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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Launches Zagat Health Survey Capability

The Zagat Health Survey tool provides a vehicle for members to review physicians based on a set of distinct criteria, creating a trusted resource to support informed member decision-making, says BCBSGA.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGA, Atlanta) today announced the launch of the Zagat Health Survey tool, an online survey tool that will allow its members to share their physician experiences with other members throughout the state, according to a BCBSGA source. The announcement follows >Nov. 2007 news that BCBSGA's parent company, WellPoint, had engaged Zagat to create an online physician rating tool.

"Zagat is widely known and trusted for its ability to help people share and learn from other consumer experiences. By working with them we are able to create a trusted resource for our members that will actively engage them in sharing and using that information," says Monye Connolly, president, BCBSGA. "We are committed to providing our members with useful information to better help them navigate the health care system. Making information available, such as the patient experience information contained in the Zagat Health Survey, along with other quality and cost transparency information, is part of that commitment."

The Zagat Survey enables BCBSGA to address an unmet need for peer-to-peer interaction among health care consumers, the BCBSGA source claims. The Zagat Health Survey tool provides a vehicle for members to review physicians based on a set of distinct criteria, creating a trusted resource to support informed member decision-making. The criteria are solely designed to reflect a consumer's experience with a physician and not to reflect the quality of care received. This tool not only helps members, but is also designed to assist doctors in understanding members' experiences, according to BCBSGA.

The Zagat tool allows customers to review their doctor visits based on the following criteria, says the BCBSGA Source: Trust - Confidence in the physician's approach; Communication - Physician's bedside manner, responsiveness and rapport; Availability - Convenience for making appointments and physician's punctuality; Environment - Condition of the office, staff helpfulness, atmosphere and amenities.

Members are also asked whether they would recommend their doctor to others. The survey also features a comments section, allowing members to explain their ratings.

The online entry will display physician contact information, ratings on a 30-point scale for each of the four categories, and the percentage of members who recommend that physician. The most recent comments will be displayed first, and members will have the option to rate the usefulness of comments and report suspicious comments. BCBSGA members can complete the Zagat Health Survey by logging on to the secure member portal on the BCBSGA Web site.

"For physicians the Zagat survey tool can provide valuable, objective feedback on how their patients feel about them and their practice, information that often remains unknown," comments Dr. Robert McCormack, medical director for BCBSGA. "For consumers, the survey can provide information to help them select a physician who is most likely aligned with their personal style and who will meet their health care needs. All-in-all, it is a viable mechanism that could very well change the way health care is measured and delivered throughout Georgia."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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