Online reviews of 500 urologists

J Urol. 2013 Jun;189(6):2269-73. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2012.12.013. Epub 2012 Dec 7.


Purpose: Patient demand for easily accessible information about physician quality has led to the development of physician review websites. These sites concern some physicians who argue that ratings can be misleading. In this study we describe the landscape of online reviews of urologists by looking at a sample of ratings and written reviews from popular physician review websites.

Materials and methods: A total of 500 urologists were randomly selected from a database of 9,940. Numerical ratings from 10 popular physician review websites were collected for each physician and analyzed. Written reviews from a single physician review website were also collected and then categorized as extremely negative/positive, negative/positive or neutral.

Results: Our sample consisted of 471 male and 29 female urologists from 39 states including small and large cities and 4 census regions. There were 398 (79.6%) urologists who had at least 1 rating on any of the 10 physician review websites (range 0 to 64). On average the composite rating was based on scores from only 2.4 submitted ratings. Most physicians had positive ratings (86%), with 36% having highly positive ratings. No difference was seen in the median number of reviews when gender (p = 0.72), region (p = 0.87) and city size (p = 0.87) were compared. Written reviews were mostly positive or extremely positive (53%).

Conclusions: We advise physicians and patients to be aware that most urologists are rated on at least 1 physician review website, and while most ratings and reviews are favorable, composite scores are typically based on a small number of reviews and, therefore, can be volatile.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Information Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*
  • Total Quality Management
  • United States
  • Urology / standards*
  • Workforce