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WellPoint Partners With Zagat

WellPoint has tapped Zagat to help offer a physician rating tool to its members.

Indianapolis-based health insurer WellPoint ($54 billion in assets) announced on Monday that it has partnered with Zagat Survey (New York) to rollout a new online survey tool.

The tool, which will be hosted by WellPoint and available via the insurer's Web site, will allow members to rate physicians on trust, communication, availability and environment. Similar to other Zagat surveys, users will also be able to indicate if they would recommend a given physician to others and leave open-ended comments about their experience.

Eric Fennel, WellPoint's staff vice president of consumer innovation, says the insurer views the tool as the missing piece in a consumer tool landscape that is mostly dominated by clinical quality and cost tools. "What was missing was that peer-to-peer interaction around what other consumers think," Fennel explains.

Fennel expects the tool to go live in January in a handful of markets that are yet to be determined. By March, it should be available to about 1 million members. "We'll start in a handful or markets and really promote it to all consumers in those markets. It's a program that we absolutely intend to expand across the enterprise," Fennel says.

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