Analysis of Patients’ Online Ratings of their Physicians Over a 5-year Period

The use of physician review sites are steadily increasing among patients in the US. With their popularity, physicians worry that the sites will simply become an outlet for angry patients. A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research discusses the changing landscape of physician quality reporting. The study’s objective was “to describe trends in patients’ online ratings over time, across specialties, to identify what physician characteristics influence online ratings, and to examine how the value of ratings reflects physician quality.”

The study found that:

– By January 2010, 1 in 6 practicing US physicians received an online review.

– Obstetrician / Gynecologists were twice as likely to be rated as other physicians.

– Online reviews were generally positive (3.93 on a scale of 1 to 5).

– Based on the Virginia physician population, long-time graduates were more likely to be rated, while physicians who graduated in recent years received higher average ratings.

– Patients gave slightly higher ratings to board-certified physicians, those who graduated from highly rated medical schools, and those without malpractice claims.

In conclusion, the study found “statistically significant correlations between the value of ratings and physician experience, board certification, education, and malpractice claims, suggesting a positive correlation between online ratings and physician quality.” 

Click here to read the full report in the National Institute of Health.

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