Web reviews of urologists generally positive

January 4, 2013

Online reviews of urologists tend to be positive, but this consensus is generally composed of only two or three patient scores per physician, researchers report.

Online reviews of urologists tend to be positive, but this consensus is generally composed of only two or three patient scores per physician, researchers report.

For their study, researchers from Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL, analyzed ratings of 500 U.S. urologists on 10 popular physician review websites, including Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com, and RateMDs.com.

Most physicians had positive ratings (86%) on physician review websites (PRWs), with 36% having highly positive ratings. On average, the composite rating was based on scores from only 2.4 submitted ratings. The median score, on a scale of 0 to 1, was 0.81 for male doctors and 0.82 for female doctors.

"We advise physicians and patients to be aware that most urologists are rated on at least one PRW and most ratings and reviews are favorable, composite scores are typically based on a small number of reviews and can therefore be volatile," concluded the authors, led by Chandy Ellimoottil, MD.

"The biggest stumbling block at present for these sites to really be useful for patients is just the very limited number of reviews that exist," Peter Lindenauer, MD, MSc, of Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA, told Reuters Health.

"You need to be aware that these websites are not regulated-there's no verification that the patients were actually patients," added Dr. Lindenauer, who was not involved with the study, which was published online in the Journal of Urology (Dec. 10, 2012).