HealthGrades.com is one of the most prominent of the many doctor-rating websites out there in the digital abyss. The 14-year-old company’s motto is “How America finds a doctor.” And in 2011, Time magazine deemed the site one of the “50 Websites That Make the Web Great“, stating, “It’s an invaluable way to winnow your search to the docs who might be right for you and to weed out ones who could spell trouble.” So much for that.
If you go to the “Find an Obstetrician-Gynecologist” page on HealthGrades.com and click on “Philadelphia” as your city, the first name to come up as a “Best Match” (out of 746 obstetricians and gynecologists near Philadelphia) is none other than Kermit Gosnell.
Gosnell is the West Philadelphia abortion doctor who will be tried in March on a seemingly endless number of charges including murder, abuse of corpse, infanticide, abortion on an unborn child of 24 weeks or more, and drug delivery resulting in death. Among the most grisly accusations: Gosnell took a pair of scissors to the spinal cords of several aborted infants who lived through the procedures.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams labeled Gosnell “barbaric“, while Mayor Michael Nutter called him a “monster,” but according to HealthGrades.com, 65 percent of Dr. Gosnell’s patients would recommend him to a friend.
Update 2/1 12:10 p.m.: This morning, a representative of HealthGrades sent the following response:
For the past 15 years Healthgrades has provided consumers with access to objective measures of quality to help consumers make more informed decisions about doctors and hospitals. As part of our commitment, we provide profile information on all physicians, including specialty, license and board certifications, conditions treated, education and training, as well as malpractice and sanctions.
In the case of Dr. Gosnell, his profile clearly stated that he had received a number of sanctions including the revocation of his license to practice medicine in the State of New York, the suspension of his license in the State of Delaware and the Surrender of his license in the State of Pennsylvania. With regard to Dr. Gosnell’s patient satisfaction rating, the score reflected surveys that were completed prior to the date of his license suspension and correctly indicated that his patient satisfaction rating at 65% was below the national average.
Dr. Gosnell’s profile appeared at the top of our provider listings for searches on Obstetrics & Gynecology in Philadelphia because his profile had a large number of page views due to recent news events. Our algorithms for this type of search default to search volume, weighted with proximity, among other factors.
We are looking carefully at our rules to determine ways in which we can improve our ranking logic to curb this confusion of notoriety vs. popularity of providers in the future.
We take our commitment to providing accurate information on physicians seriously and continually strive to provide information that is more relevant and accessible.
It appears that the company has deleted Gosnell from its database.