WellPoint enlists Zagat to rate doctors

After making a reputation rating highbrow restaurants in New York, the Zagat Survey now will help WellPoint Inc.’s health insurance customers rate their doctors. In January, WellPoint and Zagat will launch an online survey tool that will allow patients to share their physician experiences with other WellPoint customers.

The tool will allow consumers to review their doctor visits based on trust, communication, availability and environment. The Zagat tool will score doctors in those categories on a 30-point scale, just as it does with restaurants in 85 markets. New York-based Zagat also publishes guides for hotels, resorts and spas, family travel, shopping, nightlife, movies, music, theater and golf.

he doctor survey also will feature a comments section, allowing members to share comments to expand on their ratings. The survey and results will be available for free to members via their health plans’ Web sites.

WellPoint has not identified which markets will get the service first, spokeswoman Cheryl Leamon said, though she estimated that one million of the company’s 35 million customers would have it by March.

The company then will roll it out to all customers, Leamon said, though she did not have a timetable.

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