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Comment & Response
March 2016

Online Reviews of Physicians

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(3):350. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.6164

To the Editor The Editorial by Hill and colleagues1 is interesting and informative. They suggest that online reviews are a fast, efficient, transparent way to obtain actionable feedback from patients.1 However, we believe one of the major problems of physician online ratings is actually the lack of transparency. It is very difficult or even impossible to tell if the rater is a patient or someone posing as a patient, such as an unhappy employee or a business competitor. Furthermore, even positive ratings have limited utility; the origin of shining comments might be anonymous prose of the physician.2 Not to mention, most of the for-profit online rating sites often create a handful of posts. The size of such a sample, compared with the number of patients that any given physician takes care of, lacks any statistical significance. Thus, available online reviews of physicians lack accountability or quality control.2

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