However you might “Brangelina” up the name — call it Zagthem or Angat — Zagat has met up with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to create a consumer-oriented guide to physicians.

The tool is now live and free to access for members of the Lumenos plan in Cincinnati and Dayton, as well as in California and Connecticut. By the end of 1Q08, the Zagat Health Survey tool will be accessible to Anthem’s enrolleess throughout Ohio.

The consumer-generated ratings will include scores on trust, communication, availability, and environment. So the Lumenos member will learn more about a prospective physician’s exam room manner, hours of operation and email accessibility, parking conditions. There will be room for patients to record comments about their experiences with a physician — but, as Anthem’s press release states, “not to reflect the quality of care received.”
Given Anthem’s national footprint, the longer-term impact of this project could fan out to Anthem’s 35 million members from west to east coast. Anthem’s state coverage includes California, through WellPoint; as well as Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding Kansas City), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (in New York City and several upstate counties), Ohio, Virginia (excluding Northern Virginia), and Wisconsin.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Since I mentioned Zagat’s entry into the consumer-directed health information space in this blog, Zagat Comes to Health Care, in October 2008, I received scores of questions about this venture. It’s captured both the imagination and concern of health care stakeholders — especially consumers and physicians. But without quality and pricing information — even stated through the consumer’s lens on value-for-money or personal return-on-investment — this should be considered strictly version 1. It should be noted that Lumenos offers other comparison tools for consumers. They would need to triangulate data from these tools to make decisions, making the process somewhat cumbersome. Still, it’s a friendly and helpful start in a sparse health information space.

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