Online Physician Ratings "Unreliable"

Laura Joszt

Physician leaders view online physician ratings as inaccurate, unreliable and not widely used among patients; however, they recognize that ratings are here to stay as health care replaces value with volume.

Physicians and hospitals are constantly incorporating technology into care — using social media, e-prescribing and keeping in contact with patient via email — and yet online physician reviews never caught on.

A recent survey from the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) discovered that physician leaders view online physician ratings as inaccurate, unreliable and not widely used among patients.

Despite skepticism about the accuracy of online ratings, respondents admitted that ratings are here to stay since value is replacing volume in health care.

“Health care, like most other industries, has clearly entered an era where measurement and reporting have increasing importance,” Peter Angood, MD, chief executive officer of ACPE, said in a statement. “This important new survey illustrates the strong concern among physician leaders about the quality and integrity of current reporting strategies and the data they are based upon.”

Just 12% of the 700 physician executives who responded said online patient reviews are helpful; however, 29% said they aren’t used much by patients and 26% called them a nuisance.

Roughly half (55%) of respondents believed that only 25% or less of patients have used an online physician rating site. And the most popular ratings site among physician leaders who have checked their online profile is, by far, Healthgrades.com (89%). The second-most popular site was Vitals.com.

Of physicians who have checked their ratings, 81% completely or partially agreed with what they received, while 19% said they didn’t agree at all.

The ACPE survey also revealed skepticism about external ratings by organizations like the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the Joint Commission and Press Ganey. Internal ratings by their own organizations were much more popular. Almost three-quarters (71%) of physician leaders supported internal ratings, 12% were neutral and 7% said they were a waste of time.

Read more:

Survey Finds Physicians Very Wary of Doctor Ratings — ACPE.org