At DocSpot, our mission is to connect people with the right health care by helping them navigate publicly available information. We believe the first step of that mission is to help connect people with an appropriate medical provider, and we look forward to helping people navigate other aspects of their care as the opportunities arise. We are just at the start of that mission, so we hope you will come back often to see how things are developing.
An underlying philosophy of our work is that right care means different things to different people. We also recognize that doctors are multidimensional people. So, instead of trying to determine which doctors are "better" than others, we offer a variety of filter options that individuals can apply to more quickly discover providers that fit their needs.Got questions?
Here's an interesting article about a patient who got three different recommended treatments from three different doctors. Two of the three doctors recommended destroying the thyroid gland, condemning the patient to a lifelong regimen of iodine pills. The third doctor's successful recommendation treated the patient's condition without the lifelong consequences.
What accounts for the differences in the doctors' prescribed treatments? Perhaps more importantly, what pieces of data could be used to predict these differences? After all, I would clearly prefer the third doctor myself. But how could I find such a doctor without having the visit all three? Does anyone know? Even if we were to simplify the problem to be able to see which doctors are more likely to prescribe medication versus lifestyle changes (which would be very useful to prospective patients), what data could consumers look at to simplify their search? If you have any ideas, let us know.
Here's an interesting article about people leaving fake reviews, or rather, the entire industry dedicated to online review manipulation. Obviously, online reviews are not specific to health care, and neither are the issues that plague it.
To be clear, online reviews by other patients almost always comes up as an important issue. We don't deny that others' perspectives are important; it's just that in this age where glowing reviews can be bought for $5, it's probably a good idea to look at the volume of reviews (a couple reviews probably doesn't mean too much) and other pieces of information about a provider (e.g. where the provider trained). We try to address both by connecting users to information from multiple sources. Have other ideas on how to help patients select a provider? Let us know.
Earlier, I posted a note on the issues of privacy versus transparency. Obviously, others are wrestling through the same issues as well; for example, this New York Times article highlights the federal government's decision to make physician discipline and malpractice actions information less available. This is obviously a step in the wrong direction for those of us who want patients to make informed decisions.
A history of disciplinary and malpractice actions is medically relevant. To say that doctors' privacy trumps patient empowerment would be akin to saying that companies should have a right to redact their profiles from sites like Better Business Bureau. Even if people were to successfully argue that a corporation is meaningfully different as a service provider than an individual, the government should still at least make disciplinary and malpractice actions available at the company (or practice) level.
What puzzles me is that an administration that campaigned on the promise of transparency threatened a reporter with civil fines for trying to uncover a story. Instead of working to make information more readily available, the government is "reviewing the public use file and may change it to further assure confidentiality." Really? What happened to patients' interests?
This is a quick note for those who are planning on attending this year's Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco: I'll be presenting a short demonstration of our Clinician Finder product in the Provider Search for Consumers panel on Monday (the full agenda is here).
If you'd like to meet up, let me know via the Contact form.