Introducing the Pitch Day Finalists: MD 360

Oct 4, 2013, 9:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Tara Bishop, MD, MPH, wants to offer 360-degree reviews of doctors and other healthcare providers that incorporate objective measures of quality as well as peer and patient ratings. She was one of eight finalists we invited to pitch us their ideas live and in person at the first-ever Pioneer Pitch Day. Read Dr. Bishop's 1,000-character proposal below, and join the discussion on Twitter at #pioneerpitch.

Dr. Bishop is a practicing physician as well as the director of quality improvement operations for the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. You can connect with her on Twitter at @tarabishopmd.

Pioneer: Congratulations on being a Pitch Day finalist! What made you decide to submit your idea to Pioneer Pitch Day?

Tara Bishop: I'm a health services researcher and doctor but I also consider myself an innovator.  In research, I identify problems in health care but rarely have a chance to really improve health care. The research world can be slow and narrowly focused. It often rewards those who are safe and follow the rules. But real solutions and real innovation come from thinking outside the box and taking risks. I'm thrilled to have the chance to move outside my box.

Pioneer: Tell us about the origins of your idea for MD 360?

Bishop: “Patient-centered care” is the new buzzword in health care, but how can we have patient-centered care if we don't give patients the information they need to pick doctors and other healthcare providers? …The purpose of MD 360 is to help patients and their doctors make better- informed decisions about who should care for their health. That means keeping a broad view of quality and making what we know about quality transparent and easy to understand. The heart of this idea is to get information to the people who need it and deserve it: patients.

Pioneer: What do you believe is the most innovative aspect of your idea?

Bishop: In many other industries, consumers can get a ton of information; for example, I can get more information about the quality and experience of a restaurant than I can about a doctor. That's just crazy! Patients put a lot of trust in doctors, hospitals and other providers but there is no easy way to research their quality. Existing websites and reporting systems either have problems in their content or in their delivery. MD 360 will provide more and better information directly to patients and will deliver it in a patient-centered way. It has the potential to transform how patients learn about and choose their doctors and other healthcare providers.

Pioneer: Who is an innovative thinker who has inspired your own work – why and how?

Bishop: That's a tough question. There are so many innovative thinkers. The most inspiring people for me are those whose paths are similar to mine, and whom I can emulate. One example is Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist and professor at Duke. He is a rigorous and prolific scientist but he also takes his science outside of the academic box as an author, speaker and overall great guy.  I want my work and career to mimic his -- to really impact people and have a lasting effect.

Proposal Submission: MD 360

There are essentially three ways that people, products, or services can be rated. First, ratings can use objective measures such as grades or scores. The New York City Department of Health uses an objective grading system to assign cleanliness grades to restaurants. Second, ratings can be based on expert opinion or someone we trust like the food or movie critic. Finally, ratings can be based on users’ or recipients’ feedback like those found on website like Yelp and Tripadvisor. Individually, each rating system has merits but also flaws. For example, objective ratings may miss areas that are important but difficult to measure. Expert opinion and crowdsourcing may be too subjective. Ideally, we would have a rating system for doctors and other healthcare providers that incorporates all of these elements: objective measures, reputation among peers, and crowd rating. MD 360 will develop a three-pronged approach to rating doctors by compiling available information on objective measures of quality, reputation among peers, and websites like Yelp, Healthgrades, and Vital Signs. MD 360 has the potential to significantly improve the way we rate doctors and healthcare

Got a pioneering idea of your own? We’d love to hear from you.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.