Reporting of patient experience data on health systems’ websites and commercial physician-rating websites: Mixed-methods analysis

Tara Lagu*, Caroline M. Norton, Lindsey M. Russo, Aruna Priya, Sarah L. Goff, Peter K. Lindenauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Some hospitals’ and health systems’ websites report physician-level ratings and comments drawn from the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems surveys. Objective: The aim was to examine the prevalence and content of health system websites reporting these data and compare narratives from these sites to narratives from commercial physician-rating sites. Methods: We identified health system websites active between June 1 and 30, 2016, that posted clinician reviews. For 140 randomly selected clinicians, we extracted the number of star ratings and narrative comments. We conducted a qualitative analysis of a random sample of these physicians’ narrative reviews and compared these to a random sample of reviews from commercial physician-rating websites. We described composite quantitative scores for sampled physicians and compared the frequency of themes between reviews drawn from health systems’ and commercial physician-rating websites. Results: We identified 42 health systems that published composite star ratings (42/42, 100%) or narratives (33/42, 79%). Most (27/42, 64%) stated that they excluded narratives deemed offensive. Of 140 clinicians, the majority had composite scores listed (star ratings: 122/140, 87.1%; narrative reviews: 114/140, 81.4%), with medians of 110 star ratings (IQR 42-175) and 25.5 (IQR 13-48) narratives. The rating median was 4.8 (IQR 4.7-4.9) out of five stars, and no clinician had a score less than 4.2. Compared to commercial physician-rating websites, we found significantly fewer negative comments on health system websites (35.5%, 76/214 vs 12.8%, 72/561, respectively; P<.001). Conclusions: The lack of variation in star ratings on health system sites may make it difficult to differentiate between clinicians. Most health systems report that they remove offensive comments, and we notably found fewer negative comments on health system websites compared to commercial physician-rating sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12007
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Physician reviews
  • Public reporting
  • Social networking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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