Research Project for Master of Medicine Student: Physician Rating Websites in Switzerland
The Institute for Biomedical Ethics is looking for Master of Medicine students who would like to participate in our research project on physicians rating websites (PRWs) in Switzerland as part of their master thesis.
PRWs allow patients to anonymously rate, comment and discuss physicians’ quality online with the aim of influencing patient decision-making and driving quality improvement. PRWs are another sign of the growing digitalisation of the patient-health professional relationship and raise a number of important ethical and communication issues. A key aim of this research project is to address the current lack of analysis regarding the ratings on Swiss PRWs via the following two methodologies:
Method 1. Analysis of the frequency of ratings and evaluation tendencies
A random stratified sample will be generated of physicians from the regions of Zürich and Geneva. Physicians will then be searched for on the 6 different Swiss PRWs and the physician´s rating and number of ratings recorded. Results will be aggregated in relation to number of identifiable physicians, number of rated physicians, average number of ratings per physicians, maximum number of ratings per physicians, and average rating. In addition to descriptive statistics, bivariate analysis will be conducted to examine whether differences between the ratings of general practitioners and specialists exist.
Method 2. Analysis of narrative comments
Quantitative content analysis will be performed on two samples of narrative comments to examine the issues raised by patients. The first sample will consist of narrative comments published on the PRW profiles of the selected physicians from Zürich and Geneva regions. The second sample will consist of narrative comments that have been received by the Swiss PRW Medicosearch but have not published online for various reasons. The content of each narrative comment will be analysed and classified according to a theoretical categorization framework of physician, staff, and practice related patient concerns. Narrative comments will also be classified as overall positive, neutral, negative. In addition to descriptive statistics, bivariate analysis will be conducted to examine whether differences between the ratings of general practitioners and specialists exist.
Each method will provide sufficient work for a master´s thesis. Consequently, the research project can support two Master students. The exact form of the cooperation as well as the focus of the master thesis can be discussed depending on the preferences of the student. Participation in the project will include supporting:
- data collection;
- data entry;
- data analysis; and
- drafting manuscripts for international scientific peer-reviewed journals.
The Master thesis can be written in either German or English. Prof. Dr med. Bernice Elger, Director of the Institute of Biomedical Ethics, will be the supervisor of the master thesis.
If you are interested, please contact the project leader Dr. Stuart McLennan: s.mclennan-at-unibas.ch