Love the doctor’s exam room manner, hate the wait in the anteroom? Know the customer experience before you visit your doctor once the first round of Zagat’s ratings for WellPoint physicians get published in March 2008.

Zagat is a well-known brand for reporting consumers’ reviews of restaurants, hotels, and spas. The famous report card publisher now comes to health care, specifically to WellPoint, the largest member of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Instead of ratings on decor, food, service and pricing, Zagat will review WellPoint physicians on availability, communication, trust and office environment.

Like the Zagat guides on hospitality, the WellPoint physician reports will include anecdotal quotes from patients. And just like the city-based series of reports for foodies and travelers, all data in the Zagat’s WellPoint reviews will be consumer-generated.

Based on the fact that the data will be based only on patient-generated surveys, Zagat says that their reports will not include information about “medical expertise” (would that mean quality and outcomes?) or malpractice settlements.
WellPoint covers 34 million Americans in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Health Populi’s Health Points:
Thumbs-up on the first phase of the Zagat-WellPoint concept. However, what consumers really want to know about is price and outcomes. This project is a good start with a trusted consumer brand. In v.2.0, more robust data on pricing and “performance” (specifically, medical mistakes and quality measurements) can and should be integrated in the reporting system.