INDIANAPOLIS and NEW YORK, Oct. 22 WellPoint, Inc., thenation's largest health benefits company, and Zagat Survey, LLC todayannounced the upcoming launch of a new online survey tool that will allowconsumers to share their physician experiences with others. A first in thehealth care arena, WellPoint will begin to offer the online tool using theZagat approach to select members in its Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield licensedsubsidiaries in January 2008.
"Zagat Survey has a reputation for being the world's most trusted sourcefor information about where to eat, drink, stay and play," said Angela F.Braly, president and CEO of WellPoint. "Our partnership will enable WellPointto capitalize on Zagat's methodology to benefit the health care industry, andwill help WellPoint harness the power of the nearly 35 million members in itshealth plan subsidiaries to share and learn from their experiences with theirdoctors."
The new survey tool will provide a vehicle for members to review andevaluate physicians based on a set of distinct qualities, creating a trustedresource to support informed member decision-making. Through thispartnership, Zagat is helping WellPoint address an unmet need for peer-to-peerinteraction among health care consumers, enabling consumers to providefeedback on their experiences with individual physicians and then rate theirexperience on Zagat's renowned 30-point scale.
"Partnering with a trusted brand like Zagat Survey supports WellPoint'svision to deliver the most comprehensive health and wellness information toour members in an accessible, easy-to-understand format, and builds on ourcommitment to provide members with the data and tools necessary to help themtake a more active role in their health care decision making," said JasonGorevic, WellPoint's chief marketing and product officer. "Peer-to-peerinteractions are a critical component of our consumer engagement strategy."
In addition, the survey will also feature a comments section, allowingmembers to share comments to expand on their ratings. The survey and resultswill be available free of charge to members via their health plans' web sites.
For each network physician, the online entry will display contactinformation, ratings on a 30-point scale for each of the four categories, andthe percentage of members who recommend that physician. The most recentcomments will be displayed first, and members will have the option to rate theusefulness of comments and report suspicious comments. These categories aresolely designed to reflect a consumer's experience with a physician and not toreflect the quality of care they received.
"Our surveys put consumers in touch with the people they trust the most --other consumers," said Nina Zagat, co-Founder and co-Chair of Zagat Survey."With this tool, WellPoint is helping to give consumers the power to makesmart decisions about selecting doctors based on other people's experiences."
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint's mission is to improve the lives of the people it serves andthe health of its communities. WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefitscompany in terms of commercial membership in the United States. Through itsnationwide networks, the company delivers a number of leading health benefitsolutions through a broad portfolio of integrated health care plans andrelated services, along with a wide range of specialty products such as lifeand disability insurance benefits, pharmacy benefit management, dental,vision, behavioral health benefit services, as well as long term careinsurance and flexible spending accounts. Headquartered in Indianapolis,Indiana, WellPoint is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and BlueShield Association and serves its members as the Blue Cross licensee forCalifornia; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut,Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Misso