Bottom Line: Lower online patient ratings for urologists in California were associated with practices that saw more patients.
Why The Research Is Interesting: Online reviews are an increasingly popular tool for patients to evaluate and choose physicians. Online reviews are influenced by many factors, including patient wait times; however, little else is known about the effect of patient practice volume on physician reviews.
Who and When: A review of 2014 Medicare data for 665 urologists in California
What (Study Measures): Medicare billing data, including number of patients seen per urology practice (exposure); online patient ratings (outcome)
How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control all the natural differences that could explain the study findings.
Authors: Gregory P. Murphy, M.D., Washington University, St. Louis, and coauthors
Results: Higher online patient ratings were associated with urologists who saw fewer Medicare patients.
Study Limitation: The data may not accurately represent a physician’s non-Medicare patient population.
Study Conclusions: Urologists in California who saw more patients tended to have lower online patient ratings but more research is needed to understand the factors that lead to more satisfied patients.