Most online reviews for spine surgeons are surgeon-dependent
Chester J. Donnally III, M.D., from the University of Miami Hospital, and colleagues evaluated patient feedback and satisfaction scores of spine surgeons by using comments from three leading physician rating websites: Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com, and Google.com. Comments were categorized based on surgeon competence; surgeon likeability/character (both surgeon-dependent); and office staff, ease of scheduling, and office environment (all surgeon-independent).
The researchers used the North American Spine Society membership directory to identify 210 spine surgeons practicing in Florida (133 orthopedic-trained, 77 neurosurgery-trained) with online comments available for review (4,701 patient comments). The vast majority of comments (89.9 percent) pertained to surgeon outcomes and likeability, while 10.1 percent were related to surgeon-independent factors. There was a significantly higher number of favorable ratings associated with surgeon-dependent comments than with surgeon-independent comments, and surgeon-independent comments were correlated with significantly lower scores than surgeon-dependent comments.
"Surgeons should continue to take an active role in modifying factors patients perceive as negative, even if not directly related to the physician," the authors write.
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