Web Site Measures Medical Care
DoctorQuality.com Inc., a Philadelphia start-up company, last month began to offer in-depth evaluations that "seek to measure medical care more extensively than any other Internet service," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Like other Web sites, DoctorQuality examines public health records and medical training to assess care quality, but the start-up also asks physicians and hospitals to report patient results and allows consumers to answer detailed satisfaction surveys about their care. DoctorQuality is marketing its product directly to businesses -- facing double-digit premium hikes next year-- which are starting to "[buy] into the idea that improving medical quality will save money." The site has only about 80,000 unique visitors per month, compared to WebMD's 4.5 million, because the company is seeking to keep costs low by marketing to employers, unions, physicians and hospitals, rather than to the general public. DoctorQuality projects $2 million in revenues by the end of 2000 and is close to breaking even, according to David Shulkin, the company's CEO. Shulkin, former CMO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, created DoctorQuality with other "refugees" from Penn who left following $300 million in recent losses. DoctorQuality is capitalizing on its executives' clinical expertise with its most popular products: online workbooks that instruct patients on the best courses of care for some 45 chronic conditions, including heart disease, asthma and diabetes (Stark, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/6).