'Best' collaboration aims to rank docs

The melding of publishing/ratings giant U.S. News & World Report with physician networking interface Doximity is being hailed as a collaboration fit for 170,000 (and counting) physicians and the patient-consumer market — in far more ways than just accessibility.

According to an announcement of the partnership released on June 4 by U.S. News, one fruit of the union involves “a free online directory of more than 700,000 practicing U.S. physicians” which will ultimately service “consumers with data and tools to help guide them in selecting medical providers.”

And potential patients aren’t the only ones allowed a bite of that apple — Doximity’s CEO Jeff Tangney said that physicians too will have plenty to savor.

“For our physician members, it means more recognition/visibility,” Tangney told PhysBizTech. “When you Google a physician today, you'll usually get random patient reviews with little or no mention of their true bona fides — their training, publications, awards, affiliations and insurance coverage. Doximity provides a way to set the record straight — a clean, easy, objective format for physicians to publicly present their clinical expertise and interests. With U.S. News, we have amplified our visibility many fold.”

Over the course of the next few months, aspects of physician profiles from Doximity will begin to appear on the U.S. News site, free of charge to members, Tangey explained. What’s more, as a means to guarantee continued user agency, doctor members will maintain authorizing power “over which portions of their profile to display publicly.”

As a result, patients receive “a quick, objective resource to find physicians” and “a comprehensive profile of their physician's credentials, affiliations, and interests,” Tangey said.   

From the U.S. News perspective, the partnership and new doctor ranking capabilities to be deployed represent a furthering of consumer guidance in the realm of healthcare.

“Consumer choice is the sleeping dragon in healthcare, and it's waking up,” said Ben Harder, U.S. News general manager, Health & Science. “U.S. News takes very seriously its role in helping consumers make key choices, and we're glad to be in a growth industry. We're excited to be working with Doximity to make our guidance as deeply informed as possible.”

Harder likened this latest endeavor to U.S. News’ tried-and-true favorites, like Best Hospitals and Best Medical Schools, in its pared down, mostly individualized scope.

“With our Best Hospitals rankings, we have long focused on evaluating each hospital separately rather than evaluating hospital brands or health systems; that's because quality can vary within a system,” he said. “By the same token, in developing the U.S. News approach to evaluating doctors, we expect to focus on individual providers rather than the practices they belong to. That said, there are some specialties where team care is the norm, and in those situations, the skill of the doctors [and other providers] whom an index doctor works with may affect our view of the index doctor.”

Access to Doximity-enhanced profiles will begin to appear here on the U.S. News site in the coming months.