Study finds online review sites don't accurately reflect physician care quality

Because patients often rate their physicians based on nonclinical factors like bedside manner, top-rated physicians on popular online review sites are not necessarily those providing the highest quality of care, a recent study suggests.

The study, conducted by healthcare decision support and concierge company ConsumerMedical, compared rankings from Yelp, Vitals and Healthgrades with rankings based on more than 5 billion procedure-level data points, including metrics such as patient readmission rates, surgical infection rates, average length of stay, procedure volume and patient outcomes. Researchers took lists of the top 10 physicians across five specialties in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles from each of the websites and compared them to the ConsumerMedical-generated lists of the top 10 physicians by specialty in each city.

They found only a 2 percent overlap.

"This research confirms what we have long suspected," ConsumerMedical CEO David Hines said in a press release. "Online patient reviews tend to reflect a patient's care experiences, such as the physician's bedside manner. While these attributes are important, they are simply not the main indicators of a physician's overall quality; sadly you can have a very kind orthopedic surgeon whose patients have hospital readmission rates that are through the roof."

Read more here.


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