The Reliability of Patient Reviews
The next time you read a review of a doctor on a patient-evaluation site, don’t take it too seriously.
A recent study found that on many physician-review websites, there are an average of just 2.4 patients evaluating each physician.
"Consumers should be cautious when they look at these ratings," first author Chandy Ellimoottil, MD, of the Loyola University Medical School’s Department of Urology, said in a statement. “These sites have potential to help inform consumers. But the sites need more reviews to make them more reliable."
The researchers focused on 500 randomly selected urologists and found that 79.6 of them were rated by at least one of ten free physician-review websites. Eighty-six percent of the urologists had positive ratings, while 36 percent had “highly positive” ratings. But since so few patients review the physicians, a few highly positive or negative review could skew the ratings, Ellimoottil said.
Among the websites, the researchers found, according to a Loyola University news release, that Healthgrades posted reviews on 54 percent of the physicians, followed in order by Vitals.com, 45 percent of physicians; Avvo.com, 39 percent; RateMDs.com, 25 percent; Drscore, 13 percent; Revolutionhealth.com, 5 percent; Kudzu.com and Healthcarereviews.com, 1 percent; and Zocdoc.com and Yelp.com, less than 1 percent.
The findings were published in the Journal of Urology.