Wednesday, March 04, 2009

RateMDs


One of my coworkers forwarded me this link to RateMDs.com. The site allows patients to rate and read about their doctors and dentists in several countries including United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and India. Comments can be made anonymously and this has invited criticism from physicians and medical associations who fear that defamatory reviews could potentially damage a doctor's career. Having worked in an allied health profession for over thirty years, I have seen the best and the worst of medical care. Most of the doctors I have worked with are top notch but it is frustrating to see physicians who get away with being consistently rude and negligent in their practice. Complaints can be made to the College of Physicians and Surgeons but I have heard of only a few instances where disciplinary action was taken and they were related to extreme cases of illegal dispensing of narcotics or inappropriate sexual behaviour with patients.

Doctors are human and can make honest mistakes. But a doctor who truly listens to the patient and is compassionate, open and personable will usually be forgiven if errors are made. The five doctors I work with right now are exemplary in all these areas. Our patients and their families have great respect for them and often say they have never had physicians who really listened to them before. We have our share of difficult patients but they also receive fair and firm treatment.


I spent some time reviewing the physicians I know on RateMD and must say the ratings were right on. Most physicians have very favourable scores and I predicted the poorly rated ones accurately. Most bad reviews were for rude bedside manners and failure to listen to the patient. I looked up Dr. Judy Paley who blogs as Femail Doc and is on my blog roll. She had a five star rating which did not surprise me in the least. And one of her patients who appreciates her sense of humour said if Dr. Paley got tired of medicine she could be a stand up comic. If you read the comments about her here, it is easy to see what patients value in a physician.

Some physicians are asking their patients to sign contracts which prohibit them from posting any information online about the care they receive. This current article from Newsday.com discusses the legal implications of the contracts and suppression of the right to free speech.

Listen... respect... explain... be compassionate...

If every physician, lawyer, nurse, physiotherapist, teacher remembered those words, there would be little to fear on a personal blog or a website like RateMDs.com. And I am about to leave a few positive comments about my doctors, particularly my family physician, orthopedic surgeon and the doctors I work with.

P.S. You can also rate Dr. Gregory House, just for fun!

8 comments:

  1. Good one, Ruth. I always find it interesting to look up Docs.Judy deserved the nice mention.

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  2. There are some who, though might be really talented in their field, would not touch me due to their abhorrent personalities. It really DOES matter.

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  3. Interesting site. My GP had a top rating, which I think I agree with. My urologist didn't, but there were only two ratings and mine will give him a boost. His main problem is wait times, but I am very confident in his ability.

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  4. Thanks for this link. I didn't know there was such a site. Nice to have such a reference when one moves to a new area and doesn't know where to begin!

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  5. I will have to check that out..

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  6. Glad to see that my doc has an all "smiles" rating. I even had a visit with him today and we had few giggles about the website. But I agree with all the comments that were left about him. He is a friendly, caring, knowledgeable and always extremely behind in his appointments man. Sometimes you have to take a little bad to get something worth while.

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  7. Ruth,

    Very interesting site. I will be sure to look up the surgeon when it's time to have my knees replaced. I want to be sure I get a good one. Someone who does successful knee transplants.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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  8. Hi Ruth,
    How kind of you to mention me here. Thank you. I just read about this site--who knows where?--and was going to look at it. What I read that was particularly interesting was that some of my colleagues actually have patients sign an agreement that they WON'T rate the doc on online. Like it or not, medicine is business as well as service, and our customers have a right to share their opinions on the service they get from us!
    Judy

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