Help Fred Trotter Make Doctor Data Transparent [Updated]

[Update 12/4/2012] Funding for this project has blown past all expectations. It currently stands at almost $40,000. So many additional people wanted to contribute to this project after the deadline was closed that Medstartr allowed Fred Trotter to expand the scope of the project and set new milestones. Latest developments can be read here.-RAM]

Just came across a great project that our friend Fred Trotter has posted in the crowdsouring site Medstartr. As many of you know Fred has been one of the most active and outspoken champions of open source in healthcare. Fred has recently changed his focus to making healthcare data transparent and accessible to patients so they can make informed decisions about their care. Fred is seeking funding from Medstartr for the project, Next Level Doctor Social Graph, and he is almost there but needs one last bit of funding to meet his goals. For those of you who would like to see more transparencey in doctor data, I urge you to contribute here.

Fred describes the project:

At Strata RX 2012, we (NotOnly Dev) released the Doctor Social Graph — a project that visually displays the connections between doctors, hospitals and other healthcare organizations in the US. This conglomeration of data set shows everything — from the connections between doctors who refer their patients to each other to any other data collected by state and national databases. It displays real names and and will eventually show every city.

This is THE data set that any academic, scientist, or health policy junkie could ever want to conduct almost any study.

Our goal is to empower the patient, make the system transparent and accountable, and release this data to the people who can use it to revitalize our health system.

Fred then asks "Why this matters to patients?" He explains:

It is very difficult to fairly evaluate the quality of doctors in this country. Our State Medical Boards only go after the most outrageous doctors. The doctor review websites are generally popularity contests. Doctors with a good bedside manner do well. Doctors without strong social skills can do poorly, even if they are good doctors. It is difficult to evaluate doctors fairly. Using this data set, it should be possible to build software that evaluates doctors by viewing referrals as “votes” for each other.

This data set could be the best source of public information about the quality of doctors ever. More importantly, it should help doctors to encourage other doctors to improve their skills — for example, by seeking board certification. This data set will allow patients and administrators to evaluate the health system on both micro and macro scales and give them the tools to take steps towards addressing inefficiencies.

Fred continues describing the project in much greater detail in the Medstartr project page. Definitely worth reading and a great project to fund.