There are no A’s or F’s, but a new doctor ranking system is in place in the Bluff City and its creators are hoping it will improve healthcare.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation teamed up with Healthy Memphis Common Table to publish the results for everyone to see.

This pilot program was brought to Memphis by Consumers’ Checkbook, a non-profit research firm out of Washington DC. They only chose 3 cities, and Memphis was one of them, the only one in the south.

Some ask, why Memphis? Aside from the fact that we are a medical hub with lots of practitioners here, Memphis is emerging as a leader to improve quality of care. So, this is aimed at helping both patients and healthcare providers.

The CEO of Healthy Memphis Common Table, who played a major role in the pilot program, stresses that this isn’t a popularity contest and doctors didn’t pay for their scores, but it’s a scientifically tested survey.

Everyone involved said this was an accurate, balanced, fair, and focused survey. The 29 questions were mailed out to more than 63,000 patients in Memphis and Shelby County, and roughly 23 thousand responses were sent back, providing a good sample size. That’s an average of 54 per doctor, so it’s enough feedback on the 437 physicians that were analyzed to provide meaningful feedback.

The community average for doctors in the Memphis was an 83, but what exactly does that mean? Is that like getting a B in school?

In looking at the numbers, 98 doctors scored at the highest level. The majority of doctors, 252, scored as average performers. 68 doctors were at the lowest levels, which was about 16% of the group. 19 had no patient response, which means you can’t find much feedback if you search for them.

When glancing at the numbers, the area where many doctors were weak was access to an appointment, and the friendliness and courteousness of the staff – which may come as a surprise to some physicians.

It could be about more than just improving quality. Some believe this might actually be the future of healthcare.

Many doctors said this could be the future reimbursement model for insurance companies, meaning high performing doctors will be recommended for care. Meaning, Memphis may be helping to set the foundation for report cards for doctors in the future, and medicine may become a performance-based business.