The “Yelpification of Healthcare”

If I may get a little serious here for moment: last week, I came across this article on The Atlantic’s website about the “yelpfication” of healthcare—essentially speculating on why there isn’t yet a site like Yelp for reviewing health care professionals. It was a fascinating read, and I thought I’d share it with fellow Mogoians.

I know that in Canada we sometimes forget about healthcare’s subtler points—you’re your day-to-day care is provided for you, you tend to do that. But Americans have to think more carefully, because the wrong choice is not only bad for your health, it’s also bad for your wallet. Still, all of us, regardless of nationality or access, could benefit from a site that helps us find a good doctor or specialist. As the article states, however, “while Yelp itself, along with its paid counterpart, Angie’s List, feature reviews of doctors and clinics, questions over just how reliable the information they provide is takes on greater significance when applied to something as important, and personal, as health care.”

Truth! If you choose a bad restaurant even though Yelp said it was good, that’s one thing. If you become sicker because a doctor was mis-reviewed, that’s another thing altogether. Still, crowd power does tend to accumulate truthfully—just look at Wikipedia—mostly because we have all determined that things work better for us, personally, if we do so. Selfish? Totally, but that’s okay because it’s a kind of selfishness that benefits us all. Greater good stuff!

Sorry—got a little philosophical, but I did start to think about how this could work going forward. The article mentions a site called Vitals.com, which is US based, that is starting to provide that service on the web. But it’s a slow process, and a complex one (one patient might have a very different experience than another, based on their own physiology and issues), and it’ll be awhile before we can get reliable healthcare provider information on the web—if ever. The article is a good read, I recommend it. Really got me thinking about how we talk about healthcare in this day and age.

What are your thoughts?

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