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Docs Would Benefit From Encouraging More Online Patient Reviews

Doctor Reviews 1 870x450Physicians should encourage patients to leave reviews on performance-rating websites to create a more even and accurate picture of their performance, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology, Reuters reports.
Study Details
For the study, lead author Robert Dellavalle of University of Colorado-Aurora’s Anschutz Medical Campus and his research team randomly selected 100 dermatologists from a 2015 list of about 12,000 American Academy of Dermatology members. They then searched those physicians on five ratings sites:

  • Healthgrades.com;
  • RateMDs.com;
  • Vitals.com;
  • Yelp.com; and
  • ZocDoc.com.

Study Findings
The researchers found that each dermatologist was listed on an average of two sites, with an average rating of 3.6 out of five.
Overall, the study found too few reviews could skew a doctor’s rating. If the total number of reviews were low, one or two good or bad reviews could create an unfair impression of a doctor, according to the study authors. They suggested having doctors facilitate more transparency by encouraging all patients to leave online reviews.
Dellavalle said, “Doctors shouldn’t be scared of these sites,” adding, “As physicians, you need [to] be aware of what’s on these sites and use that feedback to improve your services.”
The study noted that the physician rating sites had 6.4 million hits so far in 2015.
Further, about 61% of patients used such sites to select a doctor in 2014 and about one in five patients reported using comments to assess their physicians.
AMA Remains Wary of Online Reviews
In response to a request from Reuters, the American Medical Association said, “Online opinions of physicians should be taken with a grain of salt and should certainly not be a patient’s sole source of information when looking for a new physician.”
AMA added, “There are many good options for patients looking for a new physician. Choosing a physician is more complicated than choosing a good restaurant, and patients owe it to themselves to use the best available resources when making this important decision” (Seaman, Reuters, 12/17).
Source:  iHealthBeat | 12/18/15

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