Negative online physician reviews do not affect patient satisfaction surveys, study shows

Mackenzie Garrity -   Print  |
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While physicians may receive negative reviews online, these reviews do not reflect similar responses in patient satisfaction surveys, according to a study publishing in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers, however, discovered when comparing colleagues without negative reviews to those with negative reviews, physicians with negative reviews score lower on factors beyond patient interaction and their immediate control.

With one and six physicians being rated online by patients, Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic researchers used Google searches and alerts to track negative reviews of Mayo Clinic physicians online between September and December 2014. Of Mayo Clinic's 2,148 physicians, 113 had negative online reviews, spanning 28 departments and divisions.

Researchers then compared the physicians' Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey scores with the scores of other Mayo Clinic physicians in similar fields who did not receive negative online reviews. No statistical differences were found between overall scores or patient communication scores.

Reasons for negative reviews beyond the physicians control included interaction with desk staff, nursing, physical environment, appointment access, waiting time, problem resolution, billing and parking. No data showed specific instances or patient experiences led to negative reviews.

There were study limitations, which researchers acknowledged, such as small physician groups, time period and using a single search engine.

Recently U.S. News & World Report collaborated with the Binary Fountain to add patient experience ratings to online reviews. This followed a nation-wide survey that found 75 percent of Americans indicated online ratings and reviews influenced their physician choice.

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