Fight over control of physician ratings will continue

As I noted in my 2007 wrap-up, it seems clear that report cards and sites rating individual physicians are here to stay. Now, as we roll into 2008, the question is who will control these ratings. As we've outlined in the past, independent Web publishers, insurance companies, search engines and other intermediaries have gone into the business of collecting and disseminating physician ratings. But it's still not clear who consumers will trust.

Over the next year, expect to see insurers, third-party ratings groups, publishers and other players fight for credibility on this front. Each have their own reasons to be seen as the purveyor of critical physician information, but as I see it, they're not all going to be seen as appropriate and credible sources by consumers.  Look for physician ratings organizations (both within and outside of health plans) to fight hard for that credibility. After all, she who controls physician ratings can influence patient flow, and indirectly, select for what types of medicine they believe should be practiced. And there's few more powerful positions in the industry than that.