Rating the examiners

Reported in the New York Times (NYT), the consumer advocacy organization founded by Ralph Nader, Public Citizen, publishes online a report evaluating state medical boards web sites.
The report, based on a survey conducted by Public Citizen's Health Research Group, graded state medical board Web sites for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 14 states where the licenses of medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy are overseen by different boards, Public Citizen evaluated each board separately, resulting in a total of 65 boards. Outside experts in the field of physician discipline helped devise a weighting scale for the different elements.
Public Citizen found that since Massachusetts in 1996 became the first state to require information regarding their medical board and its actions against physician misconduct be available on the Internet, almost all states "now provide some form of information online." Quality of content and the degree of usability were used to rank the boards web sites. Public Citizen also found most sites "seriously deficient in providing this important information for patients."

The findings are published in a searchable database. The database can generate individual profiles of state boards or comparison reports of all states by ranking factors (e.g., rank and score, types of physician-identifying information, disciplinary actions taken by hospitals, etc.).

The Hawaii Board of Medical Examiners offers information through the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' (DCCA) Professional and Vocational Licensing Search. Out of the 65 boards evaluated, Hawaii ranked a low 45, with a score of 38.7 out of 100, providing no information on hospital disciplinary actions, malpractice information, federal disciplinary actions, or conviction information.

2006 Report on Doctor Disciplinary Information on State Web Sites
- a Survey and Ranking of State Medical and Osteopathic Board Web Sites.
(Oct. 17, 2006, online database, provided by Public Citizen)

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