Background: The goal of this study was to evaluate current physician ratings websites (PRWs) to determine which
factors correlated to higher physician scores and evaluate physician perspective of PRWs.
Methods: This study evaluated two popular websites, Healthgrades.com and Vitals.com, to gather information on
practicing physician members of the American Shoulder and Elbow Society database. A survey was conducted of
the American Shoulder and Elbow Society (ASES) membership to gather data on the perception held by individual
physicians regarding PRWs.
Results: We found that patients were more likely to give physicians positive reviews and the average overall score
was 8.35 (3.75-10). Patient wait time (P=0.052) trended toward significance as a major factor in determining the
overall scores, while ratings in both physician bedside manner (P=0.001) and physician/staff courtesy (P=0.002)
were significant in reflecting the overall score given to the physician. According to our survey, a majority of the
respondents were indifferent to highly unfavorable to PRWs (88%) and the validity of their ratings (78%).
Conclusion: As PRWs become increasingly popular amongst patients in this digital age, it is critical to understand that
the scores are not reflective of a significant proportion of the physicians’ patient population. Physicians can use this
study to determine what affects a patient’s experience and focus efforts on improving patients’ perception of quality,
overall satisfaction, and overall care. Consumers may use this study to increase their awareness of the potential for
significant sampling error inherent in PRWs when making decisions about their care.
Level of evidence: III