- 2019;22;E477-E486Chronic Pain Practices: An Evaluation of Positive and Negative Online Patient Reviews
Mariam Salisu Orhurhu, MD, Bisola Salisu, BS, Emily Sottosanti, BS, Niyi Abimbola, BS, Ivan Urits, MD, Mark Jones, MD, Omar Viswanath, MD, Alan D. Kaye, MD, PhD, Thomas Simopoulos, MD, and Vwaire Orhurhu, MD.
BACKGROUND: The role of patient satisfaction continues to play an important role in health care quality measures. The use of online review platforms has been adopted by patients to share their perceptions about the quality of care provided by physicians. Chronic pain practice has unique challenges regarding patient satisfaction.
OBJECTIVES: The main goal of this study is to identify the themes associated with positive and negative reviews of chronic pain physicians at publicly available online review platforms.
STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective study design.
SETTING: We evaluated publicly available online patient-generated reviews of chronic pain physicians from Yelp and Healthgrades.
METHODS: This retrospective study evaluated patient-generated reviews of chronic pain physicians from 2 online platforms—Yelp and Healthgrades—between the September 1, 2018 through November 1, 2018. Ninety chronic pain physicians were randomly selected from 4 diverse geographic cities in the United States: New York (NY), Houston (TX), Chicago (IL), and Seattle (WA). Primary outcome was defined as high and low rating scores. Secondary outcome was the proportion of positive and negative attributes (patient, physician, procedure, and administrative attributes) that was associated with high and low rating scores.
RESULTS: A total of 1,627 reviews were extracted from 90 physicians evaluated at Yelp and Healthgrades. Of this total review, 1,296 (79.7%) were high scoring and (331) 20.3% were low scoring. Chronic pain providers who were high scoring had positive reviews that consisted of physician attributes (63.5%), administrative attributes (23.4%), and patient attributes (12.2%). The highest proportion of the first 3 physician attributes associated with high ratings were knowledgeable, helpful, and caring. Chronic pain providers who were low scoring had negative reviews that consisted of physician attributes (41.4%), administrative attributes (52.1%), and procedure attributes (5.2%). The highest proportion of the first 3 physician attributes associated with low ratings were disrespectful, unhelpful, and uncaring.
LIMITATIONS: First, this study looks at reviews of 4 large cities, thus we may have excluded patient populations with substantially different preferences as health care consumers. Second, it is impossible to confirm the validity of individual reviewers’ interactions with the pain management specialist who provided care or validate the identity of the reviewers. Third, it is very difficult, or even impossible, to tell if the rater is a patient or someone posing as a patient, such as an unhappy employee or a business competitor.
CONCLUSIONS: Online platforms provide a medium that facilitates immediate communication among patients. These platforms may provide timely data for chronic pain physicians to gain more insight into the quality of care perceived by patients, thereby aiding providers to improve on ways to optimize patient-care experiences and encounters.
KEY WORDS: Chronic pain practice, online review, patient review, patient satisfaction