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?
We've been getting a number of inquiries from providers about how to update their profile. Our response sounds very embarrassing, but it's true: we'd love for providers to claim their profiles and be able to update them, but we haven't built that functionality yet.
Back when we started this venture, we didn't want to just put out a thin directory that had minimal information. So we started by working on the difficult problem of helping people search across a variety of sources and automatically building composite profiles. We thought that maybe it would take us six months or a year to do this; that was two years ago. It turns out that this approach presents many time-consuming problems. For example, some government databases will misspell some provider names. In addition to refining the algorithms, we've added all sorts of other information such as whether a provider has a clean record and how the provider has been rated by patients. Once we clear off a number of refinements to our matching algorithms, we plan on working on the UI piece to allow providers to claim and update their profiles for free.
So what can you do if you register an account right now? Currently, you can do two things: leave a review for a provider that you like (or don't like) and join the community discussion to give us feedback or to ask others what they think. If you register, you should also get a notification e-mail when certain features roll out.
As we mentioned earlier, one thing that we've heard repeatedly from patients is that they like to have access to reviews from other people. We've been aggregating patient reviews from a variety of sources, but now you can register an account and leave your very own DocSpot review.
After looking at a variety of review formats, we settled on allowing users to rate their providers on three dimensions (office and staff, bedside manner, and punctuality) and to leave an overall recommendation score. In addition, the user is encouraged to leave a textual comment to elaborate on the numeric ratings. You can see a DocSpot review here.
In addition, users can ask for their reviews to be considered a "documented encounter" by uploading some evidence of the visit (such as an explanation-of-benefits form or a receipt). Documented encounters give other users a much higher level of confidence that the encounter actually took place.
As always, we're looking for feedback. If you have any ideas on how to improve the process, please let us know!
While we continue to work away at implementing new features and increasing the accuracy of our aggregation process, a few of us got sidetracked with the flu. Not coming down with the flu (fortunately), but rather CDC's Flu App Challenge.
It started out as a simple data visualization exercise, but pretty quickly grew into a more time-consuming project. At the end of it all, it's a fun resource about the flu, incorporating some of CDC's published resources. To kick off the whole campaign, there's a hilarious quiz.
We'd really appreciate it if you would vote for us -- it could mean extra pizza money for us.
We're always on the lookout for additional sources of information to bring together so that you can get a more complete picture of potential providers. To that end, we're pleased to announce that you can now see Yelp! reviews alongside reviews from other sources. As always, there's a link for you to see more about that provider at the original source.
As an example, here's a dermatologist. And here's an internist.
If you have ideas for other sources of data to integrate, please let us know.
We've been working on a free online service to help people find doctors for quite a while now. Finding data sources and getting it into a form that is useful and searchable has taken up most of the development time. When we started, we worked primarily with information from provider directories, which tend to list the most detailed information (e.g. pictures, clinical interests, treatment philospohy). We then started including government databases, which list information like disciplinary actions. More recently, we started to include reviews. Along the way, we've had to spend some time on the user interface. Our next major milestone is to allow people to claim profiles and add or update relevant information.
Do you have any ideas of features to add or other data sources to include? If so, please let us know! You can either send us information via the feedback form, or you can register an account and post something on the discussion board. We'd appreciate the feedback.