In the modern digital age, patients have increased the use of online physician reviews prior to making healthcare decisions. The authors sought to investigate trends in online physician reviews.
Healthgrades.com was queried for “orthopaedic surgery” in the state of New Jersey. Data points were collected including demographic information, fellowship training status, and the likelihood to recommend score (LTRS). Quantitative analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics, Student’s t-test, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), Pearson correlation, and multiple linear regression. Qualitative analysis of randomly selected positive comments and all negative comments was conducted. Common themes were identified using a frequency-based word cloud generator.
In total 834 board certified orthopaedic surgeons (800 men, 34 women) were identified. Fellowship-trained surgeons were more likely to be recommended. The LTRS increased with total number of reviews (r=0.205, P=0.01). Compared with waiting time more than 10 min, those with waiting time less than 10 min were more likely to be recommended. The LTRS decreased with increasing number of negative comments (r=−0.317, P=0.01). Qualitative analysis of a randomly selected sample of 4,151 out of a total of 12,168 positive comments and 1,113 total negative comments revealed that although positive comments centered on surgeon competence and professionalism, negative comments centered on surgeon personality and waiting time.
Orthopaedic surgeons have generally favorable ratings and mostly positive comments. Knowledge of which surgeon-specific attributes are important to patients may provide valuable insight to orthopaedic surgeons on how to improve patient care and patient satisfaction as well as improve online review websites as reliable sources for evaluating physicians.
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