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Why We Need A TripAdvisor For Hospitals

Whenever I need to book a hotel, I go to TripAdvisor.com first to read other guests' experiences, from the moldy showers to the bedbugs. In a cogent new commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association, two Massachusetts doctors write that patients have been slow to start comparing their health care options online for various reasons, and it would help if the hospital world got a Website that would let them share their experiences.

They suggest that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services create one, going a step beyond the current site, Hospital Compare. Drs. Tara Lagu and Peter K. Lindenauer, both of Baystate Medical Center and Tufts Medical school, write in part:

A logical next step on the path toward greater transparency and accountability might be for CMS, the single largest payer of physician and hospital services in the United States, to provide the opportunity for all patients to share their inpatient experiences via a patient feedback function that could be added to the Hospital Compare Web site. Additionally, CMS could develop a Web site that would allow patients to write reviews about physician practices.

Note: We wrote about the revamped Massachusetts comparison site, My Health Care Options, here.

This program aired on October 22, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.

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