NotOnly Dev founder Fred Trotter has done something incredible. He convinced the government to release the referral patterns for every single doctor in the U.S. who bills Medicare (which, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, was 98% of all doctors in 2009). Now, he wants to overlay this referral data with doctor credentials to understand whether these referrals are a good indicator of doctor quality. Support Fred Trotter’s Medstartr project here.
What does doctor referral data tell us?
Medicine is both an art and a science. Therefore, it is very hard to figure out how good doctors are at practicing medicine. Websites like vitals.com and healthgrades.com offer ratings from patients based on their experiences. However, these patients as a whole lack medical expertise which makes the ratings at best a good estimate of doctors’ bedside manners, not their ability to heal.
Who, then, is equipped with the medical knowledge to know which doctors are good? Other doctors seem a logical choice. One way to gauge a doctor’s ability is by the number of referrals he/she gets from other doctors. Those doctors who get a lot of referrals from a lot of different doctors should be better than those who don’t.
Why does it matter?
If doctor referral patterns are a good gauge for doctor quality, this information can be used in lots of different ways:
- Patients can better choose which doctors to see. This alone saves lives and increases the quality of healthcare dramatically.
- Hospitals or other organizations can use this data to determine which doctors to affiliate with. Double the effect above.
- Companies that target doctors can see who the influencers are in each specialty and learn who to sell to first.
This data, used properly, could reward high quality doctors and drive low quality doctors out of business.
Fingers crossed you never need a doctor to save your life. But in case you do, you want to know which doctor to count on.
Invest $100 to help Fred develop this data set here. If you want to revolutionize healthcare, invest more. (And as a bonus, for $100+ you will get access to the data set for 6 months before it goes public.) Your future self will thank you.
Who is Fred Trotter?
Fred Trotter is a rock star in the world of health tech. He is a recognized expert in Free and Open Source medical software and security systems. He helped build the first Open Source Health Information Exchange in Houston and consulted with the federal government about the direct project in the recently released Stage 2 Meaningful Use guidelines. He is co-author of the book Hacking Healthcare.
What is Medstartr?