Should Patients Use Online Reviews to Pick Their Doctors and Hospitals?

36 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2021 Last revised: 11 Oct 2022

See all articles by David A. Hyman

David A. Hyman

Georgetown University Law Center

Jing Liu

East China University of Political Science and Law

Bernard S. Black

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law

Date Written: September 15, 2022

Abstract

We compare the online reviews of 221 “Questionable” Illinois and Indiana physicians with multiple paid medical malpractice claims and disciplinary sanctions with matched control physicians with clean records. Across five prominent online rating services, we find small, mostly insignificant differences in star ratings and written reviews for Questionable vs. control physicians. Only one rating service (Healthgrades) reports on medical malpractice claims and disciplinary actions and it misses more than 90% of these actions. We also evaluate the online ratings of 171 Illinois hospitals and find that their ratings are largely uncorrelated with the share of hospital-associated physicians with paid malpractice claims and disciplinary sanctions. Online ratings have limited utility in helping patients avoid physicians with troubled medical malpractice and disciplinary records, and steering patients away from hospitals at which more physicians have paid malpractice claims and disciplinary sanctions.

Note: Funding: None to declare.

Competing interests statement: None to declare.

Keywords: online reviews, physician rating, medical malpractice, discipline

JEL Classification: I11, K32, K40

Suggested Citation

Hyman, David A. and Liu, Jing and Black, Bernard S., Should Patients Use Online Reviews to Pick Their Doctors and Hospitals? (September 15, 2022). Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 22-15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3720180 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3720180

David A. Hyman (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Jing Liu

East China University of Political Science and Law

Shanghai, Shanghai
China

Bernard S. Black

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-2784 (Phone)

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