Rating The Ratings

Check this out.  What you will see is a doctor who is clearly and understandably disenchanted by the extent to which everything in healthcare is now being “rated,” and the extent to which these ratings are being used as the basis for non-trivial purposes like driving compensation.

Great vignettes here. Like medical students who were served cookies during one of their classes rating the class experience as being significantly better than those students who weren’t given cookies. And patients who received a prescription from a telemedicine physician being significantly more likely to rate that doctor highly than patients who didn’t get a prescription, even though the Rx was likely for an unnecessary drug. Etc.

Bottom Line. I think the doctor has a very good point. You may recall that I have questioned this whole ratings deal in healthcare many times before. In psychometrics classes I took as part of my doctoral training in psychology, I learned about ratings. I learned that they are easy to administer. And provide nice, quantitative data. And are unreliable. And are subject to the “halo effect.” And….

When this whole ratings fixation thing came into vogue, I thought that it would be a passing fancy. That it would come and go. That it would sink under its own weight. Nope!

What might straighten this out? How about teaching the healthcare decision makers who keep wanting more ratings the basics of the psychology of how ratings actually work? And don’t work. 

That might help! 

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