Who to trust: Physicians and patients strongly disagree on physician rating website accuracy — 10 takeaways

Practice Management

A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine compared patient and physician perspectives on increasingly popular physician rating websites.

Here are 10 things to know:


1. The study's surveys were filled out by 828 physicians and 494 adult patients in August 2015 after the patients had received care in the physicians' system in May 2015.


2. Of the included physicians, 53 percent reported visiting a physician rating website, while 39 percent of patients had done so.


3. Numerical data found on health system patient experience surveys was trusted by 53 percent of physicians and 62 percent trusted the added comments. Only 36 percent of the physicians trusted numerical data and narrative comments found on independent websites.


4. On the other hand, 57 percent of patients trusted data obtained from independent websites as opposed to the 45 percent of those who preferred health system patient surveys.


5. The prospect of posting narrative comments online for all to read was supported by 21 percent of physicians and 51 percent of patients.


6. Most physicians (78 percent) believed that their job stress would rise dramatically if narrative comments were posted online.


7. Of the patients involved in the study, 29 percent believed that posting narrative comments online would cause them to be less open.


8. Nearly half (46 percent) of the physicians believed that online narrative comments would damage physician-patient relationships.


9. The researchers concluded that physicians and patients have starkly different views when it comes to physician rating websites.


10. The Boston-based researchers were Alison M. Holliday of Harvard Medical School; Allen Kachalia, MD, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital; Gregg S. Meyer, MD, of Harvard Medical School, Partners Healthcare System and Massachusetts General Hospital; and Thomas D. Sequist, MD, of Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Partners Healthcare System conducted the study.

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