Yelp, Vitals, Healthgrades physician ratings don't match quality scores: 5 key notes

ConsumerMedical conducted a study comparing top rated physicians on rating sites such as YELP, Vitals and Healthgrades with actual performance data related to the medical specialty.


The report authors examined 10 ranked physicians across five common specialties in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, comparing their presence on patient rating sites to a list of top physicians generated using more than 5 billion data points at the procedure level.

Here are five things to know:

1. Just 2 percent of the physicians that were top performers on the ConsumerMedical report based on patient readmission rates, infection rates, length of stay at the hospital, procedure volume and patient outcomes, also showed up as top performers on the patient rating websites.

2. The reviews left on the physician rating websites addressed bedside manner and availability in addition to the office location and punctuality.

3. In a separate study, around 62 percent of respondents reported using online reviews as their first step to finding new physicians; another 19 percent reported validating their choice with online reviews before making the initial appointment.

4. While there are quality rating websites available, many aren't consumer friendly and the average person isn't aware they exist. "The absence of consumer-friendly tools that help the public understand that quality matters, and that offer them meaningful quality information so they can choose a high-quality physician, is very problematic," said ConsumerMedical CEO David Hines.

5. Mr. Hines called for additional tools that can help patients find the best surgeon for quality, not necessarily experience.

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