Here is a piece that I wrote originally for publication on LinkedIn (but you can read it without an account, I believe).
It's not strictly “Lean” related, but I think it does speak to questions about the changing way customers (patients) will choose value (cost or quality in healthcare). As real quality and cost data becomes available to the public and patients can share their experiences without filters, will these lists go away?
The full text can also be found below the image.
Every major city has publications that publish an annual “Best of” list, which includes everything from pizza parlors to physicians. A cynic might say these “best physicians” lists are, at best, a popularity contest for well-known doctors.
San Antonio, my new home, has a publication with an issue titled “Doctors: Best of 2013” issue. The fine print is unintentionally hilarious:
It reads, in part:
“S.A. Doctors: Best of 2013 is the name of our publication, not a title or moniker conferred upon individual physicians.”
The fine print continues, getting finer, with no apparent sense of irony or shame:
“No representation is made that the quality of services provided by the physicians listed will be greater than that of other licensed physicians.”
Well, of course, since these aren't the “best doctors,” as the magazine points out in its “DOCTORS: BEST OF 2013” issue. Yet, the cover clearly implies they are the “best doctors” listed inside (see the 2021 cover for a more recent example).
So why are these lists and issues published??
Apparently, the old advice of “follow the money” is still helpful.
Issues like this are full of ads from physicians that trumpet they are one of the “best doctors” (yet again) in the city. Apparently, they didn't read the fine print. This issue must be a big money maker for the publication.
Oh, and this doctor isn't necessarily a “Best Doctor” (who isn't necessarily one of the best doctors anyway, per the fine print), but she has merely been nominated. I'd like to know if any doctors in town were NOT nominated.
It's sad that patients have silly lists like this, instead of real data about quality and outcomes, to use when choosing physicians, surgeons, or hospitals.
Is this the best form of marketing the physicians have? Are silly lists like this holding back healthcare quality improvement, or are they just a distraction and a waste of marketing dollars?
Note: this local publication is not affiliated with the BestDoctors.com lists or methodology.
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