U.S. News & World Report

09 Mar: How valuable are online physician ratings systems?

Earlier this year, I was privileged to participate in a health blogger summit convened by Consumer Reports at its New York headquarters. One of the topics discussed at the event — in fact, the one that generated the most controversy — was online health ratings systems. Many in attendance — including doctors and consumer advocates — were supportive of online ratings, particularly in helping patients find a doctor. But others, most notably Avery Comarow, editor of “America’s Best Hospitals” for U.S. News & World Report, dismissed Web ratings as dangerous popularity contests. Avery made the point that online physician ratings were biased toward negative reviews and had little objective medical basis. I agree with Avery that doctor ratings sites are…