An article today on usatoday.com reports that Healthgrades has rolled out new metrics drawing inferences about physician and hospital quality from health plan claims data.  They’re analyzing physicians’ level of experience with specific procedures (based on frequency in the claims) and aiming to combine this data with patient reviews and other quality data they can tie back to their physician profiles, such as doctors’ hospital affiliations and complication data from those hospitals.

USA Today thinks the new approach could be “game changing.” But even if doesn’t dramatically change the game for the ratings sites themselves, certainly these new measures will be another data point that patients who already visit Healthgrades will consider — and that means it’s also one more way that incorrect information can silently undermine your practice and your marketing efforts.

Say, for example, your surgery practice has affiliations with multiple hospitals, but somehow Healthgrades has only accessed the one with the most complications, or the one where your physicians have performed the fewest procedures. Omissions of the other hospitals from the calculations could cause Healthgrades to report that your physicians have less experience than they do, or that they’re affiliated only with lower quality hospitals.  For a patient choosing between two physicians, data like this could easily persuade the patient to choose the other option over your practice.  Bottom line: an incomplete picture could do just as much damage as a negative review!

This is just one more reason to be sure you’re registered on Healthgrades and have reviewed and updated all of your listing information — including verifying and updating things like hospital affiliations and procedures performed. (And once you’ve updated the facts, you’ll have the chance to polish up the image portions of your profile, too, too.)

And if you’ve been intimidated by the process of working with physician ratings sites and claiming and updating your physician profiles, my ebook — The Quick Guide to Online Physician Reputation Management (Vol. 1) — can help you get started quickly and without stress.  It will help you prioritize and show you just what you have to do.  (The link goes to Amazon, and you can read the Kindle version on almost any device with their free software, but feel free to contact me if you find you can’t use the Kindle format.)

BTW, the ebook is only $5.99.  It’s meant to be a great value and should save you lots of time trying to figure the process out on your own. You can read it and digest it in a sitting or two.

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