Duke Health Launches Star Rating for Doctors

March 25, 2016
By: Sarah Avery , Duke Health News

Patients and consumers now have the ability to see how most Duke Health providers score on a new five-star rating scale that is part of a physician’s public profile at dukehealth.org.

Star ratings for each health care provider, along with verbatim patient comments, are based on feedback to a national, standardized survey known as the Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG CAHPS), which is provided to patients following an office or other outpatient visit.

Additionally, Duke is launching an “Open Notes” feature that enables patients to gain secure and protected online access to the notes their doctor has logged on their individual electronic health record. This expands the information the patient has about the clinical visit and care provided.

Both the rating system and “Open Notes” put Duke University Health System and Clinics among the nation’s leaders in moving toward greater transparency of information for those they serve.

“Patients are seeking more information to make the best decisions about which doctors they want to see or might be referred to,” said Thomas Owens, MD, vice president for medical affairs of Duke University Health System. “One of our goals in sharing our star rating system and patient comments is to help meet this need with more detail about our Duke physicians.”

Owens said data for the new star ratings have been collected for the past three years since the introduction of the CG CAHPS survey, which asks patients to report and comment on their experiences with primary or specialty care providers in office settings.

The Duke star ratings are based on a compilation of patient surveys provided over a 12-month period. For a rating to be published, physicians must have at least 30 completed patient surveys to accrue a meaningful summary of patient experiences. Ratings will be updated quarterly.

“Sharing this information publicly is a natural progression of our efforts to be more transparent and to focus on providing the best possible care,” said David Attarian, M.D., chief medical officer for the Private Diagnostic Clinic, Duke’s multi-specialty faculty practice.

Other public and independent online sites that currently include physician ratings are often limited to just a handful of reviews and have no assurance that the reviews are even being provided by patients. By linking this star rating system to the CG CAHPS survey results, the Duke ratings reflect a critical mass of reviews that are verified as coming from patients.

Patient comments -- positive or negative -- will be posted without edits. However, responses that contain inappropriate personal comments or attacks, or inadvertently include and disclose protected patient information will not be posted.

In an additional effort to enhance transparency for patients, the “Open Notes” feature will be provided to patients through Duke MyChart as part of the electronic health record system. Duke MyChart also provides patients with secured online test results, allows for online communication with their providers, and in some cases allows patients to make appointments with physicians online.

“We’ve entered a new era in healthcare in that patients and prospective patients are now consumers of healthcare services the same way they are consumers of other goods and services,” Attarian said. “They want more information so that they can derive value from their health care and these initiatives are a great way to provide additional information for patients at Duke.”