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CMS Under the Gun to Launch Physician Compare Site

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, October 28, 2010

Mendoza advised the federal planners to make sure they do user testing to make sure the site can engage consumers.

And what if the doctors don't like what gets posted? Will they have the right to review the data with sufficient time to appeal or prevent it from going up? Will visitors to the site know see an alert that the provider has questioned the data or has filed an appeal?

Rohack told me on the phone that the doctors aren't afraid of being graded. "The reason we became doctors was because we got good grades," he says. "And we want to have valid reliable data that patients can use to select their physicians and we believe that accurate reliable data is important for quality improvement studies.

"But if someone is going to use current methodology, it may give patients misleading information."

I understand his view. But as many of the Town Hall speakers pointed out, the perfect should not be the enemy of the good. Once the site is operating, problems can be identified and worked out. They certainly have been for HospitalCompare, a dynamic process ongoing as we speak.

PhysicianCompare.hhs.gov is going to happen because it's now legally required.  I hope that providers, consumers and risk adjusters can make it all work well.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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