Ok if you have read here long enough, a few years, then you are accustomed to seeing outrageous flawed data posts about Healthgrades and Vitals over the years and I’ll put a few of the links here if you want to look back as they are dandies.  When I say that I mean really big flaws about doctors and hospitals that were carried in major news coverage that both missed and still continued to publish. 

It all started out years ago by accident when I found my former doctor who had been dead for 8 years on Healthgrades as still active and alive and seeing new patients and she still carried a 5 star rating in the after life, pretty amazing stuff you think? It even got the attention of the AMA, as how could data just flat out be this bad!  It is and was.  Here’s the post from 2010 that started it all.  This is what you get when a private equity firm doesn’t care about integrity and just wants to make money. 

Healthgrades And Other MD Rating and Referral Sites List “Dead Doctors” on Their MD Information Pages And Even Include the Insurance Plans the “Dead Doctors” Honor

Of particular notice too was this huge national case with Dr. Justice and he remained on there forever and might still be there.  I think it was just about 3 years ago Rand Paul was finally removed from his listing as a doctor still taking new patients as well.

Prominent Orange County Oncologist Pleads Guilty to Medicare/Insurance Fraud – Over $1 Million

This doctor here was on the FBI’s most wanted list and was captured living on an Iceberg in Italy and was listed on Healthgrades for years and still might be there with no sanctions or anything.

Nose Doctor on the Run Found Living in a Tent at the End of a Glacier in Italy, Admitted Fraud Still Listed on Some MD Referral Sites

Here was another site which couldn’t get this stuff right either, Dr. Justice again.

Avvo Physician Rating Service Can’t Get Accurate Information Listed on Doctors - One OC Oncologist Sitting in Jail for Fraud

The hospital reports were also disputed by some big names in the business as well a couple years ago. 

Healthgrades 'Best Hospital' List Algorithm Needs Work Again - Flawed Data

So Healthgrades merges with a marketing group to fix this, better marketing but same flawed data showed up.

Healthgrades to Merge with CPM Marketing–Will Their Data and Questionable Algorithms Will Be Improved For Consumers?

As a matter of fact the graphics changed on the site as well as adding some “flash” components, but when the queries ran, same old stuff, lip stick on a pig you could say.

Healthgrades Hospital Report is Out and Still Think Their Algorithms Needs Work…
Healthgrades Puts Out Top Hospital List–Time to Drop All the Hospital Ratings Sites As Nobody Cares, Many Don’t Have Time To Read and Too Much “Flawed Data”
Healthgrades CEO Founder Joins WorldOne Board–Flawed Data And Broken Algorithms On the Move to Advise Market Research? Algo Duping Society?

We got used to seeing people like Dr. Gary Michelson on the list who retired years ago from practicing after winning a multi billion dollar law suit against Medtronic for stealing his patents. 

While working at the HHS ONC office, Dr. Reider never his practice and continued to see new patients for a number of years, which was not true of course, just laziness and not updating data for Healthgrades.

Jacob Reider To Lead the ONC Until New Leader Is Appointed–Visit His Page onHealthgrades Showing He’s Still Open For Business To See Patients, Along With Links to Dead Doctors, Some On Staff At Hospitals They Have Never Set Foot In And More…

This nose doctor was on the FBI most wanted list and continued to show as 5 stars on Healthgrades as he lived on an iceberg in Italy where the FBI finally captured him.  No sanctions, not a thing and this of course was pretty big news as well as a lot folks were looking for this doctor.

Nose Doctor on the Run Found Living in a Tent at the End of a Glacier in Italy, Admitted Fraud Still Listed on Some MD Referral Sites

Want to look up Michael Jackson’s old doctor, Dr. Arnie Klein who’s now dead?  This may have finally been updated after he died but even with all the news coverage he had, Healthgrades showed a lot of stars and his office in Beverly Hills that had been closed for years.  I figured they left Dr. Arnie Klein there to draw some clickbait visitors as he was in the news so much that people still looked him up and anyone on the Healthgrade page was exposed to ads and maybe clicked one or two, so the site made money with showing this dead doctor’s profile.  There’s quite a few dead doctors listed on the site practicing from the grave and this is just one example. 

Flawed Data With Physician and Hospital Rating Sites- Want To Go See Michael Jackson’s Former Dermatologist? Vitals andHealthgrades Says He’s Still There - Not…Flawed Data & Algorithms Persist…

I’ve never made it a habit of spending a lot of time on the site or looking up anyone unless there seemed to be a reason to hitting flawed data is very frequent and it only takes looking at one or two profiles and bingo, there it is.  Doctors are listed with admitting privileges they have never step foot in.  One doctor told me he liked “the fake awards” i.e. the “honor roll” stuff they put on there.  He thought it was pretty wild since half of what the site had on him was flawed.

When it comes to hospital ratings, this one takes the cake indeed.  Pacific Hospital who’s again even been in the news for fraud, putting fake screws in patients as well as bribing a state senator, ran with a 5 star rating even after the hospital was closed and the CEO was convicted.  The links even had a bunch of doctors listed on staff at the closed hospital.

Operation Spinal Cap-Former Owner of Orthopedic Hospital Admits He Bribed California State Senator Calderon-Hospital Closed And Sold But Still Listed onHealthgrades

The VA hired a doctor with a few serious sanctions in New York and I happened to look him up and he never left New York on Healthgrades and had a bunch of stars.

Top Doctor For Miami VA Healthcare System Lost Medical License in New York, Had Issues With Florida Board of Medicine, But On the Internet He Still Works and Takes New Patients in New York With Plenty of Insurers…

Here’s another good example going back to the doctor that had ebola who was all over the national news, but on Healthgrades he never left Texas and of course was seeing new patients as the listing stated.

Texas Doctor Working With Ebola Patients in Africa Now Has the Disease Amidst All Precautions and Safeguards-Of Course Still Listed onHealthgrades As Taking New Appointments in Dallas

This was an oddity too with Healthgrades partnering with Athena Health and a few others on the web didn’t understand this either.  Did this make it easier to book an appointment with a dead doctor?  If the doctor profile is flawed, what good does this do?  There are other sites on the web that doctors do join to allow online appointments and they pay for it, so what was all this about? 

Healthgrades Partners With Athena Health To Provide Easier Access to Book Appointments, Like Maybe Doing Better With Sorting Out Some of the “Dead Doctors” Seeing Patients in the After Life?

If you were looking to see if any doctors running clinical trials had any sanctions or disciplinary actions, well again you were probably pretty much out of luck searching Healthgrades. 

Doctors With Serious Sanctions Running Clinical Trials in the US And Sites Such As Healthgrades and Vitals Show No Sanctions at All So You Can Get Fooled Easily

I circled back almost a year later to see if Pacific Hospital, the one putting fake screws was still a 5 Star hospital, and sure enough there it was in all its glory with no mention of fake screws, the fact that the hospital has closed and the CEO was going to jail.  Healthgrades still showed that the hospital was taking Medicare and Medicaid patients. 

Why Does A Hospital That Was Closed By The Feds In 2013, that Put “Fake” Screws In Patients Backs, Has A CEO/Owner Who Admitted Fraud/Patient Endangerment And Is Waiting Sentencing And Who Bribed A State Senator, Still Show On Healthgrades With Five Star Ratings?

Those are just some examples I have covered since 2010 here on the quality of data you get when using the site to search out information.  By the way be sure to read the privacy statement as anything you do on the site is mined.  With their new survey program you have to use an email address or phone number to verify, well golly gee, guess what, that makes it easy for Healthgrades to match up who you are and get some survey behavior data to sell. 

So this is what you are getting now with United Healthcare making this flawed data site that’s there to make money off of ad revenue with what you see and click on for ads.  I don’t take any of their surveys or Hospital awards seriously at all.  Even if they change the metrics, they are still using a lot of flawed data to go into the metrics, so what good does that doo.  We have a problem in the US and it’s called “Excess Scoring” and when folks are scored with data is flawed to begin with, it’s garbage in and garbage out as the old saying goes. 

This is indeed why we need to index and license all data sellers and have a reference of what kind of data they sell.  United Healthcare sells a ton of data and if not under the main corporate umbrella, there’s just short of 400 subsidiaries that do so. 

Index and License Data Sellers, Step One Needed for Any Consumer Privacy Efforts to Exist - Spurious Correlations and Flawed Data Risk Assessments Thrive To Erroneously Deny Access

So again, to me this is the absolute bottom of the barrel for getting accurate information to patients.  I guess nobody at United looked at the data either and that’s a big problem today as I chat with folks in markets and they say the same thing “nobody looks at the data”. 

Be a skeptic when you need to be and again be aware of what you see on Healthgrades as it’s been years of flawed data and nobody seems to care about accuracy as long as something on the page gave you a desire to “click” so they could enhance their ad revenue.

I had email today from some doctors on this and they know exactly how bad the information has been from Healthgrades over the years.  Healthgrades wants to put the responsibility on the doctors for correcting their flawed data and that’s not right either. 

So here you are “duped again”…when it comes to quality information.  Ask other people about doctors and research elsewhere as Healthgrades and now United Healthcare surveys working in conjunction with Healthgrades is not giving you a straight story at all.  BD 


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