Online physician reviews are met with distrust among medical professionals
Topic: Online physician reviews are met with distrust among medical professionals
Online consumer reviews play an important role in almost every consumer industry – from dining and shopping, to travel and technology. But what do online reviews of physicians tell consumers?
In a new study, researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas investigated whether patient-generated online reviews of physicians accurately reflect the quality of care.
While many patients utilize online reviews to decide which physicians they should see, some physicians have become wary of review websites, with some even filing defamation lawsuits over negative patient reviews. In short, patients tend to trust the reviews, while physicians don’t.
Publishing in Information Systems Research, the team examined the relationship between online reviews of physicians and their patients’ actual clinical outcomes. They wanted to know how much consumers can rely on the reviews, specifically in regard to chronic disease care.
Prior research on online reviews of physicians is rather limited and does not cover chronic diseases in general. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of the $3.5 trillion that the U.S. spends annually on healthcare goes toward patients with chronic conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and long-term mental health issues.
By definition, chronic diseases are treatable but not curable – which makes care for such ailments a contrast to acute care, such as surgery to fix a broken leg. Performance on acute care procedures tends to be cut-and-dried: The physician did a good job fixing the broken leg or they didn’t. Chronic diseases, with no visible benchmark for recovery, require care that is often more difficult to rank.
Add the fact that a person with a chronic disease may see several physicians over years, and that various social and economic factors oftentimes influence chronic disease treatment outcomes, it becomes apparent that writing accurate reviews is even more challenging for a patient.
Topic Discussed: Online physician reviews are met with distrust among medical professionals
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