Ever try to choose a doctor? it is really hard - there is very little meaningful information about why one doctor is better than another. Most of the online doctor reviews are hard to trust and usually either have really positive or really negative feedback, but often there is little real meat in the reviews.....more comments about how clean their office is or how it was difficult to get an appointment, etc. All doctors are not the same. Some are great. Some are not. But how can you make a good decision?
The answer is....Data. Physician Performance Transparency - or using data to understand the performance of physicians. Factual data is now available about physicians and it can really help in narrowing down your choices to the most qualified, experienced, and appropriate doctors.
For example, Let's say you want to see an orthopedic specialist because your knee is hurting from too much running. Using your insurance provider's site, you get 820 orthopedic doctors within a 20 mile radius. But which ones specialize in knees?
First, using data, you can tell you exactly how many knees a doctor has treated over the past 18 months. Not that volume means quality, but you certainly don't want to go to the doctor that has done zero knees.
Next, you can use data to determine why kinds of procedures a doctor has done with knees - is he/she an ACL repair expert? Or a knee replacement specialist? Or one that just treats knees with injections, rather than surgery?
Finally, you can compare doctors to other doctors, based on quantity, outcomes, and cost. With data, you can truly make a more information and educated decision about which doctor is best for you. And of course, you can also ask friends and family for their opinions, once you have narrowed down the list the your best choices.
The days of picking doctors blindly and hoping they are good are gone. We now have the data to make real informed decisions. And your health and your family's health is just too important to risk on random doctor choices.
David Norris is a public speaker, expert and thought leader in the areas of technology, advertising & branding, healthcare, big data, international business, and entrepreneurism.