5 notes on factors affecting online spine surgeon ratings — social media, wait times & more


A new study published in The Spine Journal examines how social media, training and demographics affect online reviews of spine surgeons.


Study authors examined spine surgeons reviewed on Healthgrades, Vitals and Google's online rating websites as of Aug. 17, 2017, and compiled data on the comments, overall rating, patient-reported wait times, physician website presence and physician social media presence. There were 137 orthopedic spine surgeons and 78 neurosurgeons included in the study.

Researchers found:

1. While almost all surgeons in the study had an institutional or personal website, just 38.6 percent had a social media outlet on either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

2. The physicians with personal and institutional websites had higher Google scores, while spine surgeons with a social media presence had a significantly higher number of ratings and comments on all three rating sites.

3. Social media presence didn't correlate with higher ratings, and only Vitals scores had a correlation between the overall score, age, private institution and orthopedic surgery training.

4. When wait times were more than 30 minutes, patients were more likely to report worse overall scores on all three ratings sites.

5. The ratings websites correlated significantly with each other. "Understanding the factors that optimize a patient's overall experience with a physician is an important and emerging outcome measure for the future of patient-centered healthcare," the study authors concluded.

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