Online ratings do not correlate to physician performance

Online ratings of physicians do not accurately represent quality or value of care, according ot a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Patients looking for a high-quality physician often turn to online consumer ratings to pick out their physicians, but whether these measures accurately represent clinical performance is a topic for debate. This study examined online ratings of specialist physicians from five platforms to predict quality and value of care.

The study included 78 physicians representing eight specialties and examined consumer ratings with performance scores including 30-day readmission, length of stay and cost of care. Results showed no significant correlations between consumer ratings and specialty performance scores. Additionally, only 5 to 32 percent of physicians with low performance scores had low consumer ratings.

“Online ratings of specialist physicians do not predict objective measures of quality of care or peer assessment of clinical performance,” wrote first author Timothy Daskivich and colleagues. “Scores are consistent across platforms, suggesting that they jointly measure a latent construct that is unrelated to performance. Online consumer ratings should not be used in isolation to select physicians, given their poor association with clinical performance.”