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Study Finds Online Reviews Do Not Reliably Indicate Quality of Care Provided by Physicians

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, writes Healthcare Finance.

Researchers 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. Researchers examined whether chronic disease patients’ reviews can be informative, objective and trustworthy.

Researchers examined 10 years of COPD patient admission-discharge data for hospitals in North Texas, tracking each patient’s clinical journey spanning multiple physicians. They also studied online reviews of physicians on one of the ranking websites and scored the overall sentiments expressed in the text of each review in addition to considering the accompanying star ratings.

For chronic diseases, they found that online reviews do not reliably indicate the quality of care provided by a physician, as measured in terms of readmission risk and other similar broadly accepted clinical outcomes. Both the star ratings and text reviews were found to be equally uninformative about the actual quality of care.

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