[Websites to assess quality of care--appropriate to identify good physicians?]

Gesundheitswesen. 2009 Apr;71(4):e18-27. doi: 10.1055/s-0028-1103288. Epub 2009 Feb 16.
[Article in German]


Objective: Internet portals for health-care provider rating, especially physicians in the outpatient sector, want to support patients in finding the right physician. In this investigation available websites for the German outpatient sector will be both presented and evaluated using qualitative criteria to find out if they meet higher requirements.

Methodology: Available portals for German people to read up on physician quality were identified by an internet search. Subsequently the rating system of the found Internet portals will be introduced and analysed. A test shows the database size of the portals and the amount of available recommendations within each portal. Finally, the portals are examined on the basis of several quality criteria if they are appropriate to identify a good doctor's surgery.

Results: The most relevant websites in the German-speaking Internet to assess quality of care were identified by an internet search. Furthermore, it is shown how many physician ratings exist so far. Defined quality parameters for a good doctor's surgery are polled very differently among the portals. Results determined range from 9 to 46%. Thus, the quality of the websites evaluated varies very strongly. Measures against fraud are not sufficient among all portals.

Conclusion: The lists of questions for physician rating differ widely from portal to portal in quantitative as well as in qualitative aspects. From the comparison on the basis of defined quality criteria it can be deduced that all portals could only provide limited support for identifying a good doctor's surgery at the current state of development. For a well-grounded decision support, additional quality aspects would have to be integrated.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Germany
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internet*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Physicians / classification*
  • Professional Competence*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods*