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Study Finds Online Physician Rating Sites Fail to Predict Actual Peformance on Measures of Quality, Value, Peer Review

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A new study, published in JAIMA (Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association), found that online ratings of specialist physicians do not predict objective measures of quality of care or peer assessment of clinical performance.  Patients use online consumer ratings to identify high-performing physicians, but it was unclear if ratings were valid measures of clinical performance. The authors sought to determine whether online ratings of specialist physicians from 5 platforms predict quality of care, value of care, and peer-assessed physician performance. Observational studies of 78 physicians representing 8 medical and surgical specialities were undertaken  to asses the association of consumer ratings with specialty-specific performance scores (metrics including adherence to Choosing Wisely measures, 30-day readmissions, length of stay, and adjusted cost of care), primary care physician peer-review scores, and administrator peer-review scores. The study concluded that online consumer ratings should not be used in isolation to select physicians, given their poor association with clinical performance.

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