NYMC Faculty Publications


The Impact of 1-Star Physician Ratings on New Patient Volume

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Faculty, Student

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OBJECTIVES: To quantify the impact of 1-star reviews across multiple physician rating websites (PRWs) on new patient volume. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of 1.12 million new patient appointments and 12,882 physician reviews from a proprietary data set from a large single-specialty practice in the New York and New Jersey area. METHODS: We compiled new patient appointments scheduled and kept between January 1, 2015, and April 25, 2018, and the reviews of the practice's affiliated physicians from 10 PRWs. Assuming that reviews are read prior to appointment creation, an ordinary least squares regression model was run with a time series analysis to compare patient volume in the period immediately prior to the posting of a 1-star review with patient volume in the period immediately after a 1-star review was posted. An additional sensitivity analysis was performed at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 weeks to validate a robust effect. RESULTS: The majority of reviews on PRWs were overwhelmingly positive, with only 6.7% of reviews (n = 733) rating a physician with 1 star. A mean of 6.2 new patient appointments were made per half-day session. The mean new patient volume decreased 2.3% to 2.6% following a 1-star review, with effects of the 1-star review affecting patient volume for at least 16 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: Given the limited yet longitudinal negative impact of 1-star reviews and the growing influence of PRWs, physicians should consider the magnitude of the effect as they consider responding to bad reviews.