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VUMC online provider rating system now live

Jul. 28, 2016, 9:37 AM

Patient ratings of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) health care providers are now live and viewable by the public on the Medical Center website.

The ratings went public on July 1 after more than a year of planning, informing and receiving suggestions from faculty on the best way the ratings could work, and a test period of several months. During this test period, individual data and comments were open to individual providers, so they could see how the system works.Rating Scale iStock

The move to share provider patient satisfaction scores and comments publicly is overseen by Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., Chief Patient Experience Officer for VUMC.

“Faculty reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” Sternberg said.

The Medical Center’s patient satisfaction survey vendor is Press Ganey, which has put in place similar public ratings and comments programs at The Cleveland Clinic, Wake Forest and the University of Utah.

“The public increasingly looks to online reviews to help them make good buying decisions,” said Jill Austin, Chief Marketing Officer of VUMC. “In fact, 90 percent of consumers say they trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. By being open and transparent about the feedback we have received from our patients, we can build trust and help others make good decisions about their health care.”

The ratings are provided in the familiar “five star” format, in which areas such as friendliness, clarity of explanations and level of confidence in the provider are ranked from one (“very poor”) to five (“very good”). These scores are then averaged and presented as a “star” ranking as part of each provider’s profile on the Medical Center website.

A minimum of 30 ratings are required before a provider’s rating will be public, since, Press Ganey says, it takes that many to get a meaningful sample from patients.

Also, while comments will not be removed because they are negative — transparency is needed for the ratings and comments to be useful — any comment that reveals protected health information, contains abusive language or is not germane to the provider will not be posted.
“Although it can be difficult to have a negative comment posted publicly, our faculty recognize this is part of providing care in the 21st century,” Sternberg said.

Studies also indicate that when provider scores and patient comments are publicly posted, provider scores tend to get better over time. Providers who wish to improve patient relation skills will be provided tools to do so by Press Ganey.

Sternberg said he is pleased at how the public ratings and comments system is working so far.
“Fortunately, the vast majority of comments are enthusiastic and reflect the high esteem in which our clinicians are held in our community,” he said.

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