Restaurant ratings firm Zagat, WellPoint rate doctors

Seeing a doctor isn't quite the same as eating dinner, but that hasn't deterred restaurant ratings firm Zagat Survey from getting into the physician ratings business. Working with WellPoint, Zagat will rate physicians on a 30-point scale which evaluates their trustworthiness, communication skills, availability and medical office environment. WellPoint plans to make the data available to one million members by March 2008, and roll the ratings out to all of its 35 million members in time. To weed out garbage data, ratings won't be posted until a physician has been rated by 10 respondents.

Working with Zagat may help WellPoint sidestep criticisms leveled at other health plans engaged in physician ratings. Ratings systems based on claims data or other health plan data have come under intense scrutiny, including an investigation by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Regulators and doctors have suggested that such ratings are based largely on doctors' prices.

To learn more about the program:
- read this USA TODAY article

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