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Comment & Response
March 2016

Online Reviews of Physicians—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • 2Department of Pathology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • 3Department of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(3):350-351. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.0009

In Reply The problems with online reviews—few data, invalid instruments, lack of representativeness, and lack of transparency—are all predicated on physicians not actively encouraging online reviews. Should physicians choose to participate, large numbers of ratings can be obtained, validated instruments can be used, representativeness can be improved, and the high quality of care that physicians provide can be made transparent to the public.

Online reviews are not going to suddenly disappear. More and more, the public seeks out reviews for information on physicians.1 By leaving only unhappy outliers to enter ratings, physicians can become victims of online reviews. Worse, by attempting to suppress physician ratings, physicians would look like they had something to hide. The alternative is for physicians to embrace online reviews and encourage our patients to participate. One company, Medical Justice, that tried to help physicians by suppressing online ratings recognized this was a huge mistake and now encourages online rating.2 Having more representative reviews results in higher scores and dramatically diminishes the impact of outliers and fake reviews.3

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