More than a decade ago, Massachusetts became the first state to mandate its medical board to post physician profiles online. Patients could find a physician’s hospital affiliations, hospital and medical board disciplinary actions, medical malpractice payments and other data.
The Massachusetts board’s idea to display physician data on an easily accessible Web site was novel in 1996. Many physicians were skeptical in the beginning, resulting in a heated debate of how to post information that was useful to the public and fair to doctors.
“It has worked out reasonably well,” said Massachusetts Medical Society President. “It is an opportunity for patients to step up and see information such as where a physician has received training, whether they are board certified, whether they have malpractice suits against them and whether or not the suit falls in what one might expect in that specialty.”
Today, 65 of 70 boards in the United States put physician profiles online, according to the Federation of State Medical Boards. But what is included in those profiles varies. Most states post licensure status and disciplinary history on the Web sites they have created. The more detailed sites, though, include items such as medical malpractice information and criminal convictions, with only 16 and 17 boards, respectively, posting that information.
65 of the 70 U.S. medical boards post physician profiles online. And the debate between physicians and medical boards continues to focus on what is appropriate to place on those Web sites.
In New Jersey, physicians helped ensure that medical liability information was put in context. The state board’s Web site tells a visitor how many malpractice payments the physician has made, how many physicians are in that physician’s specialty, and how many physicians in that specialty made malpractice payments in the past five years. It also shows how many total malpractice payments there were in the specialty and whether the physician is below average, average or above average compared with other physicians in the specialty.
A 2006 report by consumer advocacy group Public Citizen ranked how state boards’ Web sites fared in disclosing physician information in eight categories, including board disciplinary action, malpractice data and criminal convictions. The median score for state MD and DO boards was 42.2 of a possible 100. New Jersey scored the highest at 83.7 points.
If you has been subjected to a State Medical Board Complaint or Investigation, then please contact the Dallas Texas Medical License Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.