Health Grades

Thinking about buying a new car, laptop, or television? Even if it’s something less grand like a music CD or book, most consumers check out detailed reviews from experts and feedback from people who’ve already purchased the item before making their decision to buy. This information is easy to find in the retail sector on sites like Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN), Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), Consumer Reports, Epinions.com, and CNET (Nasdaq: CNET).

But what if you’re looking for the best cardiothoracic surgeon and hospital to have your heart valve replacement surgery? Enter Health Grades Inc. (Nasdaq: HGRD). Healthgrades.com is the top site for physician, hospital and nursing home ratings and qualitative information.

Here’s a quick rundown on what the firm offers…

• It critiques around 5,000 hospitals in 13 therapeutic areas.

• It provides information on 17,000 conditions and procedures and 7,800 symptoms on its site: WrongDiagnosis.com.

• It rates over 800,000 physicians, with about 55,000 receiving HGRD’s coveted five-star rating.

• Patients can also find out how much a procedure in their area should cost out-of-pocket if they want to comparison shop among hospitals.

That’s useful information if a patient needs bypass surgery and is torn between two excellent hospitals in his/her area. Health Grades allows patients to see which one betters the other in terms of cardiology and surgeons and which one suits their financial situation. And if they want more information on a facility, they can buy an in-depth report for $13.

Health Grades’ website generates over 15 million unique visitors per month. But the company isn’t just a ratings-based service. Its technology is top-notch and individually tailored to its clients…

High-Tech Health

For example, Health Grades is able to break down its data into small, highly specific chunks for advertisers. It can tell a hospital in St. Louis with a five-star rating in women’s health the exact times of day that its target audience tends to search for women’s health information in that city. Health Grades also has a free iPhone application called iTriage, which allows users to look up information on symptoms and healthcare providers based on their location. Sounds like a useful tool for patients, right?

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