/ Stuart Mc. Lennan
New article: Rejected Online Feedback From a Swiss Physician Rating Website Between 2008 and 2017: Analysis of 2352 Ratings, by Dr. Stuart Mc Lennan
Previous research internationally has only analyzed publicly available feedback on physician rating websites (PRWs). However, it appears that many PRWs are not publishing all the feedback they receive. Analysis of this rejected feedback could provide a better understanding of the types of feedback that are currently not published and whether this is appropriate.
Background: Previous research internationally has only analyzed publicly available feedback on physician rating websites (PRWs). However, it appears that many PRWs are not publishing all the feedback they receive. Analysis of this rejected feedback could provide a better understanding of the types of feedback that are currently not published and whether this is appropriate.
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine (1) the number of patient feedback rejected from the Swiss PRW Medicosearch, (2) the evaluation tendencies of the rejected patient feedback, and (3) the types of issues raised in the rejected narrative comments.
Methods: The Swiss PRW Medicosearch provided all the feedback that had been rejected between September 16, 2008, and September 22, 2017. The feedback were analyzed and classified according to a theoretical categorization framework of physician-, staff-, and practice-related issues.
Results: Between September 16, 2008, and September 22, 2017, Medicosearch rejected a total of 2352 patient feedback. The majority of feedback rejected (1754/2352, 74.6%) had narrative comments in the German language. However, 11.9% (279/2352) of the rejected feedback only provided a quantitative rating with no narrative comment. Overall, 25% (588/2352) of the rejected feedback were positive, 18.7% (440/2352) were neutral, and 56% (1316/2352) were negative. The average rating of the rejected feedback was 2.8 (SD 1.4). In total, 44 subcategories addressing the physician (n=20), staff (n=9), and practice (n=15) were identified. In total, 3804 distinct issues were identified within the 44 subcategories of the categorization framework; 75% (2854/3804) of the issues were related to the physician, 6.4% (242/3804) were related to the staff, and 18.6% (708/3804) were related to the practice. Frequently mentioned issues identified from the rejected feedback included (1) satisfaction with treatment (533/1903, 28%); (2) the overall assessment of the physician (392/1903, 20.6%); (3) recommending the physician (345/1903, 18.1%); (4) the physician’s communication (261/1903, 13.7%); (5) the physician’s caring attitude (220/1903, 11.6%); and (6) the physician’s friendliness (203/1903, 10.6%).
Conclusions: It is unclear why the majority of the feedback were rejected. This is problematic and raises concerns that online patient feedback are being inappropriately manipulated. If online patient feedback is going to be collected, there needs to be clear policies and practices about how this is handled. It cannot be left to the whims of PRWs, who may have financial incentives to suppress negative feedback, to decide which feedback is or is not published online. Further research is needed to examine how many PRWs are using criteria for determining which feedback is published or not, what those criteria are, and what measures PRWs are using to address the manipulation of online patient feedback.