As out-of-pocket costs for health care rise, consumers are motivated to manage their own care and insurers are providing them tools to make the job easier. The latest innovation, which is available exclusively to WellPoint and North Carolina Blues plan members, is a consumer rating system from Zagat that helps people shop for doctors.
This interesting new development was recently the subject of a detailed intelligence briefing in April 6, 2009 issue of The Dark Report. The Zagat Health Survey is designed to be both doctor friendly and easy for patients to use. It does not address physician quality. Rather, it offers a snapshot of individual physicians-based on criteria that impact the consumer experience. Clinical laboratory managers and pathologists will eventually need to respond to this trend. That’s because, as it becomes more common for consumers to rate providers, health plans will begin asking their beneficiaries to rate the service they received from medical laboratory test providers.
Patients are asked to rate a physician on four criteria, using a scale of 0 to 3, with 3 being excellent. Zagat then averages consumer scores for a physician and multiplies by 10 to create the familiar Zagat 0-30 number ratings. Reviewers are also asked if they would recommend the doctor to other plan members.