Hospitals Weigh In on Doctor Ratings as Websites Grow in Popularity

April 19, 2014 in News

As hospitals nationwide struggle with the best response to negative reviews of their doctors, some facilities are choosing to post patients’ reviews of those doctors directly on the hospitals’ websites, Kaiser Health News‘ “Capsules” reports (Galewitz, “Capsules,” Kaiser Health News, 4/17).

Background

The rise of consumer-driven websites, such as Consumer Reports and Yelp, and medical information sites, such as Healthgrades and Vitals, has allowed patients to read doctor ratings based on patient comments and patient surveys. A research letter published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that 25% of patients consulted such websites when choosing a primary care physician in 2012.

Hospitals Post Their Own Online Reviews

In 2012, the University of Utah Health Care became the first hospital to post results of patient surveys on the hospital’s website after noticing negative reviews surfacing on the Internet. The hospital used information from patient surveys it was already administering at random and included both positive and negative feedback.

Brian Gresh, senior director for interactive marketing and Web at the facility, said, “We knew our patient satisfaction scores were really strong, and we had a good story to share with our patients.”

Nearly two years later, other hospitals and health systems are considering taking similar action, including:

  • Integris Health, Oklahoma’s largest health system, which has plans to start posting patient satisfaction scores for 70 of its physicians online later this month; and
  • Cleveland Clinic, which a few years ago began showing online ratings to their physicians in an effort to push them to improve.

James Merlino, chief experience officer at Cleveland Clinic, described the online patient satisfaction postings as “a trend that is coming.” He said that if the Clinic begins posting doctors ratings online, they may also publish the results of patient experience surveys that are turned into Medicare to ensure that the move is more than a “marketing gimmick” (“Capsules,” Kaiser Health News, 4/17).

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