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Gesundheitswesen. 2012 Aug;74(8-9):e61-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1297254. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

[German language physician rating sites].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Institut für Geschichte, Ethik und Philosophie der Medizin, Hannover. strech.daniel@mh-hannover.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In physician rating sites (PRS), patients are able to share their experiences and indicate their satisfaction in qualitative and quantitative form. This information should support other patients in the search for a suitable physician and can serve as a form of anonymous feedback for physicians. Medical association representatives are often concerned that such reviews primarily aim at defamation. Furthermore, there are various aspects of medical work that cannot be adequately evaluated solely through the patients. In the United States of America, the majority of such previous reviews were shown to be positive. It has yet to be examined in the German and English speaking regions where distinct criteria presently allow patients to express their satisfaction through PRS.

METHOD:

Based on the systematic review of patient satisfaction questionnaires, a set of criteria was created that represents the dimensions of patient satisfaction. German and English language physician rating sites were systematically researched using the Internet search machines "Google" and "Yahoo". The identified PRS were then evaluated with the help of the aforementioned set of criteria. In order to survey the tendency of the amount and content of reviews, a stratified sample of members of the Panel Doctor's Association in Hamburg and Thuringia was generated. A total of 298 randomly selected physicians were searched for in 6 German-language PRS regarding potential reviews.

RESULTS:

Some of the key features of the relation-ship between physicians and patients, such as medical competence, information, and consultation, were surveyed by more than three-fourths of the German-speaking PRS; however, other features such as communication were only sampled by one. As opposed to formal points of view, office facilities and organisation were assessed by all PRS. General reviews on treatment success and satisfaction were displayed in more than half of the reviews. Between 75% and 98% of physicians from the random sampling could be found in one of the 6 German language physician rating sites. Of the randomly sampled physicians, between 3% and 28% were evaluated by at least one patient. On average, the ratings for the total sample (on a scale of 1=good to 3=poor) ranged from 1.1 to 1.5, which clearly represents a positive trend. There were no differences found in terms of quantity and quality of ratings, or concerning the identifiability of physicians in the cases of Thuringia and Hamburg.

CONCLUSION:

The various PRS vary significantly in the selection and explanation of criteria for the evaluation of medical quality and, respectively, patient satisfaction. The specific selection and explanation of certain evaluation criteria could have a lasting effect on the understanding of physician quality and patient self-conception in the case of increased utilisation of PRS. The lack of standards for medical evaluation for PRS as well as poorly differentiated reviews, since reviews were usually positive, generally speak for the need for full text comments on PRS. This would enable peer-to-peer communication amongst users, especially regarding the practical relevance of evaluation criteria. Through this interaction between PRS users, user-oriented standards can be established and the advanced use of physician rating sites can be promoted.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

PMID:
22189671
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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