Analysis of 4999 Online Physician-Reviews Indicates That Most Patients Give Physicians a Favorable Rating



Bassam Kadry* Bassam Kadry*, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, United States

Track: Research
Presentation Topic: Consumer empowerment, patient-physician relationship, and sociotechnical issues
Presentation Type: Oral presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Building: LKSC Conference Center Stanford
Room: Lower Auditorium 120
Date: 2011-09-18 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Last modified: 2011-08-12
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Abstract


Background
A majority of Americans use the Internet to search for health-related information. Many online physician review sites provide patients with information about physicians and allow patients to rate physicians. The goals of this study were to 1) determine the most frequently visited physician-review websites that have user-generated content; 2) evaluate the available information on these websites and the methods used by each site to rate physicians; 3) analyze online ratings of 4999 physician reviews.
Methods
On 10/1/2010 the ten most frequently visited online physician-review sites with user-generated content were identified using Google Trends. Each site was then studied to evaluate the available information (e.g., board certification, years in practice), the types of rating scales (e.g., 1-5, 1-4, 1-100), and dimensions of care (e.g., recommend to a friend, waiting room time) that patients were asked to rate physicians. Data from 4999 physician-reviews without identifiers were analyzed to assess how physicians are rated online.
Results
The 10 most commonly visited websites with user-generated content were: HealthGrades.com, Vitals.com, Yelp.com, YP.com, RevolutionHealth.com, RateMD.com, Angieslist.com, Checkbook.org, Kudzu.com, and ZocDoc.com. A total of 49 different dimensions of care were rated by patients, with a median=4.5 (mean 4.9, SD 2.8, range 1 – 9) questions per site. Depending on the scale used for each physician-review website the average ratings equaled 77 (standard deviation/median/range = 11/76/33-100) for sites using a 100-point scale, 3.84 (0.98/3.8/1-5) for sites using a 5-point scale, and 3.1 (0.72/3/1-4) for sites using a 4-point scale. 62% of the reviews on the 100-point scale were above 75, 58% were rated 4 or 5 on sites with a 5-point scale, and 74% were rated 3 or 4 on sites with a 4-point scale. The patient’s single overall final rating of the physician correlated well with the other more specific dimensions of care rated by patients for the same physician. (Pearson Correlation 0.73, P< 0.001)
Conclusions
Most patients give physicians a favorable rating on online physician review sites. A single overall rating to evaluate physicians may be sufficient to assess a patient’s general opinion of the physician. The optimal content and rating methodology that is useful to patients when visiting online physician-review sites deserves further study.

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