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Physicians Wary of Online Doctor Ratings, Survey Says

January 18, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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A new survey from the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE)  found that physician leaders view online physician ratings as inaccurate, unreliable and not widely used among patients.

The survey, which included 730 ACPE members, found that physicians much prefer internal organizational ratings based on actual performance, as opposed to the consumer websites that many physicians consider to be nothing more than “popularity contests.” Results showed that many physician leaders view online reviews as little more than popularity contests. Complaints of sampling bias, invalid measurements of competency andfrustration steered many respondents away from checking the rating sites.

“Healthcare, like most all other industries, has clearly entered an era where measurement and reporting have increasing importance,” Peter Angood, M.D., ACPE CEO, 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.”

Only 12 percent of respondents believe patient online reviews are helpful. A far greater number (29 percent) said they are not used very much by patients and don’t affect their organization; 26 percent called them a nuisance.

Most of the survey respondents (69 percent) admitted they checked their profile on an online consumer website, but 55 percent believed few of their patients have used an online physician rating site. Of the physicians who checked their online profiles, 39 percent said they agreed with their ratings and 42 percent said they partially agreed. Nineteen percent didn’t agree.

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