Study: Higher patient loads linked to worse patient-reported physician ratings

As online reviews become an increasingly popular tool for patients to evaluate and choose physicians, practices with higher patient volumes may be linked to lower physician ratings, according to a research letter published in JAMA Surgery.

The researchers analyzed 2014 Medicare billing data from 665 California urologists to compare against patients' online reviews, which researchers collected from four websites — Ratemd, Healthgrades, Vitals and Yelp.

Urologists who saw a higher number of patients at their practices frequently experienced increased wait times and shorter patient-physician interactions, as noted in patients' reviews. Additionally, physicians who billed for a greater number of services were more likely to have lower ratings on website reviews.

Urologists at academic institutions were more likely to receive higher ratings than private practice urologists. However, the researchers noted no significant differences when comparing reviews for female and male physicians.

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