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Study Finds Little Consistency in Doctor Reviews on Three Physician Rating Websites

Study Finds Little Consistency in Doctor Reviews on Three Physician Rating Websites
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Hospital for Special Surgery


Hospital for Special Surgery (click to view)

Hospital for Special Surgery

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Researchers analyzed data from the websites: Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com and Ratemds.com.

When looking for a doctor, many consumers turn to websites that post physician ratings and reviews. A study at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) found that reviews for individual sports medicine doctors were inconsistent when compared on three popular physician rating websites.

“Consumer-driven healthcare and an increasing emphasis on quality metrics have encouraged patient engagement in the rating of healthcare. As such, online physician rating websites have become mainstream and may play a potential role in future healthcare policy,” said Benedict Nwachukwu, MD, MBA, who presented the findings at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting in San Diego on March 14.

“Although it is debatable whether these websites in their current form truly capture patient satisfaction and objectively evaluate the delivery of care, they represent a potential tool for both payors and healthcare systems to gauge how surgeons are assessed by their patients,” said Anil Ranawat, MD, senior investigator and a sports medicine surgeon at HSS. “Historically, three key qualities — affability, availability and ability, known as the ‘three As’ — have been suggested to promote a successful surgical career and favorable interactions with patients.”


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To identify surgeons for the study, researchers accessed the online member directory of The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Their query in May 2015 yielded 2,813 entries. Investigators selected every tenth surgeon profile on a continuous basis and came up with 275 sports medicine surgeons to include in their study.

Out of 2,341 written comments that were analyzed, perceived surgeon competence and communication skills influenced the scores for the highest and lowest-rated surgeons, but did not affect scores for those with average ratings.

Click here to read the full press release.

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