Do Online Reviews of Physicians Reflect Healthcare Outcomes?
Patients are increasingly using online reviews to choose physicians. However, it is not known whether online reviews accurately capture the true quality of care provided by physicians. This research addresses this issue by empirically examining the link between online reviews of a physician and the actual clinical outcomes of patients treated by the physician. Specifically, this study uses online reviews from Vitals.com, and combines that data with patient health outcomes data collected from Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council. Our econometric analyses show that there is no clear relationship between online reviews of physicians and their patients’ health outcomes, such as readmission and ER visit rates. Our results imply that online reviews may not be as helpful in the context of healthcare as they are for other experience goods such as books, movies, or hotels. Our findings have important implications for healthcare providers, healthcare review websites, and healthcare consumers.
KeywordsOnline reviews Healthcare Clinical outcomes Topic modeling Sentiment analysis Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
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