AOK plans grades for doctors

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In an online survey, the AOK health insurance company plans to award grades for general practitioners and specialists.

(07.09.2010) AOK health insurers can award grades for their general practitioners and specialists from 2011. The insured can take part in an online survey on the AOK website. The rating portal should apply to the state of Saxony. The AOK hopes that the project will make it easier for citizens to find a doctor and provide a good overview. About two million AOK members are asked to rate their doctors.

There are now rating portals on numerous topics on the Internet. Why shouldn't patients also rate their doctors? This is also the opinion of the Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse AOK Sachsen and will be introducing an online evaluation portal for doctors from 2011. The offer should initially apply to AOK health insurers. According to AOK spokeswoman Hannelore Strobel, the aim of the survey is to help the insured person find a doctor. However, the portal should not be a "medical TÜV", as critics repeatedly point out. So Strobel said: "There can be no question of medical TÜV". As of January 2011, AOK Plus insured persons can distribute school grades from 1 to 6 for the establishment of the practice, staff, appointments, waiting times and medical treatment.

Similar rating portals have already been launched in other federal states. At the beginning of the year, the AOK set up an online evaluation portal, the "AOK Hospital Navigator". Patients were able to search and evaluate clinics for knee and hip joint operations as well as thigh fractures. So far, around 200 hospitals from the regions of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Westphalia-Lippe have been listed.

A so-called AOK doctor navigator was also launched in spring for the federal states of Berlin, Hamburg and Thuringia. The first evaluation results are to be published in autumn 2010. But the response from the insured has so far been poor, as the AOK Thuringia reports.

The Independent Patient Counseling Center in Leipzig reports doubts. Although quality information about doctors is considered necessary here, such surveys are questioned as to the informative value. Ulrike Dzengel of the independent patient counseling said: "There can be no reliable statements here". Because such evaluations are very subjective and therefore too imprecise. In addition, the patients are dependent on the local doctors.

The Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Saxony is fundamentally not against such a doctor rating portal. But here you see the danger that especially dissatisfied patients rate their last visit to the doctor. "Presumably it is mainly patients who are dissatisfied with their visit to the practice for various reasons," argued Klaus Heckemann of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. Furthermore, there is a danger that doctors with very good marks will experience a mass rush that is not in everyday life can be dealt with.

The evaluation portal should initially start in Saxony. However, it is planned to expand the project nationwide. When there will be a nationwide online evaluation portal for doctors is still unclear. The nationwide project should actually start in autumn 2010. However, one has moved away from this date. (sb)

Also read:
Online evaluation by doctors
Change health insurance or stay?
Assessment portal for hospitals launched

Image: Christoph Droste /

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Video: Why being a medical doctor is overrated..


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