Doctor’s Inbox by Health Power™
By Valentine J. Burroughs, MD, MPH, Editor-In-Chief, Medical Practice Issues and Senior Medical Advisor, Health Power
Did you know?
Medical practices will be increasingly judged by online physician ratings.
Just as consumers turn to online information for purchases of household and personal items, they are increasingly interested in online information about a prospective doctor. This is not surprising given the importance placed in the choice of a primary care physician or specialist by patients and potential patients, and their family members and friends.
What is surprising is the digital divide between two basic groups of physicians:
– Those who have correctly anticipated and are participating in the presence and accuracy of their online data, and
– Those who will wonder as their patient populations fail to increase, or decrease very little now that Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, enrollment is expanding: “How did this happen”, and “When did this happen”?
The largest developing online presence is Physician Compare, which is a US Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website designed to inform consumers’ choices about the health care they receive through Medicare. Physician Compare allows consumers to find and choose physicians and other health care professionals enrolled in the Medicare program who take part in CMS quality program. By participating in quality programs, physicians are showing online their commitment to providing their patients with high quality care.
Physician Compare is just one of the many health care related opportunities – for both consumers and physicians – that is provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also called “Obamacare”. At present, the information on Physician Compare comes primarily from the Provider, Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS. The information on Physician Compare is also checked against Medicare claims data.
On Physician Compare, consumers can find:
- Addresses where the physician sees patients (potential and referred patients should always confirm the address when they make an appointment; since some physicians practice at more than one location),
- Medicare Assignment status
- Medical school education and residency information,
- Groups that the physician works with (individual profile), or individuals in the physician’s group (group profile),
- Hospital affiliation(s), and
- Whether the individual or group participates in select Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quality programs, it is important that physicians assure that their information on Physician Compare is accurate, so that their Group Practice or that of other health care professionals they work with is included and listed correctly. This can be done by physicians going to www. Medicare.gov/Physician Compare.gov to add, edit or correct their information via internet based PECOS. A series of steps to follow are given in detail for physician enrollment in PECOS, and for updating information in PECOS.
– Physicians owe it to themselves, their patients, and potential future patients to be sure that their online CMS Physician Compare information is easily accessible to the public. and is also available to them for marketing their practices, and for being sure they compare.
– Be sure to send me any comments you might have below related to this blog post. In doing so, you will also be sharing them with our other blog readers.
Health Power Doctor’s Inbox™ , a new Health Power feature, primarily provides current medical practice information for physicians to help keep them updated on key medical practice issues. However, some Inbox information, such as this, is also shared with non-physician members of the Health Power Network because we feel that it will also be useful for them.
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action= Power! ™Best wishes for your physical, mental and spiritual health