Increasingly, patients use consumer-generated online ratings as a source of physician quality information. Research has shown that “one-third of consumers in the United States who consulted physician website ratings reported selecting and/or avoiding physicians because of these ratings.”
[Photo: Dr. Jeffrey McCullough]
Yet, despite rising consumer interest, little is known about the actual association between online rating and physician quality.
A recent study examining this relationship was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
For the study, researchers partnered with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) to look at the relationship between online ratings and the quality of diabetes care. They extracted information from eight leading health-based websites that were publicly available and free of charge. These data were matched to a variety of quality and patient satisfaction measures for ABIM members.
“We found no evidence that website ratings were associated with clinical quality,” said a study author Dr. Jeffrey McCullough, associate professor in the School of Public Health. “It is important for people to understand that physician website ratings may serve as an important source of consumer satisfaction information, but consumers should be cautious when using them to judge clinical quality.”