuff on the survey ... largely marketing and public relations stuff, as opposed to, "Did the doctor do the right thing medically for the patient?'” said Dr. Louis Brockmeier of the Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati.


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