An analysis of healthcare providers' online ratings

Inform Prim Care. 2009;17(4):249-53. doi: 10.14236/jhi.v17i4.744.


Background: Many websites allow consumers to evaluate their healthcare experience yet scant data exist that explore the type and content of reviews.

Objective: To evaluate and describe online healthcare provider reviews.

Methods: We analysed 16,703 ratings on 6101 providers from four US cities. Ratings spanned five categories and an overall provider score. We also performed text analyses of narrative commentary (n = 15,952).

Results: Providers had a high mean score for each category (3.7-4.0 out of 5). Higher overall scores were associated with higher staff (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 3.0, 95% CI 2.9-3.0, P < 0.01) and punctuality scores (aOR 2.1, 95% CI 2.05-2.15, P < 0.01). Review frequency was inversely associated with scores, (aOR 0.94, 95% CI 0.92-0.96, P < 0.01). Analyses of narrative commentaries revealed more positive than negative terms (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Online ratings were largely positive. Future research must discern how online surveys affect patient referrals, provider reputations and patients' perceptions of quality of care.

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Health Information*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Logistic Models
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United States