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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.

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Another source of patient reviews

by jerry on May 27, 2011

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'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.

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We're looking for feedback!

by jerry on May 20, 2011

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.

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.

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Want patient reviews? We've found a bunch.

by jerry on May 11, 2011

How useful are patient reviews in determining whether a doctor is a good match for you? There's a surprising amount of controversy about this, with some doctors encouraging their patients to leave feedback and with others asking their patients to sign a form agreeing to not post patient reviews. We ourselves don't know how much weight patient reviews should be given. We do know, however, that the consumers that we've talked to have repeatedly asked for patient reviews, often as the most important factor in their decision.

How useful are patient reviews in determining whether a doctor is a good match for you? There's a surprising amount of controversy about this, with some doctors encouraging their patients to leave feedback and with others asking their patients to sign a form agreeing to not post patient reviews. We ourselves don't know how much weight patient reviews should be given. We do know, however, that the consumers that we've talked to have repeatedly asked for patient reviews, often as the most important factor in their decision.

Our philosophy has been to aggregate whatever information is publicly available and to allow users to filter by the attributes that are important to them. That is, we want to provide a useful tool through which users can express their preferences.

So, looking for patient reviews? We've found over 500,000 of them. And yes, you can filter by average rating and to some extent, by the number of reviews.

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Bringing information together

by jerry on May 04, 2011

Different people have different ideas for what differentiates quality doctors from the rest. Patients, for example, often look at other patient reviews. Some doctors believe that the single best predictor of quality is where a doctor trained for residency. Other clinicians will consider how well-respected a doctor is in the research community. Measuring quality in health care is indeed a difficult problem, as evidenced by the fact that there are entire organizations dedicated to the idea of developing industry standards.

Different people have different ideas for what differentiates quality doctors from the rest. Patients, for example, often look at other patient reviews. Some doctors believe that the single best predictor of quality is where a doctor trained for residency. Other clinicians will consider how well-respected a doctor is in the research community. Measuring quality in health care is indeed a difficult problem, as evidenced by the fact that there are entire organizations dedicated to the idea of developing industry standards.

One thing that people agree on, however, is that a board action is a reason for further investigation. Board actions are issued by the medical board that licenses the doctor for a specific state. For example, one doctor claimed to have satisfied the minimum requirement of continuing medical education when he was unable to furnish evidence of it. Another doctor was reprimanded for gross negligence and unprofessional conduct (among other things). Obviously, some board actions are more serious than others and we don't try to make judgments in terms of which ones can be safely overlooked and which ones should eliminate a provider from consideration. We do, however, bring information together from multiple sources so that you don't have to search each database yourself. Here's one provider who is licensed in 26 states (a clean record in each) -- whew! That would be a lot of databases to search.

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Not sure what kind of doctor to look for?

by jerry on April 28, 2011

Many times, we aren't either. To help with this problem, we've built a big list of conditions and procedures, and a corresponding list of which specialties treat those conditions or perform those procedures. We built the list by observing commonly listed professional interests for each specialty. There are some obvious ones, like knowing that endocrinologists treat diabetes, and that ophthalmologists perform LASIK surgeries. But, did you know that pediatric endocrinologists treat Turner Syndrome, a genetic disorder? We didn't either.

Many times, we aren't either. To help with this problem, we've built a big list of conditions and procedures, and a corresponding list of which specialties treat those conditions or perform those procedures. We built the list by observing commonly listed professional interests for each specialty. There are some obvious ones, like knowing that endocrinologists treat diabetes, and that ophthalmologists perform LASIK surgeries. But, did you know that pediatric endocrinologists treat Turner Syndrome, a genetic disorder? We didn't either.

So, go ahead and give the new functionality a try. Check out the Browse by condition or procedure form in the lower right corner of the home page.

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