Is There an Association Between Number of Patients Doctor Sees and Online Patient Rating?

Bottom Line: Lower online patient ratings for urologists in California were associated with practices that saw more patients.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Online reviews are an increasingly popular tool for patients to evaluate and choose physicians. Online reviews are influenced by many factors, including patient wait times; however, little else is known about the effect of patient practice volume on physician reviews.

Who and When: A review of 2014 Medicare data for 665 urologists in California

What (Study Measures): Medicare billing data, including number of patients seen per urology practice (exposure); online patient ratings (outcome)

How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control all the natural differences that could explain the study findings.

Authors: Gregory P. Murphy, M.D., Washington University, St. Louis, and coauthors

Results: Higher online patient ratings were associated with urologists who saw fewer Medicare patients.

Study Limitation: The data may not accurately represent a physician’s non-Medicare patient population.

Study Conclusions: Urologists in California who saw more patients tended to have lower online patient ratings but more research is needed to understand the factors that lead to more satisfied patients.

For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.0149)