Through the “Find a Provider” application on the Baystate Health website, patients looking for a provider can now see online ratings and patient comments for some providers.
“We want to lead the trend in reviews of providers, not follow along and see comments on, for instance, Yelp, that may or may not be based on a direct experience,” explains Dr. Evan Benjamin, Baystate Health’s senior vice president for Quality & Population Health and chief quality officer. “It’s an opportunity for patients to provide positive feedback and for our providers to hear how much they’re appreciated.”
The ratings and comments are also helpful for patients who are looking to learn more about providers they are considering. In the same way that people use comments and ratings on Trip Advisor to decide where to travel, consumers increasingly use social sites to select health care providers.
Benjamin noted that of 530 local consumers surveyed, 34% said they often/always Googled a provider prior to a new visit, 62% would find patient reviews of Baystate Medical Practice providers “very helpful,” and 65% are more likely to make an appointment with a provider with online reviews.
Leading the Trend
Dr. Tara Lagu, a research scientist in Baystate Health’s Center for Quality of Care Research, has established a national reputation for her research in the area of online patient ratings of physicians. She has found that while the public craves information, most physician review websites are lacking, containing too much advertising and too few reviews.
“When it comes to quality, the more open and honest conversations we have about the care we provide, the more we learn and improve,” says Benjamin. “Online ratings and comments are a transparent way to have a ‘conversation’ with patients that will help us provide a higher quality of care.”
How It Works
Star ratings and comments come from patients who have had an outpatient visit with a Baystate Medical Practice (BMP) provider, and who completed a telephone survey. Patients are asked during their survey if they are ok with having their comments shared anonymously.
In order to provide a reliable sampling, reviews are only posted once the provider has at least 30. Both positive and negative reviews are posted, excluding comments that are inappropriate, profane, or slanderous.