March 1, 2005
Finding Doctors in Chicago: A Project to Improve Online Physician Directories, The Midwest Business Group on Health, The Commonwealth Fund, March 2005.
Summary of Findings and Recommendations
When consumers select new doctors, they often have limited information beyond their own prior experience and the recommendations of family and friends. Physicians, when making referrals to specialists, can also find themselves armed with inadequate data. With more people turning to the Internet as a source of health care information, online physician directories are becoming important resources. Unfortunately, these sites are frequently difficult to use, not objective, or contain information that is old, inaccurate, or incomplete. The Midwest Business Group on Health worked with stakeholders to find out what consumers and physicians like and dislike about online directories. According to the study's findings, online physician directories should maximize ease of use and navigation, for example, by incorporating sophisticated search functions and interactive features; provide a wide range of content, including information on physicians' practice style; and ensure the credibility of data by regularly updating and monitoring for accuracy.
This issue brief provides a summary of key findings and recommendations from the Finding Doctors in Chicago project. The full report is available here.