Physician Rating Websites Who Uses Them: A New Study

Terluter, Bidmon, Rottl, submitted an original paper in JMIR “Who Uses Physician-Rating Websites? Differences in Sociodemographic Variables, Psychographic Variables, and Health Status of Users and Nonusers of Physician-Rating Websites

Physician-rating Web sites (PRW) exist and are growing, yet use by patients falls short. The authors set out to examine different variables, including sociodemographic, psychographic and health status of users and non-users. 

29.3% of the sample knew of PRWs with 26.1% said they had used a PRW. Those patient users who were younger and more women participated. Also more highly educated and those with chronic diseases were higher in use. Interesting to note users were more positive about the Internet than non-users with a higher digital knowledge. Not surprising but nice to see it captured in a study. 

Adding psychographic variables and information-seeking behavior variables to the binary logistic regression analyses led to a satisfying fit of the model and revealed that higher education, poorer health status, higher digital literacy (at the 10% level of significance), lower importance of family and pharmacist for health-related information, higher trust in information on PRWs, and higher appraisal of usefulness of PRWs served as significant predictors for usage of PRWs.

In the end use of the Internet and PRW remain the domain of a younger demographic, women, and those chronically ill. It comes down to what we all know, design, usability, and accessibility makes a difference. And the authors note clearly we need speak to the innovators, females, better-eduated, and younger users. This will help you to identify out what strategy is needed for a PRW and how to include a social media to customize messaging. This is a great study filled with information we can use to improve patient physician engagement

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