What Google won’t tell you about a doctor

Suppose you are looking for a medical specialist who is “the best” at treating your condition or giving you an opinion. Or, are you a medical technology startup founder interested in doing customer discovery with key opinion leaders or others who are subject matter experts that treat many patients with the a certain condition. Perhaps you are a service provider looking to target high net worth clients, like doctors in as particular specialty,. What do you do? Most do an online search with Google or Linkedin. But, Google and Linkedin won’t tell you many things you want to know.

What’s more, when it comes to generating leads and converting them to customers, Coldlinking usually does not work and is generally not scaleable. Many times,the juice is not just worth the squeeze.

Several companies are promoting themselves as the “Google for doctors” or even all healthcare providers. Here are some things to look for when you pull back the curtain to see the database and how it works:

  1. There are approximately 10 million medical doctors in the world. Which ones are included?
  2. Which databases have been used? Are they publically available ones, like CMS or state healthcare information exchange or all payor claims databases or are they proprietary?
  3. How are the algorithms constructed and are the transparent and explainable?
  4. Are vendors practicing responsible AI? Responsible AI is the practice of designing, developing, and deploying AI with good intention to empower employees and businesses, and fairly impact customers and society—allowing companies to engender trust and scale AI with confidence.
  5. What kind of key word search filters are there so you can find exactly who and what you are looking for in the shortest time?
  6. What contact information is listed and how do you know if and how a potential contact will be receptive you?
  7. Are the data inputs about a given doctor valid and meaningful? Do the number of publications scraped from another site really mean anything?
  8. Are the quality outputs valid and meaningful? Are experience or customer/patient ratings being used as a surrogate for quality?
  9. How much is the rankings are based on marketing and sponsorship dollars? Are you just seeing the results of another sickcare beauty pageant?
  10. What is the price of all this information? Who pays and what is the value?

Google’s company mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. The same is happening using AI to organize the world’s healthcare professional information.

Large technology companies are coming under more scrutiny lately from the legal system and regulators. For instance, Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) App Store policies were challenged in a lawsuit brought by Fortnite maker Epic Games, Inc.

The U.S. Senate conducted hearings with a Facebook, Inc. (FB) whistleblower.

Antitrust regulators have turned their attention to Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) and Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGGOOGL) Google for alleged anticompetitive behavior as well.

Primum non nocere.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs