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Hospital and Physician Rating Websites: Ethical Challenges Without Context

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Ratings systems for practitioners and hospitals on the Internet can be helpful, providing practical information such as phone numbers and insurance accepted. However, today’s rating systems do not yet provide unbiased, transparent, timely, and relevant information to help make educated healthcare choices. The multiple hospital rating sites use various, often unclear criteria for assessment leading to wide variation in the rankings of the same hospital. Of great concern, some of the sites will assist hospitals in improving their rating for a fee. Similar challenges exist for the practitioner rating sites. Due to patient confidentiality, individuals can anonymously post reviews which are inaccurate or blatantly false. In addition, the practitioner is held responsible for customer service aspects of the interaction including the actions of the nurse, billing personnel, and parking attendant. Many, but not all, practitioner rating sites encourage correction of inaccurate information, so physicians should regularly monitor their presence on these sites. The rise of rating sites has resulted in a new dynamic, and possibly irreversible shift in balance, in the physician-patient relationship. Hopefully this can be countered by increased accountability, reliability, and utility of medical rating sites in the future.


  • Hospital rating systems
  • Practitioner rating systems
  • Transparency
  • Accountability

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Correspondence to George E. Taffet MD .

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Taffet, G.E. (2017). Hospital and Physician Rating Websites: Ethical Challenges Without Context. In: Catic, A. (eds) Ethical Considerations and Challenges in Geriatrics. Springer, Cham.

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