Kevin Pho, MD, has a thoughtful article in USA Today about online ratings of doctors. Here are a few excerpts:
There are some good reasons consumers should be wary of the information they find online about doctors.
Most publicly available information on individual physicians — such as disciplinary actions, the number of malpractice payments, or years of experience — had little correlation with whether they adhered to the recommended medical guidelines. In other words, there's no easy way to research how well a doctor manages conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. That kind of relevant performance data are hidden from the public.
Objective performance data, such as how often doctors appropriately screen patients for cancer, or how many of their patients meet blood pressure or cholesterol targets, are often not revealed. They need to be made publicly available.