Consumer Reports to Rate PCPs Nationwide

Consumer Reports has begun to rate primary care physician (PCP) practices in Massachusetts as a first step to rating physician practices nationwide, amednews.com reports.

Subscribers to the magazine in Massachusetts received a 24-page insert with their July issue, which reports on 329 adult medicine group practices and 158 pediatric practices. All of the rated practices had three or more physicians. The reports were a collaborative effort between Consumer Reports and the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP), supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation is funding similar efforts in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where physician ratings are expected to appear in the magazine within the next year.

The ratings were compiled from MHQP surveys of 64,095 Massachusetts residents, which questioned patients about six areas:

1. Communication

2. Coordination of care

3. how well physicians get to know patients

4. The patient’s experience with office staff

5. Whether the physician advised the patient on staying healthy

6. Pediatric care

Most practices earned top ratings in multiple measures. Patients’ biggest complaints were about long wait times and the inability to get after-hours advice about immediate health concerns.

John Santa, MD, MPH, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center said the reports are a first effort, and will be a learning tool for the magazine as it looks toward rating physicians in other states.

While offering his support for Consumer Reports’ efforts, Massachusetts Medical Society President Richard V. Aghababian, MD, said, “Rating appliances and vehicles is different than rating an interaction between a team of physicians, patients and family. You can’t compare personal interactions with machines.”

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