What do patients and physicians really think about online reviews and ratings of physicians and healthcare practices? The Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) decided to find out.
JGIM’s recent report, Physician and Patient Views on Public Physician Rating Websites: A Cross-Sectional Study, surveyed 828 physicians affiliated with one of four hospitals in large healthcare organizations across eastern Massachusetts, as well as 494 adult patients who received care in the system throughout May 2015.
Some highlights of the study include:
- Physicians reported higher levels of agreement with the accuracy of numerical data (53 percent) and narrative comments (62 percent) from health system patient experience surveys, while only 36 percent agreed to the accuracy on independent online rating and review sites.
- On the other hand, 57 percent of patients reported trusting the accuracy of data obtained from independent websites more than health system patient experience data.
- Overwhelmingly, 78 percent of physicians believed that comments published online would increase their job stress, and some even believed this could have a negative effect on the physician-patient relationship.
- However, 51 percent of patients supported posting comments online and visible to the public, compared to 21 percent of physicians.
All in all, physicians and patients have differing views on whether third-party rating and review sites or patient experience survey data published on health system websites are the more reliable source of information—or even if such data should be shared publicly at all. Physicians are certainly concerned about the impact negative online ratings and reviews can have, however patients feel that such information empowers them to make better informed health‐related choices.
While healthcare practices may be hesitant to implement a transparency initiative in their organization, digital consumerism continues to disrupt healthcare, moving patient experience beyond care alone. Online reviews are increasing and consumers are more frequently heading online to make their healthcare choices. Because of this, healthcare systems that don’t adopt a consumer-driven mindset are likely to fall behind on loyalty and acquisition of new patients. Transparency and patient engagement are essential for healthcare organizations that want to better understand consumer challenges and needs, and improve patient experience.
About the Author
Sabrina helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.