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    Patients have ample access to doctor data

    THE GLOBE misleads patients (“A data gap on doctors’ troubles,” Page A1, Feb. 19) by stating that the Board of Registration in Medicine’s physician profiles system “remains silent” on physicians in Massachusetts who have been negligent in their care of patients. The database is silent on those physicians who have lost their licenses because they are prohibited from practicing and therefore don’t see patients. Patients may gain relevant information about a practicing physician’s history, including malpractice judgments, criminal convictions, and disciplinary actions, as well as education and training, with a search using the physician’s name.

    By requiring information that’s more than a decade old and from out-of-state records for physicians now practicing in the state and for those who will never practice here again, the Legislature had added functions to the Board that require substantial verification of data from multiple sources, including fact-checking by physicians for accuracy. That takes time. The board has been judicious in ensuring the accuracy of the information it provides to patients on physicians since the profiles began more than 25 years ago.

    Physicians believe the board should continue to maintain the quality of its data — and we encourage it to do so — as it expands its profiles and provides more information for patients.

    Dr. Richard

    President, Massachusetts
    Medical Society