Health Care Quality Transparency: If You Build It, Will Patients Come?: "In recent years, significant energy has been invested in developing health care price and quality information in hopes of engaging consumers to be more active when making health care choices. Although research shows that provider quality can vary greatly, many Americans still rely on friends and family when choosing a physician or hospital. For public and private payers seeking to encourage consumers to use quality information when choosing physicians, hospitals and other providers, a critical first step is to raise consumer awareness of the existence and serious implications of provider quality gaps. Unlike price transparency, where consumer needs vary greatly depending on whether they are insured or not, and if they are insured, how their benefits are structured, theoretically all consumers can benefit from the same information on the quality of care provided by individual physicians, medical groups, hospitals and other providers. Until consumers are motivated to use quality information to choose providers, the main value of public quality reporting will likely be to motivate providers to improve their performance."
The fact that so many patients do use websites as their first choice when trying to learn more about their medical problems and treatment options ( as compared to going to a doctor), I think it's just a matter of time that reliable internet healthcare portals will become port of first call for patients. It's much easier ( and cheaper) to access a website than your doctor !