Physician Quality

V. Key Health Policy Issues >> M. Quality/Satisfaction>> Quality Improvement >> Physician Quality (last updated 6.27.16)

Analysis

On-Line Physician Ratings

Number of Sites. According to Wall Street Journal (5.20.14), “experts say there some 40 to 50 online sites that include doctor reviews or ratings. The three big ones—Healthgrades, RateMDs.com and Vitals—all say they are seeing significant growth in terms of number of reviews and unique visitors.

  • Angie’s List includes separate ratings for dentists, dermatologists, OBGYN, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, plastic Surgeons, primary care, and psychiatrists.
  • Consumers’  Checkbook provides nonprofit ratings of doctors and dentists
  • Florida On-Line Physician Profiles
  • HealthGrades.com, Find a Doctor
  • Physician Compare. Physician Compare (run by Medicare.gov) has information about Medicare-enrolled physicians and healthcare professionals.
  • RateMDs.com. Free directory of consumer ratings of MDs; includes 1.37 million doctors in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Vitals.com. More than 120 million people visit Vitals each year to find, compare, and talk about physicians. From background data to patient reviews, Vitals provides the most accurate data on a doctor’s education, specialties and practice areas, hospital affiliations, awards, contact information, accepted insurance types, visit cost and more.
  • Yelp.com includes health and medical reviews by consumers.

Use of Sites. According to Wall Street Journal (5.20.14), “about 25% of U.S. adults consulted online physician-rating sites, and more than a third of them went to a physician or avoided one based on the ratings, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.”

Accuracy of Sites. According to Wall Street Journal (5.20.14), “in another study currently being reviewed for publication, Dr. Gao and Ritu Agarwal, co-directors of the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems, suggest online reviews are generally reliable indicators of patients’ opinions.”

Physician Perceptions of Own Ratings. According to Wall Street Journal (5.20.14), “a study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that online reviews were overall positive, with nearly half of the physicians getting a perfect ranking. “We found quite a striking difference between what physicians perceive about their ratings and what patients actually say about their doctors,” says Guodong (Gordon) Gao, a professor of information systems at the University of Maryland and lead author of the 2012 study.”

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