From Media Bistro, Noted Rater of Restaurants Brings Its Touch to Medicine

The ubiquitous Zagat guides are known for an assortment of mostly leisure-related topicsincluding hotels, spas, golf courses, movies and nightlife. Now the editors are asking people covered by one of the country’s largest commercial insurers to post reviews of their doctors and rate them in categories like trust and communication.

As in other Zagat guides, the responses are summarized and presented as scores that, in this case, are edited by the insurance company WellPoint. They can be viewed only by WellPoint customers. The reviews are being introduced online to millions of WellPoint’s Blue Cross plan members across the country.

Doctors not supportive:

Not surprisingly, many doctors, including those in California, Connecticut and North Carolina, where the Zagat-WellPoint venture was first introduced, have given the idea low marks.

“It is curious that they would go to a company that had no experience in health care to try to find out how good a doctor is,” said Dr. William Handelman, a kidney specialist in Torrington who is president of the Connecticut State Medical Society. “It certainly is very subjective.”

Dr. Angelo S. Carrabba, an obstetrician in Rocky Hill, Conn., complained that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, a WellPoint company, was “treating medical care provided by dedicated and caring physicians as if we were preparing a meal.”