TITLE

An Analysis of Online Evaluations on a Physician Rating Website: Evidence From a German Public Reporting Instrument

AUTHOR(S)
Emmert, Martin; Meier, Florian
PUB. DATE
August 2013
SOURCE
Journal of Medical Internet Research;Aug2013, Vol. 15 Issue 8, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Background: Physician rating websites (PRW) have been gaining in popularity among patients who are seeking a physician. However, little evidence is available on the number, distribution, or trend of evaluations on PRWs. Furthermore, there is no published evidence available that analyzes the characteristics of the patients who provide ratings on PRWs. Objective: The objective of the study was to analyze all physician evaluations that were posted on the German PRW, jameda, in 2012. Methods: Data from the German PRW, jameda, from 2012 were analyzed and contained 127,192 ratings of 53,585 physicians from 107,148 patients. Information included medical specialty and gender of the physician, age, gender, and health insurance status of the patient, as well as the results of the physician ratings. Statistical analysis was carried out using the median test and Kendall Tau-b test. Results: Thirty-seven percent of all German physicians were rated on jameda in 2012. Nearly half of those physicians were rated once, and less than 2% were rated more than ten times (mean number of ratings 2.37, SD 3.17). About one third of all rated physicians were female. Rating patients were mostly female (60%), between 30-50 years (51%) and covered by Statutory Health Insurance (83%). A mean of 1.19 evaluations per patient could be calculated (SD 0.778). Most of the rated medical specialties were orthopedists, dermatologists, and gynecologists. Two thirds of all ratings could be assigned to the best category, "very good". Female physicians had significantly better ratings than did their male colleagues (P<.001). Additionally, significant rating differences existed between medical specialties (P<.001). It could further be shown that older patients gave better ratings than did their younger counterparts (P<.001). The same was true for patients covered by private health insurance; they gave more favorable evaluations than did patients covered by statutory health insurance (P<.001). No significant rating differences could be detected between female and male patients (P=.505). The likelihood of a good rating was shown to increase with a rising number of both physician and patient ratings. Conclusions: Our findings are mostly in line with those published for PRWs from the United States. It could be shown that most of the ratings were positive, and differences existed regarding sociodemographic characteristics of both physicians and patients. An increase in the usage of PRWs might contribute to reducing the lack of publicly available information on physician quality. However, it remains unclear whether PRWs have the potential to reflect the quality of care offered by individual health care providers. Further research should assess in more detail the motivation of patients who rate their physicians online. (J Med Internet Res 2013;15(8):e157)
ACCESSION #
90073089

 

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