Health Information Management

News: Study finds highest educated doctors get poorest online reviews

CDI Strategies, April 30, 2015

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A study of more than 28,000 online reviews of doctors revealed that as a doctor’s level of education and training increases, patient satisfaction decreases.

According to the findings from Vanguard Communications, doctors holding the MD title had an average online rating of 3.8 out of 5, while non-MD providers (such as naturopaths, audiologists, and podiatrists) had an overall rating of 4.29 out of 5. These averages are based on scores from the popular review site,

The nationwide study compared patient satisfaction scores among 23 healthcare specialties in the nation’s 100 largest cities. Patient complaints seemed to focus on the quality of customer service, rather than the doctor’s education and clinical skill, says Ron Harman King, CEO of Vanguard.

Complaints, King says, were generally for customer service issues, such as the receptionists’ cordiality and doctor’s bedside manners. The company said they are not able to state with certainty that highly trained specialists deliver poorer customer service, but they did find the correlation disheartening.

Further, five of the top-rated specialties with the highest review do not require MD degrees, which King says suggests a traditional medical school education does not always translate to satisfied patients.

One possible explanation, King said, is that specialists often practice in larger groups, where patients might feel they’re treated more like a number than individuals. Additionally, highly trained physicians frequently take on more difficult cases.

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