Filling the Healthcare Information Gap

by Dr. Keith Knepp, UnityPoint Health – Peoria , UnityPoint Health – Peoria

In our increasingly digital world, finding information is easier than ever. If you’re looking to buy a new car, just Google the make and model you’re interested in and the search engine will serve up thousands of results, from expert opinions to reviews from your fellow car shoppers. With so much information available online to help you make an informed buying choice, you don’t even have to order takeout without reading feedback from restaurant patrons! But there is a gap to fill in this space: information about making healthcare decisions. That’s where UnityPoint Health comes in.

We know choosing a physician is one of the most important decisions consumers make. The relationship between doctor and patient is personal. Patients trust physicians to care for them during their most vulnerable moments. And yet, when it comes to selecting a physician, the amount of information available to consumers is slim. You might find a few reviews scattered between a few different websites, but there’s not a comprehensive source in the same way there is for so many of the other choices consumers make. That’s why we decided to take matters into our own hands by publishing all of the patient feedback we receive on our providers on our website.

This feedback comes from surveys we send to patients after they visit one of our providers. Patients are given the opportunity to rate us on several factors, like how well their provider communicated with them and how they were treated by the office staff. In addition to rating their experience, patients are able to respond with comments, telling us in their own words what it was like when they visited us. As surveys are returned, we publish the feedback online.

We’re not only publishing the nice things patients say about us, we’re publishing everything, good and bad. It’s because we believe consumers should be able to take a transparent look at us before making a choice. And the fact that we’re willing to share everything is a testament to how seriously we take our job.

At, each of our providers has an individual profile. This is where we publish patient feedback. You can look up a particular provider and see all of the comments we’ve received from that provider’s existing patients. Additionally, each provider has a star rating. The information we collect in surveys is aggregated to create the rating. The only editing we do to this information is to remove anything that could identify a particular patient. The rest is out there for anyone to read before making an appointment. It’s something no other health system in the region is doing, and in fact, there’s only one other health system in Illinois doing something similar.

Through this initiative, our goal is to empower consumers to make an informed healthcare choice. Our goal is to demystify the experience and make it easier for everyone to decide which provider is right for them. We’re also committed to meeting consumers where they are—and today, that means online. We know consumers count on reviews when they’re shopping on their favorite websites. Why shouldn’t reviews be available when they’re searching for a doctor? iBi