Objective Numbers, Collected by the Federal Government, on Doctors and Other Health Workers
This page helps you find doctors and nurse practitioners who spend a lot of time with each patient. Later, when you know specific treatments you need, you can use a different page to see which specialists have the most experience with each procedure.
Spreadsheets (xlsx) for the USA (129 megabytes), and for Maryland, DC and nearby Virginia (4 megabytes), show you:
To find doctors near you, in a specialty, and/or male/female, you can filter the spreadsheets (click an arrow in 3rd row). For example column G shows the state:
Length of office appointments is based on the typical face-to-face time. Hospital and nursing home visits include both face-to-face time, and time dealing with that patient's needs on the hospital floor or at the nursing home (as explained on p.18 of a presentation). Some audiovisual telehealth contact is also covered (p.31 of the same presentation). Time talking to the family with the patient not present is not covered. Length of appointments at home and in assisted living seems to be face-to-face time.
You can select male or female, but some specialties have few women.
Continuity of Care
The spreadsheets also help you find local doctors who give continuity of care by treating their patients in all 3 settings: office, hospital, and nursing home. If you've been hospitalized, you know the difficulty coordinating between your personal doctor and hospital doctors. Life is easier and care may be better if your personal doctor can treat you in the hospital. The spreadsheet shows which doctors and nurse practitioners do treat patients both in and out of hospitals:
On the other hand you can also see the much bigger numbers of providers who specialize and just provide hospital care, office care or nursing home care.
The spreadsheets have a web link for each doctor, to copy into your browser. It takes you to a consumer rating site, which also takes you to the doctor's website if they can find it. There are helpful hints for using large spreadsheets like this.
You can supplement these bare numbers with all the sources on patient reviews, malpractice, etc. discussed in STEP C of the specialists page.
Some patients want to know who is independent of the hospitals and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) which have been absorbing most practices, so they can have independent advice. Lists of doctors who are independent of the major health systems are at: aid-us.org/directory, Idaho, Georgia, New York City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, south Charlotte, . Some groups with "independent" in the name are ACOs with incentives to refer to each other. Insurers also pay incentives to doctors to meet financial goals.
Home Visits: Medicare and other insurance plans pay for home visits when there is a reason, such as letting the doctor assess the home situation, coordinating with home caregivers, or difficulty getting to the office. A doctor describes the emotional benefits he gets from even doing a few home visits per week. Doctors are paid more for home visits than office visits, so copays may be higher too. The spreadsheets described above show names and locations of 4,000 US doctors who do more than 2 home visits for Medicare per week (104/year), so you can find one near you. 1,300 of these doctors do more than 10 home visits per week (520/year). An association of doctors advocates for the service, and also has a referral list of about 300 doctors and groups. There are some experimental programs to save money by deterring seriously ill patients from going to hospitals.
Source: The spreadsheets use Medicare data. They are useful for non-Medicare patients too, since they show differences among doctors even if you are young or privately insured. Doctors who work only for managed care plans, like Kaiser or Medicare Advantage (Part C), are not included, so you will need to look elsewhere. Medicare does not release counts of 10 or fewer patients, to protect privacy, so there is little data on doctors who see few Medicare patients.
Earlier spreadsheets showed just 2013 data for the country (199 megabytes), or DC, MD, and nearby VA (7 megabytes).
The first column has an overall rank you can adapt. It looks for the highest values on 5 items:
More Information on Doctors
The spreadsheet shows
Besides averages, the 2013 spreadsheets show the number of visits by length: 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, etc. Medicare does not estimate time for the annual wellness visit, so I estimated the time based on what they pay, compared to what they pay for regular visits of 25, 40 or 60 minutes. These estimates are 48 minutes for an initial wellness visit and 29 minutes for a subsequent one, and appear separately in the spreadsheet, so you can use other estimates if you wish. There are also physical exams in the first 12 months of Medicare enrollment, which are grouped with the initial wellness exams at 48 minutes. ProPublica shows graphs of how many subsequent appointments at each length each doctor gave in 2012, though one cannot search for doctors who give long appointments. They consider long appointments a cost problem, not a patient benefit.
Each column in the spreadsheet summarizes several billing categories. A summary page lists all the detailed categories, how common each is, national average costs, and Medicare's estimate of how long it takes.
Types of Medicare Patients Seen by Each Doctor
In October 2015, Medicare released information on types of Medicare patients seen by each doctor, to show which doctors are most familiar with these types of patients. The information can be added to the doctor files, but would make the files even bigger. A private insurance app suggests that some patients do want to find doctors who treat patients who are similar by age and gender. Comments are welcome below.
Patient age is calculated at the end of the calendar year or at the time of death.
Race is based an algorithm that uses Census surname lists and geography to improve the accuracy of race/ethnicity classification, particularly for those who are Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islanders.
Number who had Medicaid sometime in the year
Conditions (based on algorithms used at http://ccwdata.org/index.php)
To protect the privacy of Medicare beneficiaries, the number of beneficiaries fewer than 11 have been suppressed and the percent of beneficiaries between 75% and 100% have been top-coded at 75% .