UPMC to post doctor ratings online

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has posted ratings of its doctors online related to a provider's ability to explain things in an understandable way, his or her listening skills and demonstration of respect for the patient, and whether the patient would recommend the provider to family and friends.

Increasingly, patients are researching online to find doctors and medical information, checking with "Dr. Google" before calling a physician. In an effort to share more and better information with these savvy and engaged consumers, UPMC is the first health care provider in Pennsylvania to publicly share patient satisfaction ratings and comments about its doctors and advanced practice providers.

According to UPMC's press release, a star rating appears by a provider's name, with five stars being the top score. To ensure that the scores are reliable, the ratings are available only for providers who have received a minimum of 30 patient surveys over 18 months. UPMC, like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, uses star ratings to make the data more user-friendly for consumers.

Outside vendor Press Ganey Associates Inc., a national leader in providing patient satisfaction data, collects the surveys. The provider ratings used at UPMC are based only on survey questions that relate to a provider's performance vs. those about other staff in the practice or the office environment. The six questions used in computing scores cover the provider's ability to explain things in an understandable way, his or her listening skills and demonstration of respect for the patient, and whether the patient would recommend the provider to family and friends.