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September 9, 2010

US Ranking Methods May Undervalue Some Physicians

Physician ranking programmes in the US that do not consider the patient's socioeconomic status and insurance coverage may undervalue the work of the physicians, a study has suggested. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital ranked the physicians based on the standard common quality

By cms admin

Physician ranking programmes in the US that do not consider the patient’s socioeconomic status and insurance coverage may undervalue the work of the physicians, a study has suggested.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital ranked the physicians based on the standard common quality measures and compared top-tier physicians and bottom-tier physicians.

They discovered that top-tier physicians were more likely to have older male patients with many health problems and frequent hospital visits, and were less likely to practice in community health centres.

However, low-tier physicians were more likely to have patients who were non-English speaking, minority, covered by Medicaid or uninsured, and lived in low-income neighbourhoods.

When the researchers adjusted the rankings based on the patient characteristics, about one-third of the physicians had a significant change in their rankings.

The research team evaluated data from 2003 through 2005 at nine Massachusetts General Hospital-affiliated practices and four community health centres, which included more than 125,000 adult patients and 162 primary care physicians.

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