By Anne Mostue
June 1, 2012
BOSTON — Adding to its car, refrigerator and laptop reviews, Consumer Reports is now evaluating groups of primary care doctors. And it's starting with Massachusetts.
Consumer Reports subscribers in Massachusetts will soon receive an insert in their monthly magazine rating 500 adult, family and pediatric group practices in the state. Only practices with three or more physicians are evaluated, and doctors' individual names are left out.
Consumer Reports teamed up with Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, which has been publishing similar data based on patient surveys since 2006, according to Partners' director Barbra Rabson.
> > SEARCH: for your doctor in the rankings
"We've been measuring for quite a number of years and we've fed the data back to our physicians. We've also put the data on our website but we've always been disappointed in the traffic. We realize we'll never be a household name," she said.
More than 60,000 patients were asked questions ranging from the length of time they waited for test results to the friendliness of their doctor and office staff.
John Santa is a former doctor and now director of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.
"This is a first for us," he said. "We have worked with the Society of Thoracic Surgeons to publish ratings of heart surgeons nationally but we've never published primary care doctor ratings and we've never focused on one region and it's another reason why we're very interested to hear what our Massachusetts subscribers think."
Soon, Consumer Reports will publish its findings on primary care practices in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The publication says it expects and welcomes feedback from subscribers and, of course, doctors.
> > DOWNLOAD: the ratings data from MHQP (pdf)