Consumer Reports has started to rate primary care doctors, using data from physicians, health plans, employers, hospitals, and consumers. But the effort is now limited to four states—California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. (See our Guide to doctor Ratings.) We also provide Ratings of heart surgery groups, using data from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
Here is a quick guide to some other sites that provide information on doctors.
AMA DoctorFinder. Basic information on more than 814,000 physicians in the U.S. You get information on specialty training, board certification, and more. But there is no information on patient outcomes, disciplinary actions, or communication skills.
AngiesList.com. User reviews on an A through F scale, sometimes based on a limited number of responses, for categories such as availability, punctuality, staff friendliness, and effectiveness of treatment. Requires an annual membership fee ranging from $3.50 to $10, depending on services you select.
Castle Connolly. Ratings of “top doctors” based on peer nominations, research, screening, and other factors. Search by name, location, hospital, specialty, or insurance.
Healthgrades.com. Comprehensive, easy-to-use site that allows searches by name, procedure, specialty, or condition. Includes info on education, affiliated hospitals (and ratings on the hospital itself), sanctions, malpractice claims and board actions, office locations, and insurance plans. Ratings on topics such as patient satisfaction and wait time are based on patient feedback, which can be limited.
National Committee for Quality Assurance. Reliable information on doctors who meet important standards in measures such as being a patient-centered medical home, care for heart disease, diabetes, and back pain. NCQA verifies a doctor’s licensing, but other data is self-reported.
Physician Compare. Information from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for people looking for health care providers who accept Medicare. Provides information on board certification, education, and group and hospital affiliations.
RateMDs.com. Search for doctors by name, sex, ZIP code, state, and specialty. Includes information on training as well as patient ratings on staff, punctuality, helpfulness, and knowledge. It has links to medical board records where you can get information on disciplinary actions. Patients can post questions and answers about doctors. Ratings are based on patient reviews.
Vitals.com. Find doctors by specialty, condition, insurance, name, and more. You’ll get the lowdown on a doctor’s awards, expertise, hospital affiliations, and insurance as well as patient ratings on measures such as bedside manner, follow-up, promptness, accuracy of diagnosis, and average wait time. There’s also a patient-comment section.
U.S. News & World Report. No ratings of doctors, just basic info on a physician’s years in practice, hospital affiliation, training, certification, licensure, insurance, and awards.
Yelp.com. User reviews that give doctors one to five stars. Doctors can’t pay to alter or remove their reviews, though it is hard to tell what the reviewer’s relationship is to the doctor and doctors can get high ratings with just a few responses.