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Consumers rate the docs

May 19, 2008|Shari Roan | Times Staff Writer

Websites that rate and review doctors, and sometimes other health professionals, have sprung up in recent years as patients have extended the consumer-empowerment movement into the healthcare field. Here's a sampling:

* www.RateMDs.com

This free site for consumers was launched in 2004 by the founder of RateMyProfessors .com. It provides a 1-to-5 rating scale in four areas: staff, punctuality, helpfulness and knowledge. Consumers can add anonymous comments and join a member forum to chat about a doctor.

* www.DrScore.com

Founded in 2005 by a doctor, the site allows consumers to rate doctors anonymously using a 1-to-10 numerical scale. Only aggregate ratings are posted. Safeguards make it impossible for patients to skew results by repeatedly rating a doctor. Doctors can subscribe to more detailed reports that analyze the data provided by consumers.

* www.Healthgrades.com

Healthgrades began as a pay-based service, but about 90% of information on doctors is now free, including doctors' education, training, which insurance plans they accept, group practice information and aggregate numerical patient satisfaction ratings. The site does not post anonymous consumer comments. Some physician profiles include videos of the doctors explaining their approach to healthcare. Consumers can order a physician quality report, which includes additional information such as board certification, malpractice judgments and fee information for $29.95.

* www.vitals.com

A free service for consumers that provides three types of information on doctors: consumer ratings and comments, credentials and experience, and doctor-peer reviews. Doctors can contribute information on themselves to the site. The site also helps consumers select an appropriate doctor for their specific symptoms or condition.

* www.nursesrecommenddoctors.com

A free service for consumers that enlists nurses to provide anonymous ratings and reviews of doctors they work with or who have cared for them or family members. Nurses rate doctors using criteria such as communication and rapport, competence and experience, and whether the doctor treats his or her staff with care and respect. The site lets patients and doctors provide input as well.

* www.angieslist.com

A membership-based service that allows consumers who join to rank and review various service providers, from gardeners to doctors, they have hired in their local areas. Service providers are ranked with a letter grade from A to F on price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality and professionalism. Dues for consumers are $5.25 per month.

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shari.roan@latimes.com

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