Busy doctors may have lower online patient ratings

Study finds doctors with a high patient volume have lower patient ratings on online sites. (Getty/monkeybusinessimages)

Doctors who see more patients tend to have lower online patient ratings, a new study found.

That is likely the result of longer wait times and less time spent with patients, a study in JAMA Surgery found.

The study reviewed 2014 Medicare billing data and online reviews for 665 urologists in California and found those with higher patient volume tended to have lower ratings based on four popular ratings sites: RateMDs, Healthgrades, Vitals and Yelp.


13th Partnering with ACOS & IDNS Summit

This two-day summit taking place on June 10–11, 2019, offers a unique opportunity to have invaluable face-to-face time with key executives from various ACOs and IDNs from the entire nation – totaling over 3.5 million patients served in 2018. Exclusively at this summit, attendees are provided with inside information and data from case studies on how to structure an ACO/IDN pitch, allowing them to gain the tools to position their organization as a “strategic partner” to ACOs and IDNs, rather than a merely a “vendor.”

While online reviews are an increasingly popular tool for patients to evaluate and choose physicians, the latest study adds to the research that calls into question their usefulness in judging a doctor’s clinical ability.

Higher online patient ratings were associated with urologists who saw fewer patients, but the authors said more research is needed to understand the factors that lead to more satisfied patients.

Physicians who billed for more services also tended to have lower ratings on the ratings sites and academic physicians tended to have higher ratings than those in private practice.

The mean total number of reviews on the four web sites was 10 for physicians—which points to a problem with those ratings. The websites contain so few online reviews that they are meaningless, a separate JAMA study last year found.

Nearly 60% of patients believe online reviews are important when choosing a physician. Yet, that study found those commercial physician-rating websites are pretty useless in judging a doctor’s patient care.

Another study found the reviews can be a poor indicator of clinical performance. Online ratings of specialist physicians failed to predict their actual performance on measures of quality, value and peer review.

However, doctors make a big mistake when they discover that unhappy patients have posted negative or inaccurate comments about them and do not respond, as FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Suggested Articles

The FTC is suing Surescripts, accusing the health IT company of employing illegal restraints to maintain its monopolies over the e-prescribing market.

Following the death of a nurse who was attacked by a patient, ZDoggMD says action is needed to end the violence against healthcare workers.

Amid last week’s opioid prescriber crackdown, the Justice Department coordinated with local agencies to deploy health workers to help pain patients.