What Patients Say About Their Doctors Online: A Qualitative Content Analysis
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Doctor rating websites are a burgeoning trend, yet little is known about their content.
To explore the content of Internet reviews about primary care physicians.
Qualitative content analysis of 712 online reviews from two rating websites. We purposively sampled reviews of 445 primary care doctors (internists and family practitioners) from four geographically dispersed U.S. urban locations. We report the major themes, and because this is a large sample, the frequencies of domains within our coding scheme.
Most reviews (63%) were positive, recommending the physician. We found a major distinction between global reviews, “Dr. B is a great doctor.” vs. specific descriptions which included interpersonal manner, “She always listens to what I have to say and answers all my questions.”; technical competence “No matter who she has recommended re: MD specialists, this MD has done everything right.”; and/or systems issues such as appointment and telephone access. Among specific reviews, interpersonal manner “Dr. A is so compassionate.” and technical competence “He is knowledgeable, will research your case before giving you advice.” comments tended to be more positive (69% and 80%, respectively), whereas systems-issues comments “Staff is so-so, less professional than should be…” were more mixed (60% positive, 40% negative).
The majority of Internet reviews of primary care physicians are positive in nature. Our findings reaffirm that the care encounter extends beyond the patient–physician dyad; staff, access, and convenience all affect patient’s reviews of physicians. In addition, negative interpersonal reviews underscore the importance of well-perceived bedside manner for a successful patient–physician interaction.
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- What Patients Say About Their Doctors Online: A Qualitative Content Analysis
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 27, Issue 6 , pp 685-692
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- patient satisfaction
- primary care
- family medicine
- patient–physician relationship
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, CA, USA
- 2. Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco General Hospital, Box 1364, 1001 Potrero, Bldg 10, 3rd floor, San Francisco, CA, 94143-1364, USA
- 3. California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA