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Dawn Lacallade: Online Doctor Ratings Are Bad for Healthcare


"They’re actually, in my opinion, driving people from the best doctors to the nicest doctors. Is there value in that?"

In any commercial experience, customer service is typically what sticks with a person. A doctor’s visit, however, isn’t just “any commercial experience,” Liveworld’s Dawn Lacallade said. She argued that the Yelp-ifying of medicine is a negative for the industry as a whole.

“We're not talking about the negative effect of the ability for people to interact online…a great example is doctor ratings,” she said in an interview at Digital Pharma East. “What do doctor ratings rate? Bedside manner. They don't rate the doctor’s ability to treat your condition. They don't rate outcomes. They don’t rate anything about how they practice medicine. They rate whether they're nice.”

In Lacallade’s experience, those off-base doctor ratings are bad for healthcare and patients. “They’re actually, in my opinion, driving people from the best doctors to the nicest doctors. Is there value in that?”

The problem is, there isn’t a great way for people to gauge and quantify a physician’s provided outcomes. That’s a difficulty for major institutions trying to develop best practices, let alone for average people trying to assess their experience, she said.

While much of her interview focused on the positives that social media and online communities can provide in terms of patient support and information, she also pointed to the downside of bad information and “fake news” spreading through patient groups.

“There's a big negative component of social media,” Lacallade said. "We just have to figure out how to solve it with our partners like Facebook and Twitter and even moving into some of the more credible sources like LinkedIn and things like that work with those partners to find a way to manage it.

“But the value that is given by those is so much more to these patients than the negativity of those fake news sources, so those are a couple things that I think we don't talk enough about,” she added. “Things we're going to have to conquer as we go forward.”

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