Online Physician Ratings: Praised-or panned-on Angie's list

May 16, 2008

Angie's List, a website where visitors can read--and write--reviews about service providers, is adding healthcare practitioners to the mix of businesses it holds up to scrutiny.

Angie's List ( http://www.angieslist.com), a website where visitors can read-and write-reviews about plumbers, housepainters, and other service providers, is adding healthcare practitioners to the mix of businesses it holds up to scrutiny. The consumer review service is the latest example of how physicians find themselves rated online, whether it's under the auspices of a health insurer or specialized forums such as DoctorsScorecard.com, HealthGrades, and Revolution Health. Angie's List, which has 600,000 members in 124 cities, costs $4.50 per month or $35.25 annually, plus a $10 sign-up fee.

Besides rating doctors on price, quality, and professionalism, members answer questions about staff courtesy, office cleanliness, effectiveness of treatment, and more. Some physicians question the validity of being rated online by patients, and the difficulty of gauging the accuracy of the ratings. Others view doctors' inclusion on Angie's List as a wake-up call to the profession to improve customer service.

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